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Masonry and Concrete Adhesives

A strong, easy-to-use alternative to masonry mortar

Applying masonry adhesive to concrete blocks

Mortar has traditionally provided the bonding agent for masonry units. The principle types, M, N, S and O, use a combination of cements, lime, sand and water to hold building blocks together and provide a seal from the elements. However, as new adhesives are developed, manufacturers have experimented with their use to improve bond strength and reduce labor costs.

Masonry adhesives are premixed and available in several packaging formats, from caulk tubes and squeeze bottles to pressurized bulk containers. Several beads of the mix can be applied at the same time when an application wand is used.


Affordability

Because some adhesives can be applied in two parallel beads, rather than buttered on the whole block, like mortar, manufacturers report that costs can be as low as 1/5 that of mortar.


Not-so-easy

Masonry adhesives would be used in lieu of masonry mortar. A mason equipped with the right application device could start right in laying concrete masonry blocks with the adhesive. Because it is applied in a bead smaller than the traditional 3/8" mortar bed, leveling the blocks might pose a challenge to the mason, initially.


Because some adhesives can be applied in two parallel beads, rather than buttered on the whole block, like mortar, manufacturers report that costs can be as low as 1/5 that of mortar.


Not Applicable


The International Residential Code (IRC), does not prescribe adhesives for residential masonry construction. However, use of adhesives may be acceptable to the code official as an alternative material. Adhesives used in structural assemblies should be ASTM tested for adhesion and strength.


Not Applicable


The glue is applied directly to the concrete masonry unit, like caulk would be applied. Then units are assembled in the traditional manner. Cure times may be shorter, with some manufacturers reporting a full cure within three days, as compared to mortar's requirement of up to 28 days (when used in a block wall).


Not Applicable


Adhesives are premixed at the factory. so consistency of the mix is better controlled. The application methods should allow for faster installation time.

Disclaimer: The information on the system, product or material presented herein is provided for informational purposes only. The technical descriptions, details, requirements, and limitations expressed do not constitute an endorsement, approval, or acceptance of the subject matter by the NAHB Research Center. There are no warranties, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of this information. Full reproduction, without modification, is permissible.