Masonry Adhesive vs Mortar, if you’re on this page you probably want to know the difference or looking to decide which one is right for your home or project. In this article we will try and outline the main differences and explain what each is so you can have the most inform decision. 

Most masonry projects use mortar to secure bricks, blocks, and stones together. However, there are a lot of commercially available adhesive products that offer an alternative. There are a lot of names like brick glue, masonry adhesive, or masonry adhesive, but essentially, they’re all the same. They use glue to hold together pieces of brick or stone.

Mortar and masonry adhesive have some overlap, but generally, they’re used in different situations. Some projects favor mortar, while others will work better with glue. There are also cosmetic differences. Some people prefer the look of glue and others like the traditional look of mortar. Here are some of the main differences between the two so you can decide which is best for your masonry project.

Masonry Adhesive vs Mortar – What You’ll Use Depends on the Build

Adhesive works really well in non-sag situations. When there’s little danger of weight-bearing brick or stone sagging, then adhesive or glue is a nice minimalist, east to apply option. It works great on thin brick or stone walls like an exterior brick veneer. A lot of masons also use brick glue for decorative caps on masonry walls.

Mortar is best used on thicker and heavier masonry builds. When you need something that’s durable and needs to hold significant weight, a mortar works best. It holds in place and lasts longer, so it’s preferred for high walls and heavy stone builds.

Understanding Some of the Drawbacks of Mortar Adhesive

MASONRY ADHESIVE VS MORTARMortar glue is easy to use and good in many scenarios. However, every property owner and aspiring mason should understand its limitations. Using mortar glue on a project that is better suited to mortar can cause problems down the road. Knowing when to use either will get you a beautiful, long-lasting masonry project.

Leveling – Adhesive doesn’t have as much wiggle room if you need surfaces to be very level. It’s easier to level things on a vertical wall with mortar glue, but projects like laying tile work better with thin-set mortar that has more give, so things end up level. The thinner adhesives leave less room for error when things need to be level.

The Chance of “Giving” – Adhesive is more inclined to give under pressure. That’s important when you work on a project that is under constant pressure like a floor or weight-bearing wall. It should never be used on a structural project.

Wood Application – When chemically-treated wood needs to be applied to a masonry surface, it’s a challenge for mortar adhesive. The wood won’t stick well, and it will likely fall off faster than if mortar was used.

Know Your Use Case

We know people hate it when they ask a question and the answer is, “Well, it depends.” However, this is certainly the case for mortar vs adhesive. There are certain situations in which adhesive is preferable to mortar. Usually, it’s for cosmetic projects that can be done quickly. Things, like replacing a single brick or attaching a veneer to a masonry wall, are ideal. Additionally, adhesive can be used on stone walkways that don’t get a lot of traffic.

You can buy mortar adhesive and it comes to you quickly and is easy to use. It’s especially good for small masonry repairs that DIYers want to attempt without hiring a professional mason for help.

When using mortar adhesive, though, make sure you check the product specifications. Don’t use adhesive on anything heaving or larger than the product recommends. You’ll end up with damaged bricks and stones. If you use the adhesive on heavy stones, then falling could cause property damage in the area as well. With adhesive, it’s best to keep is cosmetic and simple.

Mortar Still Great for Larger Projects

Even though the adhesive is easier to use and cleanup, mortar has wider options and applications for masonry projects. Fixing structural walls or pillars should be done with mortar every time. Likewise, if a wall is over three feet, you should seriously consider using only mortar for work on brick or stone.

Mortar will stand the test of time and support the weight of brick and stone more effectively. Over the years, you’ll see less sag and won’t have to worry about stones or bricks shaking free.

Considering Cost-Effectiveness

Most property owners have to consider the cost. Many mortar adhesive proponents quickly point to the fact that adhesive requires no mixing, has faster cleanup and costs less than mortar. While true, property owners also need to make sure they use the right product to avoid the costs of repairs in the future. Using the wrong adhesive, whether mortar or glue, will impact the masonry work down the road.

Make sure you research the cost of mortar vs adhesive, but it’s more important to use the right product that will keep the stone or brickwork in place.

The Appearance of Mortar Adhesive vs Mortar

How the mortar or mortar adhesive looks on a brick wall or stone pathway also matters. Sometimes, the choice between adhesive and mortar comes down to personal design preference. Mortar is thicker and more pronounced. The adhesive is very thin; thus, it draws more attention to bricks or stones. It’s more subtle.

If you want a brick or stone wall to look traditional or want to contrast with shades or colors, then mortar will give you more options. If you like minimal jointing and want the focus to be on your stone or brick veneers, then the adhesive is for you.

Both options go a long way toward making your property look great and keep stones and bricks in place. When in doubt, contact a professional mason or talk to product manufacturers for recommendations on which is best for your specific project. They’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.

Every property owner should be happy knowing that mortar has been around for centuries as durable, reliable material. Likewise, we should all be optimistic that developments in mortar adhesives mean we have more choices than ever before.