Damp proof course

This photo shows a good example of a historic damp-proof course in brickwork.

This house was built about 110 years ago. A piece of slate tile was installed between the mortar joints of the lower course of brick. Here in this picture you can see where we picked away at the loose mortar. Over time, the mortar was not tuck pointed, and therefore, the mortar at this location is loose and deteriorating.

When we checked the condition of the mortar, we found this piece of slate tile shown in the picture. The slate tile was installed to provide a damp-proof course. Essentially, the slate tile is impermeable to moisture. The slate tile at this location is almost exactly the same as a slate tile on a roof.

The damp-proof course prevents or deters rising damp (moisture) from affecting and deteriorating the upper portions of the wall.

Click here to learn more about rising damp.


Formstone was invented and primarily first used in Baltimore, MD.  Like a cover-up tuckpoint, formstone may simply be a cheap way of hiding something that looks even worse.

In the top right corner of the middle house in the photo below, you can see the brick substrate behind the formstone where the formstone has delaminated.

Running bond

The running bond pattern is not found very often in Capitol Hill.  American bond, for example, is much more prolific. Since each wythe of brick in this bond is built with all stretchers, there is no interconnection between brick wythes.

This wall is built in a running bond pattern. Photo was taken here in Capitol Hill, DC at the exposed side façade of a rowhome.

Queen Closer

At alternating courses, in this picture, the brick on the left side next to the corner is a queen closer.

The queen closer is cut lengthwise to allow the course of brick to fit within the allotment of space. The amount by which it is cut is removed to make up space for the remaining bricks in the course.