- Brick-CMU Block - Masonry Institute of Washington
Masonry Institute of Washington
Masonry Institute of Washington
11900 NE 1st St, Suite 300
Bellevue, WA 98005
(425) 214-7476


These pages are available to provide guidance regarding the use of Brick and CMU Block masonry. Please do not hesitate to contact the MIW office at (425) 214-7476 if you need additional information or specific technical information not available here.

Integral insulated, partial-grouted masonry walls do comply with northwest energy codes. Architectural concrete masonry units can be exposed on both sides in many building designs providing an attractive appearance, fire-resistance, and durable surfaces.

CMU walls can meet Oregon & Washington prescriptive codes through compliance with average U-Factors OR the integral insulated mass wall exception. The use of continuous insulation is an additional option, not a Requirement.

Pocket Guide
Click here to download the Brick-CMU Block 2014 Pocket Guide.

Recent Code Changes
  • Code Change allows for grouting to 5′
  • When Brick veneers do not need #9 wire: When running bond pattern, the code section to reference is in TMS 402 Section  It states that the wire is required only when the veneer is not laid in running bond.

Brick-CMU sample specifications

Mortar Joints

Question: What are the different types of mortar joints and in what conditions do you utilize certain joint types?

Answer: Mortar joints are ‘struck’ in order to compact and compress the mortar in the joint and create a stronger, more watertight bond with the masonry material. The use of mortar joint types depends on a number of factors including aesthetics, the amount of inclement weather the building is exposed to, and the location of the wall on the building.

Some mortar joint types, such as concave, weather and V joints are ideal for exterior use in inclement weather as they allow the water to move of the mortar joint. Raked, struck-flush and struck joints are recommended only for interior use in the Puget Sound region as they don’t shed water as well as other joint options.

20′ Viewing Standard

Question: Where is the 20′ viewing standard stated in a Masonry Guideline?

Answer: The 20′ rule comes from the material standards.  ASTM C-90 for CMU and C-216 for brick. It has been more broadly applied to walls through project specifications. Usually on commercial projects the sample panel is the basis for judging workmanship.

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