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Comparing Masonry Jointers

Ask This Old House mason Mark McCullough explains the uses for different types of masonry jointers


  1. There are a variety of different masonry jointers to slick the joints to ensure they are sealed properly based on the climate they’re located in. The jointers also add an aesthetic look to the joints.
  2. The convex jointer is common in New England. The convex curve describes the shape of the tool itself, not the slick it leaves in the mortar.
  3. The grapevine jointer is common in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. It leaves behind a very distinct groove in the mortar.
  4. A flat jointer is a pretty standard jointer that’s common in most parts of the country. Mark likes to hold the flat jointer at an angle to allow water to slide off the joint and onto the face of the brick below it, which minimizes the risk of water getting behind the brick.
  5. A rat’s tail jointer has a couple different names, but it varies in size depending on which part of the jointer you use to slick the mortar. It’s especially good for stonework, where the gaps between the masonry vary from stone to stone.
  6. A skate jointer makes fast work of long gaps of masonry jointers. The masonry nail in the middle sets a consistent depth that can then be dragged along the mortar and smoothed out using the back end of the jointer.
  7. A concave jointer creates the opposite look of the convex jointer. It’s more common in the South and leaves more of the mortar exposed in the joints.

Mark demonstrated a variety of masonry jointers that are typically more common in specific regions based on climate conditions. Some of the more common jointers, including the flat jointer, concave and convex jointers, can be found at most home centers and masonry supply houses across the country. Some of the specialty jointers, like the grapevine jointer, the rat’s tail jointer, and the skate jointer, are more specialized tools that can be found at masonry supply stores. The ones shown in the segment were found at Bon Tools.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by MJM Masonry.