Brick and mortar won't insulate well

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I plan to build a town house with brick walls. In California four inches of mortar with reinforcing rods are used between two layers of brick. Are there such things as insulating brick and insulating mortar? It seems to me that some bricks should be better than others in regard to their insulating properties. Ralph A. Peters Morro Bay, Calif.

A. To answer your question I went to D. C. Patterson of the Brick Institute of America in McLean, Va. If you want to get in touch with the trade group you can call: (703) 893-4010.

There is neither insulating brick nor insulating mortar.

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"While brick and mortar in combination perform well in conserving energy," says Mr. Patterson, "they have relatively low R value. While there may be a slight difference in the R value of different brick, it is so small that it becomes insignificant.

"We do not really recommend uninsulated brick masonry walls."

Thus, you will have to provide some insulation on the walls which are exposed to the exterior of the house in order to meet the energy conservation code in California.

"Find out the amount of insulation required by contacting a local building official," he concludes.

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