Brick cement is a construction material which is used to bond bricks together. It is also known as brick mortar or masonry cement, and it comes in a variety of styles for different applications. Home supply stores usually sell this material, and can order special formulas by request from customers. People can also create their own, which may be done when someone wants to create a custom blend for finicky repairs.
This product is made with a blend of fine-grain sand, a cementitious material such as Portland cement or polymer cement, and water. When the brick cement is wet, it can be spread and manipulated like a thick paste. As it dries, it hardens and sets, turning into a firm glue which will hold bricks together. This type of cement can be used in new construction, and also in re-pointing, in which old cement is carefully removed and replaced to enact repairs.
Brick cement is very similar to concrete, except that the aggregate materials used are much finer. The sand grains are fine and even, so that the cement will spread smoothly and evenly. It can also be stained with various colors to blend in with or stand out from a background. Premixed brick cement comes in dry bags with cement and sand in controlled proportions, while people who wish to mix their own blend dry cement and sand in the desired proportions before adding water.
Historically, cement was made with lime. Lime cements were much softer and weaker than modern cements made with Portland cement. However, this could actually be beneficial; the cement was slightly more flexible, and it was self-healing. If cracks appear in lime masonry, the lime will heal itself, to a certain extent. Once cracks start to appear in Portland cement, they will only grow larger, admitting water and creating a risk to the stability of the building over time.
Masonry cement for bricks is waterproof, to keep water from getting inside the joints. Cements vary from strong to weak versions, and can be used for everything from brick patios to brick walls. As brick cement ages and wears, the sand will become visible, as the Portland cement will slowly flake and wear away. When the sand becomes visible or the brick cement starts to look crumbly, it is time for re-pointing to preserve the integrity of the joints This can be done by a professional mason or a skilled do it yourselfer.