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Letter to the Editor

In the December 2004 issue of Masonry, Sarah B. Atkins, President of Archovations, Inc., headquartered in Hudson, Wis., authored an article titled "Have We Settled the Mortar Dropping Issue Yet."

Atkins' article's conclusion is that the mortar dropping issue is settled by the use of "a full-height drainage material (in the wall cavity) that completely prevents mortar droppings."

Atkins neglected to divulge to Masonry, or within her byline to her article, her affiliation with Cav-Clear, a manufacturer of a full-height drainage material. She is undoubtedly prejudiced in her conclusion that a full-height drainage material is the only answer to the mortar dropping issue.

Two quick phone calls verify her affiliation with Cav-Clear. Long distance information provided (715) 381-3559 and her byline provided (715) -381-5773 as telephone numbers for Archovations. Both numbers answered "Cav-Clear."

Colin C. Munro, President of Colin C. Munro Chartered, Masonry Consultant, and one of the Owners of Mortar Net USA Ltd., is also the technical consultant to Mortar Net USA Ltd. In his role as a masonry consultant, he has seen and tested full-height drainage material in actual wall constructions and has observed hardened mortar "spots" as big as 144 square inches (one square foot) randomly occurring over the height of an opened wall. The thin full-height mesh (approximately 1/4 inch) had allowed mortar contact to the back-up material, and some of the hardened mortar "spots" had water ponds on their top surfaces.

It is highly unlikely that Cav-Clear is the answer to the mortar dropping issue!

In the December 2004 Masonry article entitled, "Have We Settled the Mortar Dropping Issue Yet?" author Sarah B. Atkins presented her opinion on the best way to manage mortar droppings in multi-wythe masonry walls.

The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) agrees with Ms. Atkins that "there are several schools of thought to manage mortar in the airspace," as indicated in her article. However, we do not agree with her conclusive assessment that "full height drainage material...completely prevents mortar droppings." This solution should be considered among the many schools of thought, rather than the definitive answer to mortar management.

It is the position of the MCAA that no material, no matter where in the cavity wall it is located, can totally eliminate mortar droppings. Only a combination of quality design, quality materials and quality workmanship can fully achieve this goal. Also, there are many ways to design multi-wythe masonry walls to manage mortar droppings in masonry cavities. Therefore, Ms Atkins's article on mortar droppings should be viewed as her opinion, and not of the MCAA staff or members.

I would like to request that you clarify a point for your readers as follows:

The article "Have We Settled the Mortar Dropping Issue Yet?" appearing in the December 2004 issue was written by Sarah B. Atkins, President of Archovations, Inc. Archovations, Inc. manufactures the CavClear® product line, which includes a full-height drainage material for masonry cavity wall applications.



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