If you think of mortar as a visually neutral component of a masonry wall, you may be underestimating its aesthetic impact. Depending on the size of the units, mortar accounts for 10% to 25% of a masonry wall. As such, it has a significant effect on a building's appearance. MATCH OR CONTRAST The decision with the greatest impact is whether to match the mortar color to the units or to play up a contrast. With units that are monochromatic, matching mortar creates masonry with a nearly monolithic appearance. Selecting a mortar color that contrasts strongly with the units draws more attention to the joints and to the placement of the units in a field of masonry. PLAY UP A SINGLE COLOR Another way to use colored mortar is to pick up one of the colors from units that cover a range. Whether it matches one brick color within a blend or one shade within multicolored units, the mortar will tend to make that color more visible overall. ACCENTUATE PATTERNS Sometimes two or more mortar colors are specified to accentuate patterns in the masonry. Bands, quoins, and other contrasting ornamental elements may have greater visual impact with matching mortar to set them apart from the field masonry. BUILDER BENEFITS Residential builders note several benefits that can be derived by the use of colored mortars. For a relatively modest increase in overall construction cost, a builder can provide a custom touch that adds value to the home. Colored mortar actually can reduce costs in some cases by "dressing up" an inexpensive brick.