Even though the foundations of any building are made of bricks and mortar, weather damage and normal wear and tear can compromise the quality of the construction if it is not periodically repaired. Bricks are “pointed” during building to prevent water from leaking in and ruining a structure by binding the bricks together with mortar.
Because mortar does not last as long as masonry, it may be necessary to repoint the damaged areas. The good news is that you can do DIY tuckpointing for your home!
A shoddy repointing job might jeopardize the stability of a wall; therefore, it must be done correctly and only when necessary. To repoint a brick wall, follow these instructions.
Materials You’ll Need
An angle grinder with a diamond blade of 4 or 4-1/4 inches is necessary to begin. Rent one if you have only a few feet of joints that require attention. Unless you’re genuine tool savvy or your entire house needs comprehensive tuckpointing, a low-cost model will do.
Most masonry wholesalers and home improvement stores carry a few inexpensive but straightforward hand instruments. A tuck pointer and a brick trowel are needed for this project. You’ll need a masonry jointer with a width equal to the concavity of your mortar joints. A flat-joint raking device, An electric drill, and a flat chisel can get the work done considerably more quickly when only a small amount of old mortar must be removed. You can get one for a few hours or all day. If you work for a few days a week, renting a place can be pricey. Then get one if you’re able to do so.
A mortar mix is also required. You may get a 60-lb. bag at a low price at home centers. Bring in a small sample and ask a masonry contractor for guidance to get the color of the mortar dye you want. Although new tuckpointing stands out against older mortar, it is important to recognize this. But it will all work out in the end.
Don’t hold back if you only have a few joints available. You should begin by hogging out a little section of the wall to get a feel for the process before moving on to a larger one. You’ll learn how much you can tuckpoint at once and enhance your skills. Depending on how quickly the mortar mixes, you’ll have between 30 and 60 minutes to get to work.
Use a hammer and cold chisel to remove any loose or damaged mortar from the repair area. Cutting the mortar can alternatively be done by using a grinder. You should remove about 3/4 of an inch’s old mortar to expose the solid and sound mortar beneath. Drive the chisel into the mortar joint from the edge of the brick, aiming for the middle of the junction. Keep your chisel away from the brick.
To use a grinder:
- Make a cut along the mortar’s edge, near the brick meets.
- Make sure you don’t damage the brick.
- Remove the mortar between the cuts with a cold chisel and hammer after cutting to a depth of 3/4 inch.
Using a stiff-bristle brush, clean out the joints of any loose mortar or dust—swish water over the joints after immersing the brush in a bucket of it. If you want to get the bricks wet, go ahead and do so, but do not use the hose to saturate the wall.
As instructed by the mortar manufacturer, mix the little amount of mortar and clean water in a bucket and trowel. Liquid latex binder can be added to promote adhesion and prevent shrinkage if needed. If you’re trying to match the color of an existing mortar, you can also use a cement dye. Use the trowel to slice off pieces, mix the mortar until it has the pudding consistency.
Put little mortar on a mortar hawk (or you can use a 12-inch square of plywood). Begin by tuckpointing horizontal joints. Insert some mortar between the brickwork and keep the hawk there with a tuck pointer. Pack the open junction with mortar, then scrape off any excess mortar so that the mortar in the joint is flush with the bricks.
A tuck pointer can be used to scoop a tiny amount of mortar onto the tuck pointer and use it to pack the mortar into the open joint. Make sure the mortar joint is flat with the brick by scraping away any excess.
Check the mortar as you work. After 30 minutes, it may start to solidify. Make a small impression in the mortar with your thumb, then strike the joints using a jointing tool that matches the shape and width of the existing joints. Begin with the horizontal joints and progress vertically.
Allow the tooled joints to sit undisturbed for approximately 30 minutes or until the mortar is sufficiently solid. Then brush the joints with a stiff-bristle brush to remove any loose mortar from the joints, and any mortar spilled onto the bricks. As advised by the mortar manufacturer, softly spray the new repair with water to prolong the curing process. Often, it is advisable to sprinkle the region with water for three days. Additionally, you can cover the area with plastic sheeting to aid moisture retention.
Related: Tuckpointing 101: What You Need To Know About Tuckpointing
Call an Expert
While the layperson can do tuckpointing, it is best left to the pros. The labor-intensive process produces level mortar joints, but only with extreme precision. Any misalignment of the fillets used to create the joint impression would look sloppy.
In this case, a professional masonry tuckpointing contractor should be hired to repoint and tuckpoint. Replaced bricks are easier than repointed walls or chimneys.
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