What Is the Difference Between Repointing and Tuckpointing?

If you are looking into fixing your brick wall, you might encounter the terms repointing and tuckpointing. Some confuse these two terms, but both actually have different applications. Now, what is the difference between repointing and tuckpointing?

The Difference

Repointing refers to the process of removing old mortar and replacing it with new mortar.

Tuckpointing, on the other hand, refers to a similar process where the damaged mortar is removed then replaced with new mortar with a color similar to the bricks. But this process involves embedding a thin line of contrasting color down the centers of the new mortar joints.

One Common Goal

Both methods have one goal: to remove damaged mortar and replace it with a new one. Bricks are technically long-lasting, but the mortar can deteriorate as time goes by.

In the masonry aspect, the mortar plays a significant role. For instance, the durability of the structure depends on the mortar. Without it, moisture could seep into the bricks, which can weaken the strength of the structure. The spacing of the joints also depends on the mortar.

Repointing vs. Tuckpointing

Source: archway-home-remodeling.com

Others make the mistake of using these terms interchangeably. The reason for the confusion between these two terms could be that the concept of the process is almost the same, that is, masonry restoration. They both replace old, damaged, and crumbled mortar.

While both involve removing and replacing mortar joints, you will see the difference instantly: they differ in aesthetics.

Repointing does not involve the application of a contrasting thin line in the center of the mortar joints. In tuckpointing, you will have to use two different colors of mortar: one is to fill the mortar joints, then the other is to fill the center of the joints to create an illusion that the mortar joints look perfectly straight.

What is the purpose of repointing?

Repointing brick masonry is important when you have recessed mortar joints; the mortar is crumbled or has the texture of dust. The recessed mortar joints don’t significantly affect your masonry structure, but it’s a critical process as preventative maintenance.

Mortar decays can cause voids to show up in your masonry. And if you leave them open, you’re basically opening the doors for water from entering. The water that enters your masonry can cause immense damage from salt deposition and dissolution and frost weathering.

If you notice your mortar joints having cracks or decays, consider getting repointing masonry to keep your brick wall sturdy and robust.

What is the purpose of tuckpointing?

The same with repointing, the purpose of tuckpointing is to fix deteriorated mortar. But aside from reinforcing the structure of your masonry, tuckpointing also improves its aesthetics.

In masonry, builders use the tuckpointing method to imitate rubbed bricks masonry without spending as much. In case you didn’t know, rubbed bricks have a fine, red finish. They were made slightly oversized, then they were individually rubbed by hand to a precise size. And when you lay them with white mortar, a neat and delicate red brick contrasts the fine white joints.

The Cost of Repointing and Tuckpointing

Take note, the materials involved in repointing are relatively low-cost, but 90% of what you will pay is the skill of the masonry and labor. And when it comes to the materials, the tuckpointing may cost more as it uses two different mortar colors.

The main factor of the cost is not based on per square footage, but the access. If the company has to put scaffolding in a three-story house to reach the small patch, it might cost more than repointing or tuckpointing a large patch in the ground floor area.


There you have it. Repointing and tuckpointing share the same goal: to fix recessed joints. The process is almost the same, except tuckpointing involves applying a thin line of contrasting color in the center of the joints. Both methods are critical for keeping your brickwork sturdy and strong. They prevent water from seeping into the bricks, which could impact their durability.

The cost may vary depending on your location, but most masonry companies base the price, not per square footage, but access.

Was this guide helpful? If you have any more questions, feel free to comment down below!

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