The Ultimate Guide to Repointing Brick

Weather and age can cause walls to deteriorate over time. Repointing brick will not only enhance the beauty of your wall but ensure they remain stable and durable. Learn more with this guide.

A successful brick construction project requires proper planning and the right execution. One of the most important tasks you need to know is repointing bricks.

Keep in mind that bricks can wear and tear over time. With brick repointing maintenance, you can provide more safety and durability of each structure.

Unless you’re an avid handyman, performing this task can be challenging. Take note that this also requires a complete set of tools. While hiring professional repointing or tuckpointing services is your best bet for your brick construction project, it also helps to have an idea about how they perform these tasks.

In this post, you will learn some of the basics of repointing bricks. We will also provide a step-by-step guide to help you with your DIY projects. Read on.

What is repointing brick?

It is one of the most important processes in masonry construction projects. This involves renewing or repointing mortar to secure materials from the harshness of weather.

When inspecting your projects, pay attention to voids in the mortar joints. The objective is to prevent undesirable entrance of water.

What are the materials used to repoint bricks?

It is not only the mixture of sand, white cement, and lime mortar that is used for tuckpointing repairs but the following materials are vital to repoint brick:

  1. Chisel – A tool with a shaped cutting edge of the blade on its end that is used for carving or cut pointing the old mortar.
  2. Cement mixer – Is used to mix the required materials for filling the gaps. 
  3. Pointing trowel – It is a small hand tool with a handle and flat metal blade that is used for scooping or spreading the mortar.
  4. Mortarboard – Is a cap with a close-fitting crown surmounted by a stiff, flat, square piece from which a tassel hangs. This is used to hold mortar.
  5. Scaffolding – Is a temporary structure that is used for supporting the workers and keep materials.
  6. Soft brush – Soft brush is used to brush off debris so that no scratches are caused to the bricks.
  7. Wire brush – Wire brush is used to clean the surface, removing the slag, etc. 
  8. Plastic Sheets – These sheets are pinned to save the other parts of the wall as well as the surface.

How is repointing done?

Timely pointing involves the following steps to ensure the brickwork of your construction is durable enough to last longer:

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Step1. Removing the old mortar

This is the most time-consuming part of pointing and small sections of the brick wall must be taken up at a time to remove the old mortar. Make sure that you do not remove the used mortar beyond one-third of the joint’s total depth. Going beyond that may weaken the integrity of brickwork. 

Clean up the debris to expose the respectable portion of brick so that the new mortar works for a longer period. Make the use of a cold chisel, joint rake, or/ and handheld grout saw to tap out the previous mortar to ensure the brick is not damaged. Make use of a whisk broom, wire brush, or hose to remove all the wiped out mortar dust.

Step 2:  Wetting the wall

To ensure that the bricks and previously placed mortar are hydrated well, you need to make a good soaking of the wall, and leave it overnight. This ensures that these hydrated bricks and old mortar will not suck the water out of the replaced mortar that will be placed in between them. Sprinkle the water again the next day before putting in the new mortar.

Step 3: Preparing new mortar

Use Portland cement mortar to refill the spaces between bricks if your brickwork is not older than 50 years. But if the construction is done before 50 years, use a mix of lime and sand, it is because the same mix was used originally in the brickwork at the time of its construction.

Replacing the mortar with the same mix for tuck pointing will ensure that brick does not crack easily.

Professionals can guide on using the correct mortar replacement. However, an ideal refilling to make a mortar mix is to take 5 and a half parts of fine white sand, one part of lime, and one part of Portland cement.

Step 4: Place in the new mortar

Use a pointing trowel to replace mortar into the horizontal and vertical spaces. It is good to work on smaller areas of the brick first.  It would be easier to fill the vertical joints with a margin trowel.  You can use the flat edge of the trowel to wipe out any mortar you find on the face of the bricks.

Step 5: Clean up

Once the refilling job is done, leave the mortar to slightly harden for an hour. Take up the final wiping out of any mortar left on the brick face with a sturdy wire brush. You must do a horizontal sweeping of the joints so that the mortar is not pulled out of these joints.

Hydrate the wall daily for the next few days to ensure that the mortar dries up slowly without cracking.

How often should you repoint brickwork?

While quality bricks can last up to 30 years, experts like Alexander and Xavier Masonry recommend you to check the structure regularly. Take note that mortar joints can wear and tear over time. Inspect every area, especially horizontal joints to see if the structure requires reporting brick.

Maintaining the strength and safety of the walls of your construction with a timely repointing provides a beautiful look to the brickwork and much greater satisfaction to your inner soul looking at it. 

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