Is your house made of brick? Do you feel like the walls need some redoing? This is precisely what tuck pointing brick does. It makes the walls more stable, sturdy, and secure, while also enhancing their look. Tuckpointing involves adding new mortar to the bricks, and it’s a fairly easy procedure, except for the fact that it might take some time to complete. Even so, you shouldn’t postpone it, for reasons that we’re going to explain later on. In today’s article, we’re going to teach you how to repoint brick walls and tell you why you have to do it.
How Tuck Pointing Is Done
1. Remove Old Mortar
Before adding the new mortar onto the bricks, it’s important to remove the old stuff. However, you must be careful how you go about it, since removing it all at once without adding any new mortar can be dangerous. This could weaken the wall’s integrity. The best solution would be to work in sections. Remember to remove the mortar both vertically and horizontally.
Use a handheld grout saw, a cold chisel, or a joint raker to protect the bricks while doing it. People who are more experienced could also use a four-inch angle grinder. However, since this one is quite strong, you run the risk of cutting into the bricks. It all depends on whether you want to get the job done fast, or you want to make sure you don’t take any risks.
As a couple of final tips, don’t remove the mortar deeper than half an inch. That depth is more than enough. When you’re done, use a brush, a whisk broom, or a hose to remove the dust. All the while, wear a respirator. This will protect you from inhaling any dust or debris.
2. Soak the Wall with a Hose
The next step involves soaking the wall using a hose and letting it sit like that overnight. This step hydrates the bricks and the mortar left on the wall. This way, when you apply the new mortar, they won’t take any water out of it. If you want to make extra sure this doesn’t happen, prepare a water bottle and spritz the wall right before you start applying the mortar.
3. Mix the Mortar
The mix you’re going to use for brick tuckpointing depends on how old your house is. If it’s not more than 50 years old, you can use Portland cement mortar. If it’s older than that, the mix changes to sand and lime. Original brickwork used the latter mixture, so it would be better for you to replace it with the same kind of mix. Portland cement mortar is a good option as well, but it tends to dry really hard. This might cause some bricks to crack, especially older ones.
If you want to know for sure you’re using the right mortar mix, you can ask for the advice of a mason who specializes in restoration work. Most likely, they’ll tell you that one of the best mixes you can use contains six parts white sand, 1 part white Portland cement, and two parts lime. The lime is particularly important because it cushions the bricks.
Another relevant thing we must mention is that mortar tends to harden pretty fast. This means making a large batch will simply waste it. Make smaller batches as you go along, and you will take advantage of every bit of mixture. The best container to use for such a job is a wheelbarrow since you can easily move it around. Place all the ingredients there, and then mix them together until they reach a frosting-like consistency. One quick way to test if the mortar is ready is to take a trowel and draw some of it upwards. If it holds its peaks, you’re ready to start repointing brick.
4. Insert the Mortar
This step is where the hard work comes in, but it’s nothing that patience and attention can’t solve. The only tools you’re going to need to apply the mortar and insert it in between the bricks are a large trowel and a pointing one. Using the large trowel, you’ll pick up some mortar. Then, using the pointing one, you’ll work it into the gaps in between the bricks. If you have trouble filling the vertical joints, you can also use a margin trowel. Once you’ve filled all the gaps, you’re going to want to even everything out and make sure you put the excess mortar on the face of the bricks. You can do both of these things with the flat edge of the trowel.
5. Clean the Bricks
The last step involves cleaning the bricks properly, as well as providing them with a neat look. You should wait for the mortar to harden a bit before doing so, which might take about an hour. Using a wire brush, take any mortar you have left, and apply it on the faces of the bricks. To make sure you won’t pull the newly applied mortar out from in between the bricks, we recommend horizontal motions, as if you were sweeping.
The mortar takes quite a bit of time to dry completely, more precisely around four days. To ensure it will dry without any cracks, you should mist the wall every single day until the mortar dries.
Why Do You Need to Tuckpoint Bricks?
- You will preserve your home for a longer period of time.
- Your house will look better.
- The property’s value will increase.
- You’re going to be able to sell the house much easier if that’s what you want.
- The walls will be much more stable and sturdy.
As we hope we’ve managed to prove in today’s guide to repointing brick, you don’t necessarily need to call someone to do this for you. The job can be tedious, but the end result is definitely worth the effort. Make sure to follow the steps above to the letter, and you’re going to successfully repoint brick. We’d be happy to hear from you after you get the job done, or if you’ve tried repointing brick before.