Tuckpointing Tips



We haven’t the slightest idea why they call the process “tuckpointing” but it refers to the removal of old mortar between bricks and the replacement with new. If you have loose or crumbling mortar, now is the time to make repairs before the problem worsens.
You can buy a bag of premixed mortar so all you have to do is add water. But before you mix, there is a little prep work to be done.

1. Remove all the loose mortar to a depth of at least a half-inch. You can do this with a cold chisel and hammer. (WEAR YOUR SAFETY GOGGLES!) It’s best to start with vertical joints, then do the horizontal ones.

2. Turn the hose on and blast away any particles.

3. Mix according to directions on the bag. However, it’s best to mix only a small trial batch to see if color match is close enough. This wouldn’t be a concern in many cases but if the problem is at the front of your house or on a brick wall inside. So when the trial batch is mixed, you want to see what it will look like when dry. Spread a small amount of mortar on a piece of porous cardboard, which will draw the moisture from the mix. The dried area will tell you just about the cured mortar will look like. If it’s darker than the old stuff, add grated chalk dust. If it’s lighter, add lamp black, available at the paint store.

4. Dampen the bricks surrounding the work area.

5. Push mortar into the cavities filling vertical joints first and then horizontal. Force the stuff in so as not to leave any air pockets.

6. Before the mortar sets up, rake the joints with a jointer tool to make them look like the old.

If the tuckpointing is done where looks don’t matter, you can use concrete patch in a cartridge for use with a caulking gun. Trim the spout far enough up so you get a bead that will fill the joints. This will go a little faster.
Now you can make a point of tucking any brick joints that aren’t right!

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