Tuckpointing, also referred to as repointing, is the process of removing and replacing damaged, crumbling, or missing mortar in between brick or stones. This process gets its name from the fact that new mortar is tucked into the existing or damaged mortar with the tip of a pointing trowel. This process helps to extend the life of the masonry, and prevent water from entering into the building structure. Here are the three steps to proper tuckpointing for effective stone or brick restoration.
Remove Existing Mortar
The first step in effective tuckpointing is to remove the existing and damaged mortar. Typically, an advanced grinding system is used for this job, utilizing diamond blades connected to dustless equipment. For the best results, it is suggested to remove mortar 2 ½ times the width of the joint to a minimum depth of ½ inch.
Research Original Building Mortar
Before replacing the existing mortar, the next step is to research the type or mortar that was used originally. This will assure that the mortar used in tuckpointing is of the right strength, and will further support the building’s structure rather than damage it. This is especially important in buildings constructed in the early 1900’s or before, since portland cement was not combined with sand and lime for mortar until the 20th century.
Match Mortar Strength
Once the original mortar type has been researched and identified, the appropriate mortar for repointing can be matched and used. The strength of the new mortar should match or be weaker than the existing mortar. If a stronger mortar is used, the load is then concentrated on this area, which can lead to spalling and further damage.
For more information regarding tuckpointing and brick restoration services, contact Abbot Building Restoration at 617-445-0274.