Does your brick home have loose or damaged mortar between the bricks? In that case, it's time to have your mortar repaired, a process known as repointing. This article provides a brief guide for homeowners to this masonry repair procedure.
Why Do It?
If you notice some loose or cracked mortar between your bricks, it might not seem like a big deal. After all, your brick wall is not going to come tumbling down because of some loose mortar here and there, right? This is the wrong approach to the problem, however. Damaged mortar allows water to seep into the structure of the wall and destroy the bond between the mortar and bricks and can also weaken the bricks themselves. Repointing a wall ensures that the structure resists moisture damage and stays strong and solid.
If you do not mind getting your hands dirty and have experience with tools and home improvement projects, you might consider doing this job yourself. The first step is to remove the old mortar to a depth of about ½ inch with a cold chisel. Then remove all of the small particles and debris with a wire brush. Next, you should soak the wall with water and allow it to sit until the next morning, according to the Bob Vila website. The site also advises you to lightly wet the bricks again before starting work.
To start the repointing, mix the mortar according to the directions on the bag. The type of mortar used can be important in some cases. For modern homes, standard portland cement is fine, but this kind of mortar can possibly damage older bricks. So if your house is more than 50 years old, use a lime-based mortar.
Mix the mortar in small batches so that it does not harden before you place it on the wall. Once a batch is mixed, take a trowel and scoop up some mortar and then work the mortar into the ½ inch gap left when the old mortar was removed. A tool called a pointing trowel will make smoothing out the mortar much easier. After letting the mortar sit for about 60 minutes, scrape off the excess with a brush.
Although it's possible for someone who is very good with tools to do a satisfactory repointing job, most homeowners will not want to take on this dirty and tedious task themselves. To make certain the job is done right, contact a masonry service in your town.