To The Point Work
Now that we are in spring and you have had a chance to walk around your house to see what needs to be done to get it in ship shape condition for the warmer weather, you might have noticed a crack in the bricks on the side of one of your walls. Perhaps the bricks are separating. If so and you have experienced rain and moisture, it’s possible the moisture will infiltrate the wall and cause some internal damage to the mortar points. If the brick face is flaking off this is a sign too that water is getting behind the brick.
This is where point work or tuck-pointing comes in. This is the process where skilled professionals will come in and inspect your walls. If the condition is not so obvious to the naked eye, there is technology that can determine whether there is any damage to the mortar.
The process involves very carefully removing and cleaning out the old and damaged mortar so as not to compromise the integrity of the brick and surrounding mortar. This is either done by hand chiseling each brick to a depth of 1 inch, or by using an electric grinder. These grinders however cannot be used on vertical joints, as they will chip or crack the bricks.
It is important to match the mortar with your original mortar. Any difference in tone and strength will create stress on existing mortar and bricks. For example in older homes, lime-based mortar might have been used to tuckpoint the bricks, whose porous supple nature allows for expansion and contraction of the bricks. Newer homes most likely will be pointed with masonry cement which is a combination of sand and ground limestone – a harder substitute mixed together with Portland cement.
Once the area is thoroughly cleaned and prepared, the new mortar can be applied.
Point work, or re pointing or tuck work should be done every 25 years or so. It is important to regularly check outside walls to ensure the mortar is still in tact and strong.Tuck-pointing is an expensive and painstaking process, and the advice would be to make sure you are getting the best and most professional workmanship to complete the job.