Tuckpointing is a process used in repairing and restoring masonry. Over time, the mortar that holds bricks or stones together will begin to deteriorate. As mortar starts to crack or deteriorate, water can seep into the cracks, compromise the integrity of the brick, and cause major damage to the structure.
Tuckpointing is the process of removing and replacing the mortar between the layers of bricks. It helps protect the building from further damage and can improve the overall appearance of the building as well.
Removing the old mortar
The first step in the tuckpointing process is to remove mortar that is loose or cracked. Using a slim chisel and a hammer, all the loose and cracked mortar is removed to the depth of about three-quarters of an inch. This removes the deteriorating mortar to expose the more solid mortar underneath.
Once the solid mortar is exposed, all the loose mortar and dust is swept away using a stiff-bristle brush. One technique that works well is to wet the brush. While you don’t want to get the bricks wet, this process helps remove any tiny bits of mortar that remain.
Replacing with new mortar
Next, new mortar is mixed into a pudding-like consistency to replace the deteriorating mortar that was removed. It’s applied using a tool called a mortar hawk. Beginning with the horizontal joints first, the mortar will be applied by holding the hawk against the brick then sliding mortar into the open joint with a tuckpointer.
After the mortar is packed into the open joint, any excess is scraped away so the mortar in the joint is flush with the brick. After the mortar is correctly applied to the entire structure, any other excess mortar will be swept away.
When mixing mortar, it’s important to properly match the old mortar so that repaired areas blend with the existing building. Finding the right mortar color to match can be a complicated process, but it makes a big difference in the aesthetics of the finished project.
At JK Industries, we have extensive experiencing tuckpointing commercial exteriors. Contact us today to let us know how we can help.