Tuckpointing is the process of removing deteriorated mortar and replacing it with new, color-matched mortar. This protects the structure of brick walls and prevents costly damage in the future. Let’s take a look at how tuckpointing works, step by step. 

What is the purpose of tuckpointing?

The mortar around your bricks will wear down faster than the bricks themselves. Weak mortar allows water to seep into cracks, which compromises the integrity of the bricks. The water wears down the mortar even further, leading to more damage as time progresses. 

Tuckpointing removes the surface layer of mortar to create space for new mortar in the joints. This new mortar shields the bricks from water infiltration, adding years to the brick structure. 

Step 1 – Remove the old mortar

The first step in tuckpointing is removing the old, damaged mortar. Brick workers use a slim hammer and chisel to remove the outer 3/4″ of mortar. This exposes the solid mortar below and creates a channel for the new mortar. 

Step 2 – Clean out the mortar joint

Once the outer layer of mortar is removed, bricklayers clean the mortar joints using a stiff bristled brush. Sometimes, a small amount of water is applied to the brush to help get as much old mortar out as possible. 

Step 3 – Color match the new mortar with existing mortar

In most cases, only small sections of the bricks are tuckpointed, not the entire structure. So, it is important to match the new mortar to the color of the existing mortar. When done correctly, it is difficult or impossible to distinguish between areas of old and new mortar.

Step 4 – Apply the new mortar

The new mortar is mixed to a pudding-like consistency, and then it is applied to the clean joints with a mortar hawk. This is a large, flat tool with a handle on the back. The hawk rests against the bricks, and the mortar is pressed into the seams using a tuckpointer. 

Masonry workers focus on the horizontal joints first, followed by the vertical joints. Any excess mortar is wiped away to create smooth seams between the bricks. The mortar is left to dry, and then the project is complete!

JK Industries offers tuckpointing services for commercial buildings. Contact us to schedule a brick inspection or learn more about our brick restoration services.