Brick has long been a highly valued material in home construction due to its earthy beauty, durability, and ease of maintenance. Even so, nature’s elements can exact a toll on brick and, more specifically, the mortar joints separating the bricks in a wall. The deterioration starts at areas most vulnerable to water penetration-;chimneys, around windows and doors, at ground level, and behind downspouts.
Discerning When Brick Pointing is Needed
First, let’s clear up the misconception that mortar serves to hold individual bricks together. Mortar serves to separate individual bricks in a wall and fills irregular areas on the bricks. Since mortar is softer than brick, it is susceptible to the elements, so it will erode and deteriorate first, which is really what you want, as replacing the mortar joints is less costly than replacing the brick. You should not be able to observe open spaces in the mortar and, if spaces exist, it’s time for brick pointing in Wilmington, DE.
Materials and Tools Used
Not all mortar is created equal, and although cement-based mortar sounds great for repointing, nothing could be farther from the truth. Compared to the preferred lime mortar, cement mortar is harder and less porous, causing it to weather slower than the brick. Removing the old mortar requires common tools such as a hammer, flat chisel, steel-bristled brush, whisk broom, dust mask, and safety glasses. To apply new mortar a brick trowel, a 3/8-inch pointing trowel, a joint-contouring tool, and waterproof gloves.
Basic Steps in Brick Pointing
It is important to understand that the process of repointing is tedious, time-consuming, and sometimes requires the use of scaffolding. For large-scale projects, it’s best for the homeowner with no experience to contract with Mara Restoration for the best results. First, they will prepare the mortar using the recommended portions of water and mortar mix. Filling the joints is typically done top-to-bottom moving right to the left. The horizontal joints are filled first, completing two to three courses, followed by the vertical joints. The mortar is allowed to overlap and is not cleaned up until nearly dry.
Don’t sell short the value of brick pointing in Wilmington, DE. Mortar has a major impact on a wall’s quality and can comprise as much as 15 percent of its surface area. A job done poorly sticks out like neon graffiti on a black wall. On the other hand, one done well truly is a work of art.