How to Repoint Brickwork
Over time the mortar joints between brickwork can begin to look unpleasant, this may simply be to old age or the affects of weathering. It is highly common for small areas of brickwork to be repointed such as chimney stacks, pillars or even fireplaces. Repointing can give unattractive brickwork a new lease of life and is relatively simple. This ‘How to’ shows you the best way to achieve the perfect finish.
1- Think about whether colour matching to existing pointing is important to you. If the area which needs repointing is small it is best to repoint the whole area so a mortar colour match is not required. If a colour match is required to suit existing parts of the building, start by making a few samples. When making samples the ratios of cement to sand must be noted. The best way to keep the batches correct is to use small cups, and work in ratios of 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, etc. Allow the samples time to dry, perhaps a day or two as the colour will change from its wet state.
2- Remove undesirable joints with a plugging chisel. In the meantime, with the plugging chisel take away the undesirable joints or all of them if necessary. An electrical mini grinder can also be useful to cut into each joint, but be careful not to scar any of the bricks. A depth of 20mm should be plenty. Make sure that all the areas are now free of dust and debris, a dry paint brush provides a good tool to work into these small spaces.
3- Prime the target areas with an adhesive mix. Mix some adhesive with some water to achieve a weak mix and with a clean paint brush, stroke it into all of the joints, this will encourage the mortar to take to the brickwork.
4- Apply the mortar carefully to the horizontals and verticals. Choose the best colour match of mortar and get to work. The mortar should be wet enough to work but not so much that it stains. Using a combination of a bricklayers trowel, jointing trowel and jointing iron, work the mortar into the vertical and horizontal joints.
5- Be sure to properly finish your work in a deliberate style. Be sure to joint up before the mortar gets to hard. Choose the correct tool to suit the joint finish. The most common finish is half round jointed and can be achieved using a jointing iron, however, some brickwork can be finished with a chariot which rakes out the joint and gives the brickwork definition. If this finish is required to tie in with the existing brickwork, take your chariot and set the raking nail to the same depth as any existing joints. When repointing areas that area heavily exposed to weather it is best to choose a joint finish that can combat these affects.
Always be sure to make colour samples so that the repointed work matches any existing do not have the mortar too wet as this only stain the brickwork
Make sure all joints are thoroughly cleaned out before applying the adhesive mix.
Always wear the correct safety equipment when using a grinder