When the mortar in your brickwork cracks or disappears, it’s more than an aesthetic issue. It’s a sign your home needs brick pointing – a simple, cost-effective solution to maintain your house’s structural integrity and weatherproofing. This guide will show you how to do it yourself, ensuring your home remains sturdy and energy-efficient.

What is Brick Pointing?

Brick pointing involves removing old, damaged mortar from between bricks and replacing it with new mortar. This process, often referred to as ‘repointing‘, is crucial for maintaining the strength and stability of brick structures. The term ‘pointing’ comes from the use of a pointed trowel, a key tool in this process.

Safety First: Preparing for Brick Pointing

Before starting, prioritize safety. If working on high areas like chimneys, use fall protection gear. Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from mortar chips. Since mortar can irritate skin, wearing gloves is a must.

Necessary Tools and Materials:

  • Joint raker or old screwdriver
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Wire brush
  • Garden hose
  • Safety glasses
  • Mortar, hawk board, pointing trowel, margin trowel

Step-by-Step Guide to Repointing Brick

  • Prepare the Area: Lay a cloth drop cloth to catch debris.
  • Rake the Mortar: Use a joint raker or screwdriver to remove loose mortar. Aim to clear high spots and weakened areas.
  • Remove Remaining Pieces: Use a hammer and chisel to gently remove stubborn mortar. Finish with a wire brush.
  • Mix and Prepare Mortar: Mix mortar in a bucket and let it sit (slake) for 30-45 minutes. After slaking, re-mix without adding water.
  • Moisten Bricks: Spray bricks with water and let them soak for 15 minutes.
  • Repointing: Place a small amount of mortar on the hawk. Use the pointing trowel to apply new mortar into the joints.
  • Groove the Mortar: Use the trowel to groove the mortar, catching any remnants with the hawk.

When to Call a Professional

While DIY repointing is feasible, certain situations require a professional’s touch. High, hard-to-reach areas, and extensive damage may necessitate hiring a skilled mason.

Tips for Successful Brick Pointing

  • Work in small sections to manage mortar drying.
  • Keep the area moist to reduce dust.
  • Be patient and work meticulously.
  • Avoid working in extreme temperatures.

Conclusion

Brick pointing is a rewarding DIY project that can significantly improve your home’s durability and appearance. By following these steps and tips, you’ll ensure a successful repointing job, preserving your home for years to come.