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Tuckpointing- step by step

What is tuckpointing?

Tuckpointing is the term used to describe the process of removing deteriorated mortar joints. Mortar joints are cut to a uniform depth and then fill in with fresh mortar. Tuckpointing is also referred as pointing and repointing, however, it may also mean to put plastic mortar in masonry walls without removing the original damaged mortar.​ Not only old joins need to be repaired, new walls also might need to be tuckpointed to repair voids in the mortar joint, or when the joint has not been properly finished.

How tuckpointing looks like?

Tuckpointing could be a labor-intensive procedure and must be done by an experienced mason or someone with relevant experience. But if you want to do it by yourself, here are some basic steps:

  1. Assess the situation
    You need to assess the area where damaged mortar will need to be replaced.
  1. Set-up
    Using appropriate equipment, set up to reach the area safely.
  1. Do joint removal
    After set-up or if none is needed, the joints will need to be removed. Joint removal can be done in a variety of ways. For example a hammer and chisel or a raker bar.
  1. Clean open joints
    Once the joints are removed, the joints will need to be cleaned to remove dirt and debris left over from the joint removal process. This allows for better bonding of new mortar to old brick.
  1. Mix mortar
    Mix premix mortar in wheelbarrow with hoe to specifications on product bag. The mortar must be weaker than the bricks, or it will destroy the bricks over time.
  1. Tuckpoint
    Cleaned joints are ready to tuckpoint. Use a joiner or tuckpointing trowel to push mortar into the wall from a hawk board.
  1. Do the brush work
    Allow the mortar to cure for a short while, enough so that it has little moisture but is still pliable, then brush excess mortar from the wall for a finished product.
  1. Clean
    Apply a masonry cleaner 2-3 weeks after completion of the work to remove any residual haze left over from the tuckpointing.
  1. Seal
    After 30 days a sealer may be applied but is not necessary.