Brick Walls Pointing and Repointing

Pointing and Repointing a brick wall helps keeping the rain water and moisture from penetrating the brickwall, thus keeping the wall dry. Older brickworks will need repointing from time to time.

WALLS: Keeping the rain out
If the mortar joint between bricks has begun to crumble it should be repaired, not only for the sake of appearance,but to keep rain out of the wall. Rain alone is bad for a house, but the real danger is rain followed by
frost, for if water has soaked into bricks and then freezes, the surface of the brick can crack away, leaving a much
more battered-looking wall and a much bigger repair bill.
It’s cheaper and simpler to mend the mortar joint – called ‘ repointing’ by builders.

London Builders & Bricklayers offers you a guide to Pointing and Repointing brick walls.

Flush pointing: the mortar finishes level with the bricks, the edge is made roughly level with the trowel and then, when mortar has begun to dry, rubbed over with a piece of wood. Work carefully; don’t rub excess wet mortar into bricks, it will stain the bricks.
flush pointing brick wall house extension

Weather struck and cut pointing : gives best water defying finish; the slope helps water to run off. Formed by trowel held at an angle; then ‘frenchman knife’ is run along lower edge, on straightedge,to leave slight overhang.
weather struck pointing brick walls house extension

Tooled or rubbed pointing : mortar is pressed in and slightly hollowed by any suitably rounded tool – a piece of narrow pipe, an old bucket handle, or a piece of garden hose, rubbed along the mortar, giving curved finish to joint.

Recessed square pointing: mortar is rubbed with a steel tool – a piece of hardwood can be as good – of the right thickness. This pointing looks very handsome with rough-textured bricks, but isn’t ideal for walls going to get lots of rain.

Repointing the mortar joints between bricks

Unless you’ve only a small area of repointing to do, and that near the ground, hire a tower platform to, work from. Repointing isn’t difficult, but it will need all your attention and both hands,
and that isn’t possible if you are working from a ladder.
tower platform office

It’s worth practising on a small piece of wall where your first, probably messy, attempts won’t show. If you are repointing an entire wall you can pick any style of repointing; if you are doing only part of a wall it will look better matched to the existing sound parts.

Work from top to bottom of the wall, raking out the old pointing, and take the opportunity to clean down dirty brickwork at the same time.
There are brick cleaners you buy from a builder’s merchant. If there’s an odd defective brick you can cut it out with a cold chisel and club hammer and replace it with a matching sound brick.
(If there’s more than one or two together, best leave the job to a builder.) Apart from the tower platform, you’ll need a pointing trowel (like a bricklaying trowel but half the size) and you may find a dotting trowel (a very small one) useful too. Make yourself a ‘frenchman’- file the end of an old knife to a point, then heat the blade in a flame and bend it at right angles.
A straight-edge can be made from a piece of 2in. by 1 in. with one edge planed to a featheredge and a thin piece of ply or hardboard fixed at each end to hold it just clear of the wall.

A hawk, to carry a small amount of mortar while you are working, can be made out of a 9in. square piece of hardboard or ply screwed to a 6in. length of broom handle. Professionals mix their mortar on a spotboard, a 2ft. square board
raised clear of the ground.

The easiest way to get mortar is to buy dry ready mix: it is cheaper to mix your own (one part cement, two sand) and by
using coloured cements you can produce coloured pointing, but all the ingredients need to be passed through a fine
sieve to make sure there are no coarse particles. Whichever material you use, add clean water slowly until you have a
stiff mortar mix. If you make the mix too wet it won’t stay put between the bricks and in running down it will stain them. It should be just wet enough to be worked; if you/pick it up on a trowel and tip it sideways the mortar should stay put.

Contact us for a Quote for Pointing and Repointing walls, Chimney Pointing, brick pointing repairs,Lime Repointing, Masonry, etc in London. If the job is not too small, our bricklayers and builders can cover other UK areas.

If you build a House Extensions, Kitchen Extensions, Loft Conversions, Garage Conversions, or any other building that will complement an existing house or building, its always best to match existing type of pointing and brickwork.