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The Importance of Pointing

Today, we’re talking about the importance of pointing on brickwork. We’ll be looking into the negative effects that damaged mortar can have on your property and how you can prevent it. And, you can even learn how to repoint cracked mortar on a brick wall yourself.

But first, let’s have a look at mortar and how it works:

What is mortar?

Mortar is a workable paste comprised of a mixture of sand and cements. It serves and an effective binding material and is most often used when building with bricks, stones or blocks. When applied correctly, mortar forms a bond between masonry that’s both durable and long-lasting. Mortar is also used to fill gaps between masonry and even to add decorative features to brickwork.

What is pointing?

Pointing is basically the ‘finish’ between the bricks or stonework of your property, and the term used when repairing those mortar joints. Effective repointing must prevent water from penetrating the property while letting the wall breath and drain. Furthermore, it must be flexible enough to allow for small changes in the structure of the building, such as thermal responses and settlement.

Now, here’s a video of Phillip Dalton explaining how to point a roof verge properly:

As you can see, the job or repairing and pointing brickwork can sometimes be a little dangerous. If you prefer to hire services work of a professional builder, get in touch with us at Dalton Roofing today.

What is the difference between mortar and concrete?

Concrete and mortar are both used in masonry building projects, but there are some key differences between the two. For instance, mortar is a mixture of cement and sand and contains a relatively high water-to-cement ratio. This provides a greater ability to retain water and achieve a higher air content than concrete, making mortar the perfect for bonding masonry.

On the other hand, concrete is much stronger and durable. As well as containing sand, cement and water, concrete includes the addition of coarse aggregates, such as gravel. It also has a low water-to-cement ration, making it thinner in consistency to mortar. The superior strength of concrete is perfect for structural projects, such as fence posts, steps and paving stones.

What are the problems of damaged pointing?

During the lifetime of your property, the mortar in between your bricks or stone will erode. This will result in water creeping in through your brickwork and can lead to penetrating damp issues. When this water soaks through, small particles of brick start to dissolve. And when the cold weather sets in, that water inside the brick can freeze. Once this happens, you’ll notice issues such as cracked, broken or shattered bricks.

In order to spot eroded mortar before it starts to cause issues, we advise you inspect the state of your property regularly. If you happen to notice the mortar has crumbled away, it’s a strong indication that a bit of pointing is needed.

How to repoint cracked mortar on a brick wall

Perhaps you are a DIY minded person and would like to learn how to repoint the mortar on a cracked wall. If so, follow these steps, and you’ll be good to go:

  • First, chip out all damaged mortar in between the bricks. Be careful not to damage the brick, and remember to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Next, hose down the wall and let the water soak into the brickwork overnight. This keeps the mortar moist and helps prevent the new mortar from drying too quickly and cracking.
  • After that, put the mortar mix into a bucket and mix with water according to the instructions on your packaging. Stir with a trowel until the mortar mix forms a thick paste that sticks to your trowel.
  • Starting with the horizontal brick joints, scoop the mortar mix onto your brick trowel and force it into the joints using a pointing trowel. Then, repeat, but this time with the vertical brick joints.
  • Next, you can smooth over the brick joints to create a flush finish by raking the joints with your trowel, or another jointer tool.
  • Then, use the edge of your trowel to scrape any excess mortar from the brick. You can also clean the brick with a wet cloth and use a soft brush to clean off any remaining dust.
  • Finally, cover the repointed brick wall with a plastic sheet and secure it. Then, once a day, for the next three days, lift the plastic sheet and spray down the wall.

By following these steps, you can easily repair your own brick wall. But, if you don’t fancy the mess, we can do the job for you. Get in touch with Dalton Roofing, and we’ll head out to see what we can do.