Bricks are a beautiful and long-lasting addition to any building, whether they’re only making up a small portion of the structure like a chimney or retaining wall or they’re the material used for large portions of the building. However, like all things around your house, they will require maintenance from time to time.
Bricks, and more importantly, the mortar that joins them, will deteriorate and wear down over the years, and will need to be taken care of in order to maintain their appearance and their structural integrity. Tuckpointing is a great way to accomplish both of these goals in one process! If the brick on your house is starting to look a little worse for wear, tuckpointing services from Keen Masonry might be exactly what you need. Here’s what you need to know!
What is Tuckpointing?
Tuckpointing is a process of replacing the mortar between bricks in a structure. The old mortar is cleared out with mortar rakes and chisels and new mortar is added, colored specifically to match the bricks as closely as possible. After that mortar is inserted, narrow lines of a contrasting color of putty are added. The two colors at play in a tuckpointing project give the appearance of the bricks having very straight and narrow strips of mortar, making the structure look crisp and new.
How are Tuckpointing and Repointing Different?
You can think of tuckpointing as the stepped-up, more visually appealing version of repointing. Repointing refers to the process of taking old mortar out of a brick structure and replacing it with new mortar. However, it doesn’t include adding the contrasting colors that make the joints (the strips of mortar in between bricks) look narrow and tidy. While repointing a wall will extend its lifespan and improve its structural integrity, it can lead to the wall looking sloppy with wavy looking joints and bricks that don’t look perfectly rectangular. The two-color method used in tuckpointing produces a better visual result.
When is Tuckpointing Needed?
It’s usually not too difficult to tell when the mortar in a brick structure is starting to break down and should be replaced soon. Often you can tell just by eye– crumbling and cracks in the mortar and gaps between the bricks and the mortar are signs that it’s time for a wall to be freshened up. Moisture and age are the most common reasons for mortar deteriorating or failing, so keep an eye on your bricks, especially if you live in an older house or in a damp area.
Can I DIY Tuckpointing?
Some particularly handy individuals might give tuckpointing their own brick structures a try, but most of the time, this is a process best left to the professionals. The mortar in your bricks is not something you want to mess with. It provides the stability of the entire structure, and you can significantly weaken a wall or chimney by clearing out old mortar and putting in new mortar in the wrong way. Additionally, the tools and materials for tuckpointing can be expensive, and it’s hard to produce an excellent look when you’re inexperienced with the project.
To be safe, it’s best to leave tuckpointing your walls to professional brickworking experts like the team at Keen Masonry! If you’re interested in learning more about this service, make sure to contact us today for more information.