mortar crack repair products

Old 11-20-02, 09:13 AM
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Question mortar crack repair products

I am looking for a product that I can use to seal the cracks in the mortar joints on the exterior of my brick home. I have found several products that claim to be effective for repairing cracks in mortar joints. They are:

1. Quickrete mortar repair;
2. Sikaflex polyurethane elastomeric sealant;
3. Waterplug;
4. Defy masonry crack & joint sealant;
5. Lexel; and
6. Meadowplug.

Some of these products, e.g., Defy, are apparently only effective on cracks up to 1/8 inch. (Some of my cracks may be larger.) Any info/opinions on these products, or others, would be greatly appreciated.
Old 11-23-02, 10:41 AM
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Repairing brick mortar joints

Tuckpointing Mortar Joints
My brick home was built in 1963, and the mortar is coming out from between the bricks on the gable end wall. Can the mortar, by itself, be repaired?


It's very important to maintain the integrity of the mortar joints in a brick wall. Otherwise, deteriorated mortar joints become a conduit for water leakage through the wall. There are two repair methods that are considered to be effective in stopping water migration through a brick wall. One is grouting and the other is tuckpointing.

Grouting is normally used on hairline cracks in mortar joints. In this method, a thin mixture of portland cement, lime and sand is applied to the mortar joints using a stiff fiber brush. Two coats are applied, and the grout is forced into the cracks. The problem with this method is that the grout is smeared over the bricks' surface, which drastically changes the appearance of the wall. Tuckpointing is better than this method because a tuckpointed wall looks neater and is more durable than one that has been grouted.

Although we can't take the space here to describe tuckpointing completely, here's an overview of the process: The deteriorated mortar is removed to a depth of about 3/4 of an inch, or to the point where solid mortar is reached. The mortar is removed using a tuckpointing chisel hit by a metal-striking hammer such as a small handheld sledge (not a claw hammer or brick hammer). Debris and dust are brushed from the joints and the joints are gently hosed clean. When surface moisture has evaporated, the joints are packed tightly with tuckpointing mortar in three successive layers and tooled with a brick jointer to match the original profile.

Tuckpointing mortar is made with carefully measured ratios of cement, lime and sand. For a full explanation of tuckpointing, contact the Brick Institute of America, 11490 Commerce Park Dr., Reston, VA 20191. Ask for a copy of "Brick Technical Note 7F, Moisture Resistance of Brick Masonry, Maintenance." Include $1 with your request to cover postage and handling.


Illustrations by George Retseck
Home Improvement. Popular Mechanics.
Retrieved 23 November 2002

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