Tuckpointing a fireplace?


Old 12-28-99, 03:13 PM
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I have a fireplace that was sandblasted to remove paint before I purchased my home. The mortar has been removed about 1/4" deep around all the bricks. I need to tuckpoint, but I know nothing about tuckpointing. Can anyone recommend a mortar mix I should use? Has anyone used tube mortar mixes, similiar to caulk tubes? Are there specialized trowels to fit into the small gaps between the bricks?

All advice is welcome
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Old 12-29-99, 12:40 AM
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Are you sure you need to repoint? If all of the joints are about the same depth and not the result of sand blasting, they are raked joints. On the other hand, concave joints offer better protection from the elements.

If you want to repoint, wait until warmer weather (+50 degrees or higher for three days). If you do so now, the mortar will shrink crack and may crumble from freezing.
The information below may help.

Mortar for chimney brick work (the most common - by volume)
One part Portland Cement - Type I
4 1/2 parts dry loose Masonry Sand
1/4 to 1/2 parts Hydrated Lime

Minimum mixing time: 3 minutes.
Retempering: the still plastic material within the mix container only.

Sacked ready mixed mortar mix will do.

Joint spacing or margin trowels exist (hardware, home centers, masonry suppliers).
They range from 1/4" to about 3/4" wide. They are useful for compacting mortar against the existing mortar. Grout bags exist (same places). They look like a large cake decorating bag and are useful for filling joints quickly. For narrow joints one of the larger flattened stain steel cake decorating tips in combination with a grout bag works well. Scraping mortar from a pointing trowel with a joint margin trowel works also.

Otherwise a small ribbon of mortar is cut and picked from a hawk with one of the back edges of a pointing trowel, and the mortar is forced into the joint with a sweeping motion. Vertical joints are first, then horizontals. Misting with water prior to pointing helps to reduce plactic shrinkage. After joints are filled and the mortar sets a little the joints should be struck smooth with a jointer.

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