Brick Pointing & Lintel Question - Opinions

Old 04-12-11, 09:21 PM
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Brick Pointing & Lintel Question - Opinions

So Ive had 6 masonry contractors come by for estimates and recommendations:

One guy said i should change 4 lintels and i told him i also wanted to have the whole house re-pointed (I hate the patch spots). I've read that when the lintels rust, they expand, then of course resulting in the mortar cracking. He said he would grind down a quarter inch of the old mortar, then re-mortar and apply a sealant. (this was an old italian mason)

Three other masons (italians) came by and said to only point the spots where it is needed (last picture & various other spots not shown). They would chisel out spots and patch as necessary. They said repointing all the brick would be a waste of money. Two of them spoke about grinding the whole house before reapplying mortar.

Another guy (an indian mason) talks about changing 2 lintels and that i should repoint the whole house. He would not grind everything (because the mortar is not bad-is what he said), only the spots where i have cracks, then resurface all mortar on the house so its flush with the brick. Then apply waterproofing.

Another indian mason said that i dont have to change the lintels but also said to repoint the whole house. Only grinding the cracked areas, then applying mortar to make it flush with the brick and applying waterproofing (as the previous indian mason).

Now i've got a few questions hoping to get some good answers

If the lintel is rusted and expanded and the mortar is already fixed (above pictures), it is still a concern? Should they be replaced for fear of further expansion? Or should they just be cleaned of surface rust and primed/painted.

As for pointing, why do the Indian masons go this route. I would think its proper to grind before applying more mortar as there looks to be less than 1/4 or 1/8 inch to add the new mortar. (the house was built in 1940)

Around here in the NYC area, I've heard lots of homeowners refer to the indian masons because they do brickwork cheaper then the old school italians but i'm concerned if ther technique is correct. The price difference for grinding/non-grinding was just about doubled.

Thanks in advance for any comments
Old 04-13-11, 04:26 AM
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I don't know much about masonry so I can't give you a for sure answer on what to do. I would be wary of anyone who does the work for half the cost of everyone else. Trying to put a thin coat of mortar in this joints doesn't sound right to me either. My foundation wall received a second thin parge coat to make it look nice and it's all coming off. I would ignore the "waste of money" comments because you want everything to be ground back and repointed so it looks nice, not because it needs it.
Old 04-13-11, 05:27 AM
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We do a lot of work on houses well over 100 years old that are brick and I've never once seen a mason remove a whole lintel because of a simple morter crack.
What do they hope to gain by grinding the whole house and smearing morter over the joints you have now. In order for new morter to stay stuck it needs about 1/2" of old morter removed with a diamond wheeled grinder. Just smearing it on is going to flake off. Old morter does not like to stick to new.
I would just repoint the cracks, use a 4" wire cup brush to get the loose paint off of the lintels and prime with rusty metal primer and paint them.
You have some really wide joints and some really old poris brick so I would also go over the whole thing with a clear sealer.
Old 04-18-11, 02:39 PM
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The real damage is happening where you can't paint. When a lintel starts to fail it will continue to fail, slowly but surely.

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