Brick Mortar Repair: How to Tuckpoint Brick

What You'll Need
Pointing tool
Stiff brush

The main type of brick mortar repair you’re likely to undertake is tuckpointing brick. The mortar between bricks does crumble and need replacement over time, so you need to be able to repair the mortar to keep the brick work secure. It’s not complex work and is something you can undertake. This type of brick mortar doesn’t require and special tools.

Step 1 - Clean the Joints

You need to clean out the old mortar before you can undertake brick mortar repair and tuckpoint the brickwork. Look at the area you’re going to repair and begin by using a hammer and chisel to take out the damaged mortar. As you do this, you need to check the mortar underneath to determine whether it’s still good. If not, remove it, too.

After you’ve finished with the chisel, use a stuff brush on the mortar joints to clean out all the debris and leave the area clean for new mortar. Examine each joint after you’ve finished to make sure you’ve removed all the loose mortar and keep going until it’s all gone.

Step 2 - Mix the Mortar

You shouldn’t mix up too much mortar at a time. It dries quickly, and you don’t need a great deal for this brick mortar repair. The best way is to mix a small amount in a bucket. It needs to have a heavy consistency. Shape the mortar into a ball. After that, makes a mound of it. The consistency should be thick enough to stand without collapsing. You shouldn’t make more mortar than you can use in 30 minutes, after which it will be too dry to be effective.

Step 3 - Replace the Mortar

Take your pointing tool, which is like a thinner mortar trowel, and hold it upside down. Load some mortar onto it and scrape the mortar into the gap between bricks. The pointing trowel is small and pointed enough so you can push the mortar fully into the gap, ensuring that it’s all filled.

Add more mortar on top of the amount you’ve pushed in, then push that in too, and continue until the gap is completely filled with mortar. Be aware that where the brickwork is decorative or in unusual shapes, you might need to use a different tool to pack the mortar properly. There are many different sizes and styles of trowels available for this work.

As each joint can take time in this brick mortar repair, not mixing up too much mortar at a time is important. If you prepare too much you’ll simply end up wasting mortar. The work can be quite fiddly, so be prepared to take time and be thorough over each joint as you go along.

Step 4 - Cleaning Up

Leave the mortar to partially dry and then scrape off the excess mortar with your stuff brush. After the mortar has dried even more, wet the brush and scrub again to clean up mortar that might be on the bricks.