Repointing Bricks and Mortar Joints Repointing Bricks and Mortar Joints

What You'll Need
Dust brush
Sand, lime, cement and water
New bricks (if any of the old ones are damaged)
Ceramic glue
Masking tape

Repointing bricks involves renewing the mortar joints. The mortar joints are prone to decay and may have an unappealing appearance after a few years of use. The repointing job can give a new look to the exterior or interior of your home. It’s essential to fill the joints with matching mortar.


Step 1 – Prepare the Joints

When preparing the joints, you will have to remove the loose and damaged mortar to ensure that the new mortar will get a good bond and hold for several years. Use a small head chisel and a hard brush to remove the damaged mortar. Don’t use power tools, as you may end up damaging the edges of the bricks. If you find any bricks that need to be replaced, you will have to get new pieces. Loose bricks can be fastened using ceramic glue.

Step 2 – Prepare the Mortar

The mortar you use for the repointing job will have to have similar properties, color and texture as the original one. For this reason, you may have to get a sample of the existing mortar and consult a sales assistant in a hardware store to get the mortar that is the closest to the original used in your building. The mortar you buy form a hardware store can be mixed easily, following the instructions on the package.

You can also prepare the mortar yourself, but you will need to get sand, lime and cement. The exact concentration of each of these ingredients may vary according to the type of mortar you have in your building, so you may want to consult a specialist to get the right hardness and texture. The mortar can be prepared in a plastic bucket or a wheelbarrow and you will have to mix slowly until reaching the right consistency. The consistency is right when the mortar will stick to the trowel when it is held upside down.

Step 3 – Fill the Joints

Apply some water on the bricks and the joints, which will ensure that the mortar will have an enhanced adhesion. To prevent getting mortar on the bricks, you may use masking tape to cover these while you fill the joints.

With a trowel, you can fill the joints with mortar. Ideally, you should apply thin layers and allow at least 2 hours to dry before applying the next layer. Apply as many layers as needed, until the mortar is at the level of the surface of the bricks.

If you apply several layers, you will reduce shrinkage and prevent the accumulation of air pockets in the mortar.

Step 4 – Finish the Joints

Smooth out the outer layer of the mortar using a slicker. Make sure the tool you use can fit inside the joints and perform the finishing before the outer layer of the mortar is dry. The slicker will compress the mortar and create a thin layer of film, which will hold for up to 1 year.

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