The durability and longevity of masonry is greater than that of any other building material, as evident in the thousands of old brick buildings throughout our neighborhoods and towns. When designed and constructed properly, masonry can last hundreds of years or more. To maximize the life of a masonry building, the mortar joints will need periodic maintenance during the building’s life cycle. As with any building product continuously exposed to the elements, the joints are susceptible to weathering, acids in the rain, seismic movement, building settlement, freezing and thawing cycles, impact damage, and dirt. When visual inspection reveals that the mortar joints are cracking or otherwise deteriorated, restoration is necessary to help maintain the integrity of the wall system. Commonly known as tuckpointing, “repointing” is the preferred term used to describe the process of cutting out deteriorated mortar joints in a masonry wall and filling in those joints with fresh mortar.
The goals of a repointing job should be to remove and replace mortar in a way that will maintain the structural properties of the wall, improve the appearance of the wall, and form weathertight joints. To accomplish this, the architect should produce drawings and specifications that will clearly state the requirements for mortar removal, joint preparation, preparation of pointing mortar, and placing mortar in the joints. For best results, use only contractors employing trained, skilled tuckpointers….
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