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Guide to Re-pointing Masonry
All masonry after time and erosion will tend to break down and start to cause damage to the mortar pointed joints. Elements such as freezing and thawing in cold weather will also cause the mortar joints to deteriorate. Expansion and contraction from extreme thermal changes can exceed the capabilities of the mortar and cause the joints to crack.

Mortar provides a number of essential qualities to masonry: the strength that holds the brick, stone, or block together; a cushion between individual masonry units; and a water-resistant barrier that prevents moisture and other damaging agents from entering the structure.

B 123 repointing

Extreme stress on a structure can also cause mortar to crack and eventually fall out this exposes the building to dampness through the walls. At this stage a course of action is required either to repair or replace any deteriorated mortar between the courses of masonry.

Inspection

You may be required to carry out a total examination looking out for any signs of deterioration: cracks in the mortar, loose or missing mortar, weak or crumbly mortar, gaps between the mortar and the masonry, loose bricks, water leakage on the interior of the wall, or damp spots on the surface of the masonry. These are all warning signs that if ignored can result in further degeneration of the mortar joints, and the overall fabric of a structure will be damaged. Removal methods

Rake out all the old pointing with a thin cold chisel. This method is best used where care must be taken to prevent damaging surrounding brick-work, the use of hand tools will cause the least amount of damage to adjacent areas. Hand-held chisels can be chosen to match the width of the joint and ensure that the impact is directed against the mortar and not the masonry. Many sizes and types of chisels are available.

The cold chisel is placed into the joint and struck with a hammer to disintegrate the mortar. A second tool, a joint rake, may then used to clean out the resulting cavity. This method allows precise depths of mortar to be removed. It is the slow method, but will result in the least amount of damaged brickwork. Re-pointing the Mortar Joint

Once the mortar has been mixed, the joint should be filled as follows. A suitable length of joint should be chosen to repair at one time. The joints should not be overly filled with mortar. Overfilling will leave an appearance of an extra-wide joint that will look uneven due to the geometry of the masonry. Shaping the Mortar Joint

Shaping the correct mortar joint should only be done when the mortar has just set or tested thumb-print hard. The shaping will play an important part in the overall look of the masonry re-pointing work. To keep the look of the building uniform, all re-pointed mortar should be shaped in the same manner as the original work. Using the original shaping techniques will make the mortar joint appear similar to surrounding joints that may not have required re-pointing?
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