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Why Repointing Masonry is Key to a Healthy Structure

Why Repointing?

Repointing is the act of renewing mortar joints in a masonry building. This is most common if you want to spiff up the look of your building or there are deteriorating joints that are causing concerning damage. Weather and father time may cause mortar joints to decay resulting in voids between the brick. These voids can be detrimental to your building because if water enters these voids and freezes, or if salt builds up this can cause significant damage to one’s structure. In order to stop the structure from deteriorating any further, proper repointing can fix these problems by sealing up voids so existing damage is resolved, and no further damage can take place.

 

Repointing Brick Masonry, left side needs work, right side is done

Left side has been neglected and is damaged. Right side has had repointing task done recently.

 

Repointing Process

A strong and accurate repointing process requires extreme attention to detail. Matching the existing mortar is very important before starting this process, because if you mismatch mortar then your structure could have different strengths throughout the building leading to further deterioration of joints. Color is not the only priority when matching mortar, there are other characteristics such as texture, hardness and vapor permeability. The best mortar for your property is softer than your bricks or stone.

Old mortar removal between joints needs to be done carefully and accurately to avoid damaging the surrounding masonry units. On buildings with softer mortar joints, removing the mortar by hand or a grinder is usually more common to prevent damage of surrounding brick. Hard mortar can be removed carefully by a grinder or a power masonry blade. After mortar is removed and the new mortar is mixed up then the repointing begins.

Evenly allocate the mortar between all joints closing the voids in the building. Furthermore, depending on your environment and what you’re hoping to get out of this process you can also waterproof the new repairs after to make sure the job is watertight and ready to take on extreme weather.

 

Maintenance/ Inspections

A proven preservation strategy includes a combination of thorough recurring inspections, well-designed repairs and implementation of practices. A visual inspection of a masonry building every year or so to check for signs of deterioration is essential. This will inform you of what is happening with your building and give you the ability to make crucial repairs before they can negatively affect your structure. Also, keeping a list of your structure’s mortar type and brick type for future reference will leave a perfectly matching repair job and make for a smooth repair process.

 

Conclusion

Repointing can be crucial to your building’s integrity as well as aesthetically pleasing to one’s eye. Without thoroughly inspecting your structure every year you will never know when damage has occurred to your joints. Therefore, knowing your building is crucial and can help you preserve your structure in the long run. Once you’re aware of damage to your building and you need to start making repairs give Hascall & Hall a call. We will send one of our experts out to meet you; they will help inform you about the best route to take when repairing your structure, and once a plan is set we will send our team to leave you with a high quality repointing job and a healthy building.