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How to Tuckpoint Mortar Joints

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How to Tuckpoint Mortar Joints - Introduction, Difficulty Level and Needed Tools
Bricklayer holding trowel, building wall, close-up of hands
Hisham Ibrahim/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Introduction
Fortunately the need to repair a mortar joint is more common than having to replace a brick. The mortar joint plays a significant role in the structure and structural integrity of the wall. It holds the bricks together, it bears the compressive weight of the wall just as the bricks, and it keeps water out of the wall. It is also the weak link in the brick wall system because if water is allowed to get past the mortar and into the wall, brick failure may occur such as cracking or popping (spalling).

The process of repairing a mortar joint is called tuckpointing. This term is derived because you are tucking mortar into the damaged mortar joint with the point of a trowel called a "pointing trowel" (original isn't it?). This repair isn't too difficult but takes a little patience and finesse. Often one of the biggest challenges with this repair is getting the repaired mortar joint to blend in with the surrounding mortar. Let's see how this repair is performed:

  • Difficulty Level
  • Average
  • Needed Tools and Materials
  • Cold Chisel
  • Heavy Hammer
  • Stiff Bristled Brush
  • Mortar Hawk (or overturned brick trowel or flat 8"x12" plywood with a 6" long 2x2 fastened perpendicular to its underside as a gripping handle)
  • Joint Strike
  • Mortar Mix and Pigment (if needed to match existing mortar)
  • Eye Protection
  • Leather Work Gloves

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Related Video
Repair Brick Wall Mortar
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