What is Tuckpointing?
Tuckpointing is a method used to refresh damaged mortar in masonry joints. It repairs the surface of the mortar, but that’s not all. Tuckpointing also creates the appearance of narrow, well-maintained joints. This is useful if the bricks themselves have some wear and tear and the joints are now uneven. The effect can be both subtle and highly attractive when the tuckpointing is done by an experienced hand.
How is Tuckpointing Done?
This process starts when the mason removes part of the surface of the damaged mortar. He or she will scrape or grind away that mortar to create a smooth trench deep enough for new material.
Next a batch of new mortar is mixed up. The mason may tint it to closely match the color of the existing bricks.
This mortar is applied to the brick or stone joints. It is worked into every nook and cranny and smoothed over.
A fine groove is then cut in the center of the tinted mortar. This creates a kind of ‘gutter’ that lime putty can be applied into.
Lime putty in a contrasting color, often white or cream, is applied in the center of each new mortared joint. This creates an optical illusion of a thin and tight joint surrounded by bricks. The mason will work carefully and precisely here, keeping these lines as straight as possible
Finally, excess putty is removed. The mortar is then allowed to dry and cure and the process of tuckpointing is complete.
Where Can Tuckpointing Be Used?
Tuckpointing is a popular option for restoring masonry in older or historic homes. However, it is also used with newer structures when the homeowners like the look it creates. This process can be used to repair both interior and exterior walls, chimneys, and fireplaces.
When Is Tuckpointing Used?
The bricks of your home can last a century. However, the mortar between them is more fragile. Temperature extremes and moisture are some of the biggest of premature mortar damage. Damage often starts with hairline cracks here and there. Over time, they can worsen and your mortar will begin to crumble and fall. This mortar decay is often sped up by water damage.
Water Leak Prevention and Tuckpointing
Can you can see tiny cracks in the mortar? If they’re large enough to see, they’re large enough for moisture and water vapor to seep in. Moisture can sink deep into the mortar and cause further damage. This is a particular problem during freezing weather. As time passes, tiny cracks will grow into larger ones which now leak water. This issue will continue to get worse and worse.
Tuckpointing lets homeowners catch mortar decay before it becomes a serious and expensive problem. It creates a smooth, strong surface at the joints. This surface seals out moisture and extends the life of the masonry.
Is Tuckpointing Right For You?
This is a question to take to the pros. You have a number of options for refreshing your walls’ damaged mortar. At Midtown Chimney Sweeps, our trained experts will consider your budget, timetable, the condition of your mortar, and the look that you’re going for. We’ll break down your options for you and give you our recommendation for the best fit for your home.