Around 15% of the overall surface area of brickwork or stone work is mortar and so repointing a wall is worth doing.
Mortar is the main defence against water which is why in older properties where the mortar is missing or inadequate, there can be issues with leaks and damp.
When should you repoint a wall?
If you can see the open joints around the mortar bed, it is time to repoint the wall. It is can be a straightforward job, with materials and tools being inexpensive.
However, it is a time-consuming job, as well as presenting a few difficulties such as getting the correct mortar mix.
You will need:
- Cement mixer
- Pointing trowel
- Mortar board
- Soft brush
- Wire brush
- White cement
- Plastic sheeting (repointing can be a messy job so protect the ground with plastic sheeting)
How to point a wall – a step-by-step guide
Step 1 – Remove the old pointing
The first step in understanding how to repoint a brick wall is to remove the old mortar carefully, using a hammer and chisel.
Take extra care around windows and doors too, as the disturbing and removing old mortar can affect the way they fit and open. Also, with some outdoor lights fixed to exterior walls, cabling often runs inside of the pointing, so be aware of what you could disturb as you chisel away loose material.
Step 2 – Brush away dust and debris
When the old mortar has been removed, the edge of the stone or brickwork will be prominent. The surface of the wall will also be dusty and so brush this out, using the soft brush, before repointing begins.
Step 3 – Mix the mortar
Possibly one of the biggest mistakes DIYers make when repointing a wall, is not mixing enough mortar in one batch to compete the job. This is because it will be difficult to colour-match each separate batch and this can look odd on the wall.
Understanding how to repoint a stone wall effectively means understanding how to create the correct mix of mortar too. You want a colour and a texture that looks similar as the mortar being replaced.
Step 4 – Start repointing
Leaning how to repoint stone or brick work takes time and patience. Start from the top of the wall and work downwards.
When the wall has no damp proofing (like a garden wall), the lower half of the wall will be damp and so should be repointed first – this is because it will take longer for the mortar to dry out.
Push the mortar in firmly, working from right to left. Once two or three horizontal sections or channels have been filled, fill the vertical sections in-between. You don’t need to worry about neat edges, as this is brushed away when the mortar is dry.
Step 5 – Remove excess mortar with a wire brush
You will complete this step when the mortar has dried. How long it takes to dry will depend on the weather and outside temperature but in most cases, it will be a few hours. Use the wire brush to brush away the excess mortar. This brush will also help to clean the stone or brick surface, leaving a pleasant looking wall.
A newly repointed wall will now be able to repel rainwater and the worst of the weather for years to come.
How much does repointing cost?
Repointing a wall is a straightforward task in most cases. Costs vary depending on how much preparation work is needed and the size of the wall to be repointed.
If you are unsure about how to repoint brickwork, why not call a local builder?