Tuckpointing is a way of using two contrasting colours of mortar in the mortar joints of brickwork, one colour matching the bricks themselves, to give an artificial impression that very fine joints have been made. In some parts of the United States and Canada, some confusion may result as the term is often used interchangeably with “pointing” (to correct defects or finish off joints in newly laid masonry) and “repointing” (to place wet mortar into cut or raked joints to repair weathered joints in old masonry).
The tools themselves are made from a hardened quality tool steel and are shaped with a sharp-pointed front with a flat base. They have a wooden handle which is attached with a brass ferrule.
When to Tuckpoint?
When you suspect your mortar is deteriorating and may need to be repaired, there is a simple test you can do before you call a masonry contractor. Take a key and rub it across the mortar joint and see if it scratches up powdered material, if it does, then you know you’re a candidate for tuckpointing. If the masonry is still good, a key should not be able to scratch it at all. Yes, it is that simple. Or you can call a masonry contractor and he can evaluate the situation for you.
When mortar is in a weakened condition, it causes moisture to break down the stone or brick masonry wall and possibly cause moisture problems behind it. When tuckpointing is done properly, it provides a relatively waterproof mortar joint that extends the life of the wall.
How do I know when my brick or stone building requires pointing / tuckpointing?
The Kansas City area is in one of the worst freeze/thaw cycle zones in the country. During winter, temperatures often fluctuate above and below the freezing point. This allows water to enter problem spots and cracks and re-freeze, causing expansion and breakage problems for our brick and stone structures if they are not maintained.
If there are cracks, missing bricks, and or crumbling masonry/mortar joints, these conditions do require maintenance which includes pointing. Pointing ( tuckpointing ) is the process of replacing the mortar to a correct depth in order to structurally maintain and protect a masonry wall. Re-pointing is a maintenance necessity in masonry walls as mortar is not expected to last as long as the brick which it supports.
1. Mortar that is cracked, missing or deteriorating.
2. Mortar that has been pointed (tuckpointed) improperly causing adverse effects.
Masonry that is experiencing mortar failure is subject to the adverse effects of direct water penetration and a weakened wall. The obvious weakening that occurs is from a lack of material (mortar) between layers of masonry which derives its primary stability from the weight of the material above it.
The freeze thaw cycle causes rapid expansion and contraction within a wall which can cause visible problems such as spalling (figure 2) and in extreme cases cause complete disintegration of the masonry unit.
Modern mortars are much too hard and water resistant for re-pointing old masonry walls. When these mortars are used for historic masonry walls, the long term effects can be disastrous. Not only do modern mortars create a potential detraction from the historic character of the wall, they can actually cause the masonry units to fail. Mortar should be a softer material than the masonry around it. If there are stresses on the wall from water or building movement, the mortar is considered a “sacrificial” material. Meaning, if there is excessive movement in the wall, the mortar should fail first hopefully cushioning the masonry units around it. It’s certainly preferable to re-point mortar than to replace broken masonry units.
- List of stone
- Artificial stone
- Cast stone
- Decorative stones
- Dimension stone
Kansas City Brick & Masonry Repair / Kansas City Masonry Contractor services long time has been a leading masonry contractor in Kansas City, Mo. Please see our masonry jobs done in Kansas City area. UMKC Masonry / Kansas City Masonry services is not only a masonry company – In UMKC Masonry / Kansas City Masonry Contractor, we do following services in Kansas City concrete stairs, concrete sidewalks as concrete contractor we can brag hundreds of concrete jobs done in Kansas City. We have done hundreds of masonry and tuckpointing jobs in Kansas City. To see how we do masonry and tuckpointing jobs in Kansas City, see our gallery of masonry jobs in Kansas City and our Kansas City tuckpointing jobs.
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