Four Tuckpointing Mistakes Unwitting Homeowners Approve

If you own an older brick house, you may notice that the mortar between the bricks wears away over time. Actually, the process is so slow that you probably won't notice it happening. However, if you compare your current home to pictures of it when it was originally built, you will notice a difference—and you might notice chunks of mortar missing and wonder when it happened. Luckily, it is possible to replace worn mortar without tearing down your walls and relaying the whole thing. This process is called tuckpointing or repointing. However, it can be a time consuming and expensive process, especially if you make one of the following mistakes. 

Unnecessary Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is an important part of maintenance, but it is not something that needs to be done every few years. In fact, in a sturdy building, mortar can last several decades before it needs tuckpointing, assuming a normal amount of wear and tear. Of course, if your neighborhood gets flooded or some other force or pressure loosens the mortar between your bricks, you may need to look into tuckpointing sooner. 

Just because your mortar is starting to look a little worn down by weather does not mean it is time to replace it. However, if you can see cracks of light through your mortar or if water is condensing on the inside of your home, it may be time to bolster your current mortar. 

Using The Wrong Mortar 

One of the great things about updating your home is that you get to use materials that may not have been available when your home was built and make it a stronger, more weatherproof structure. While this might be the case for some home upgrades, it is not how you should approach tuckpointing. 

One of the most important aspects of tuckpointing is matching your new mortar with the original mortar that was used. Older types of mortar tended to be more breathable, which allowed water to pass through the mortar as opposed to the bricks. If you replace a breathable mortar with a newer, harder mortar, it is likely that water will be forced through your bricks and you will have issues with salt and condensation. 

Before beginning the process of tuckpointing, you should have your mortar tested and create a new batch of mortar with similar contents or properties. The only time this is not true is if you are already experiencing condensation issues in your home and your builder believes a different type of mortar will help fix these problems. 

Even Tuckpointing 

Mortar does not wear evenly around your home. The windward wall tends to wear down faster than other walls, and even within the same wall, the rates of wear are not consistent. It is highly unlikely that you will need tuckpointing on your entire home unless it is a very old, crumbling house. It is possible for contractors to only replace the mortar in worn or damaged spots, and it is suggested that they leave in as much of the original, undamaged mortar as possible. 

Tuckpointing Too Quickly 

Tuckpointing is a process that takes more time than you might think. Depending on the size of your project, it can take multiple days to simply prepare the areas that need tuckpointing and clean out the old mortar. Then, the new mortar should be added in layers not more than a centimeter thick, and you should wait 24 hours before adding a new layer. This means that tuckpointing can take a week or more. 

As a responsible homeowner, it is your job to research your options and know what to ask potential contractors when it comes to maintaining your home. Make sure you do not undertake or approve one of these four basic tuckpointing mistakes without further information from your contractor. For more information, visit a specialist's website, such as