DIY Wall Pointing
Why Re Point Walls
The mortar joint between your external bricks over time can become weak and powdery and can fall out leaving gaps between the bricks this can cause damp and water to enter the property and can cause structural issues so its a job that cant be over looked.
This is a job that anyone can complete with the right know how and some basic safety precautions, before you do anything identify what areas need re pointing but to be honest you would be better to re pint the whole property so you can get a uniform finish, your probably not going to reach all the walls therefore you will need to erect scaffolding, now there are two ways you can do this, get a scaffold company to professionally erect the scaffolding in the areas you require or you can hire a scaffold tower that you can move around yourself they are cheap to hire and very easy to erect and are safe so its up to you which way you go buy i would try the scaffold tower first as its your cheapest option.
There are a few ways to prep the walls so starting from the top rake out the joints between the bricks your looking for a depth of approximately double the width of the joint for example if the joint width between your bricks is 15mm then rack out to a depth of approximately 30mm, to rake out the joint depends on how hard the old mortar is if its very soft you can get away with a hammer and chisel this option is very slow going but for the DIYer may be the way to go, one other advantage with a chisel is you have a better chance of not damaging the brick face, another-option is to use a small angle grinder with a wide diamond blade (6mm wide would be ok) the advantage is speed its very quick and easy, the disadvantages you need to ware a dust mask and safety goggles or my choice a safety visor all can be bought from your local DIY store, also you have to be very careful with an angle grinders not to catch the face of the brick and damage it (practise first at low level and see how you get on) I use two types of angle grinder mains powered or battery powered the choice is yours buy both will do the job.
We can now look at the mortar mix your going to need and this is straight forward, the secret is to get the same consistency for every mix you do for example use the same colour sand and the same brand and the same goes for the cement use the same brand, the quantities are 1 part cement to 4 part sand you can mix this buy had or hire a cement mixer to make life easier they are quite cheap to hire but the same quantities are used what ever method you use to mix it. Always mix the sand and the cement dry first then slowly add the water and plasticiser and start mixing,The consistency your after is more on the dryer side than wet for example I always load my trowel with mortar and tilt to the side you don’t want the mortar to all slide off.
Plasticiser is added to your mortar mix this makes the mortar smooth and stops it cracking when it dries out. follow the quantity instructions on the bottle.
What Tools Do I Need
A brick laying trowel and a flat pointing tool these are all available for your local DIY store and are very cheap and will last you years oh and don’t forget the gloves cement plays havoc on your hands, try and keep your tools as clean as you can during the pointing process this will make the mortar easier to slide off the trowel, one you have done a few joints to will get the hang of it very quickly, don,t forget your radio this job does get mind numbing after a while and i’m not joking.
Lets Make A Start
You have raked out the joints and brushed out and loose mortar next you need to dampen the raked out joint, i use a spray bottle to make life easier, start by loading the pointing tool with mortar and push it into the raked out joint work away from your self it makes the job easier, make sure you completely fill the joint then run the pointing tool down the joint to smooth it out, don’t worry too much about getting mortar on the brick face after a couple of hours you can brush it off and you should start to see a nice result and get an idea how its going to look. depending on the area your in or the finish you require you can finish the pointing flush with the brick face or brush it back slightly, what ever finish you go with keep it the same for the whole property.
It looks daunting at first, once you get more practice you will find it very easy, one word of warning its a very boring job, having said that you do get a sense of achievement when completed because re pointing your property does transform the over all look, just make sure you always mix the mortar the same or use a pre mixed mortar that you just add water to this will keep the colour the same, good luck just think how much cash you are going to save ……..