A fairly rare and particular skill in construction and restoration, tuckpointing refers to the art of using mortar of two contrasting colors for the purposes of repairing and maintaining the longevity and the attractiveness of brick masonry. This tradesman’s skill goes as far back as the early 18th century, when tuckpointing was developed in England. When expertly applied, tuckpointing gives the impression that very fine joints have been made in the brickwork.
The term “tuckpointing” is derived from the process of tucking mortar into the damaged parts of the mortar joint using the point of a trowel (called a pointing trowel). In some areas, the term may be used interchangeably with “pointing” and “repointing”. But sometimes, tuckpointing may mean simply placing new mortar in the joints without first removing the damaged mortar.
Why is tuckpointing necessary?
Bricks may last for more than a hundred years. Mortar joints, on the other hand, only last between 25 to 35, depending on exposure and the quality of materials used. Thus, periodic checkup and repairs on mortar joints are required over the lifespan of any brick masonry.
Weathering, acid rain, seismic movements, settling after construction, freeze and thaw cycles, and just plain dust and grime can all erode the strength and beauty of brickwork. Cracked and deteriorated mortar joints allow rain and moisture to seep into the brickwork. And tuckpointing is the best way to ensure water resistance.
How does it work?
In tuckpointing, the original mortar joints are always preferable over replacement mortar. Before any tuckpointing is carried out, it is important to carefully examine which parts of the mortar to replace and which to retain. To do this, old brickwork must first be cleaned with moderate pressure water wash. When the areas to be repaired have been pinpointed, the old mortar is removed. Tuckpointing then proceeds carefully so as not to cause damage to the bricks.
For more answers to your questions regarding tuckpointing, contact Freedom Restoration at 410-451-7110 or click here.