The Importance of Repointing the Mortar in your Masonry Structures

Repairs and maintenance to your brick and stone mortar joints is a necessity. Exposure to weathering causes deterioration, and having a professional crew of masons come out for brick or stone pointing in Philadelphia will extend the life of your masonry, protecting your investment.

The process includes removing the deteriorated mortar from the masonry joints and installing new mortar as a replacement. When executed properly, a repointing service will prevent expensive repairs and foundation damage from arising in the future.brick

When will you need your masonry repointed?

You have gotten brick or stone installed in your home for its durability and aesthetic appeal. Though the structure will last for many years, the joints between the pieces of brick or stone are designed to keep them together, but don’t have nearly the same lifespan. Repointing is needed on chimneys, walkways, patios and siding.

You’ll be able to see telltale signs of the deterioration:

  • Cracks in the mortar
  • Gaps between the mortar and masonry
  • Loose structures
  • Damp surfaces on the masonry
  • Water infiltration on the interior walls

When these signs are seen, you can no longer ignore the inevitable. The lengthy and time-consuming process will ensure there is no further damage to the health of the structure. You should routinely examine and inspect the masonry on your home for these telltale signs, but having a professional mason inspect the property will only help you solve any problems quicker.

The Repointing Process

An accurate and precise repointing requires careful attention to detail. The mortar must match that of the existing structure, and it takes much more than just getting the correct color. Other matching characteristics include the texture of the mortar, hardness, vapor permeability, tooling and additional physical properties.

The mortar will be matched to avoid further deterioration. The best mortar for your property is softer than your bricks or stone. The process begins with the removal of the loose and unwanted mortar to a depth of a half-inch at the minimum.

Your unit should be misted and sprayed with water before repointing so the water in the mortar is not absorbed. Lime mortar is the most common repointing material, and is made by heating limestone at 850 degrees to burn off the calcium dioxide. When combining with water, the lime becomes a putty-like plastic material that absorbs carbon dioxide.

Features of lime mortar include the slow setting for easy cleanup that allows the moisture and salts to pass out of the joints of the structure and not through the units where it can cause damage. When using lime mortar, your joints will retain its flexibility as it will adapt to the temperatures without cracking the units.

Make sure that when the repointing is completed, your natural appeal and beauty of the brick or stone has returned. If it’s done improperly, you’ll see a detracted appearance that could eventually result in physical damage to the entire structure. Avoid further damage and extend the life of your brick or stone with repointing and repairs to the joints.

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