When the mortar joints between the bricks in your home begin aging, they crumble and crack. You may have considered spending a small fortune on brick repair solutions only to find they cost a small fortune.
If you don’t have the money to have your local bricklayer or pointing team carry out brick repairs for you, don’t worry. Repointing your brick walls is something you can do by yourself.
It takes a little time and effort but overall, it’s not too difficult. Here’s our step-by-step guide.
Brick repair step 1: Remove the mortar joints
The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the old, cracked and crumbling mortar joints. If your mortar happens to be lime mortar, this will be very easy to do. You can remove the joints by using a large hammer and chisel or even a mortar rake.
Whatever tool you use, make sure you clean the mortar joints to a depth of at least 15 mm, preferably 20 mm. After cleaning the joints out, brush the wall down and then hose it to remove any leftover loose debris and dust.
Brick repair step 2: Make your mortar mix
To replace the cracked, crumbly mortar joints, you’ll need to create a brand new mortar mix. Make sure you create enough mortar mix to fill in all the mortar joints on your brick wall.
We highly recommend creating a mix made of —
1 part cement
1 part hydrated lime
6 parts brickies sand
The reason we use brickies sand as opposed to normal sand is because it has a higher clay content. This makes it sticker and much more workable when mixed with cement than normal sand.
Brick repair step 3: Choose your point and begin repointing
Before you begin repointing your wall, you need to decide on the finish you want.
You may want a simple, traditional finish. Or you may want to create a flush joint point, round key point or a recess point. Mortar joints on older buildings will usually have weather struck points.
Whatever point you choose, make sure you wet your wall again before you begin pointing. This will help your new mortar mix adhere inside the joints.
To carry out brick repair, you’re going to need a trowel to put your mortar mix on while you work. You’ll also need a pointing key to push the mortar inside the joints. If you really want to speed up the process, you can buy or hire a mortar gun.
No matter which method you use, make sure you push the mortar mix all the way into the back of the joints with your key. Apply pressure to the wet mortar mix to make sure it’s nice and tight and to push out any air gaps.
Then strike the point with your pointing key in the style of your choice.
Afterwards, brush the wall down to remove any excess bits of wet mortar mix sitting on the brick face.
Leave it to dry for 24 hours
When you’ve struck the points you want, leave everything to dry for at least 24 hours. When your walls have dried, you may find mortar smears all over the brick face. This needs to be washed down for a beautiful finish.
Mix a touch of hydrochloric acid into water. Make sure you wear a dust mask, gloves and goggles when you do this. A lot of fumes will rise off the acid when you’re pouring.
Spray the acidic water on the walls, and let the acid set into the wall for about 10 minutes.
Then, using a high pressure hose, jet wash the wall with water and brush the mortar smears off.
And there you have it — a brand new, gorgeous brick wall!
Did you find structural problems during your brick repair process?