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What Is Tuckpointing?
Tuckpointing (sometimes referred to as pointing or repointing) is the process of removing old, inferior, or damaged mortar and replacing it with new mortar. Tuckpointing may be needed as a result of environmental damage, age, or improper maintenance and can help restore the structural stability of your fireplace and chimney system. It also helps to protect the bricks in the masonry from further water damage. When done properly, tuckpointing can provide you with solid, durable mortar joints that can last you for years.
When Is Tuckpointing Necessary?
The mortar of masonry may need to be replaced for several reasons, including the following:
- Water damage – Water is one of the most damaging elements and can cause significant deterioration to the brick and mortar of your masonry. If the mortar in your joints is not designed to repel water and withstand exposure, water can seep into the joints, causing cracking and crumbling of the mortar and brick. Once cracks develop in the mortar, they open up avenues for water to penetrate deeper into the mortar and bricks, causing internal decay and compromising the integrity of the entire structure. A quality mortar will prevent this decay from happening, when properly tooled by a professional mason.
- Acid damage – Rain water is not as pure as we’d like to believe and can sometimes contain relatively high levels of acid. Many mortars are not prepared to thrive under these conditions and can quickly crumble from exposure to acid rain. When having your tuckpointing done, a skilled mason should apply an acid-resistant, non-water-soluble refractory mortar to the joints. This will prevent you from having this type of deterioration in the future.
- Settling, Shifting, and Earthquakes – Sometimes, cracks in mortar are a result of the shifting and settling of the home that naturally happens over time. If you notice these cracks earlier on, they can be addressed before causing any real structural damage. Another possible cause of cracks in the mortar of masonry is the shifting of the home during an earthquake. If your home has experienced an earthquake, it is important that you have it inspected for possible damage to the masonry and other parts of the fireplace and chimney system.
- Age – Mortar and brick can naturally deteriorate with age, especially if not properly maintained. Proper maintenance is important because it can help you locate mortar damage before it becomes a serious issue.
How Is Tuckpointing Done?
Before the new mortar (which is carefully selected and mixed) can be put into the masonry, a consistent and even amount of the old mortar must be removed. New Buck Chimney Services will decide which types of tools will be best for your particular brick and mortar. Although there are a variety of tools that can get the job done, certain tools are better than others, depending on the masonry (i.e. the age of the building).
Once the old mortar is removed, the new mortar is mixed and applied to the joints. Several layers may be required, depending on the amount of damage to the mortar joints. It is important that you hire a professional to do your tuckpoint work to ensure that the mortar matches the existing mortar in texture, color, and finish.
At New Buck Chimney Services, we guarantee a clean, smooth, long-lasting mortar surface with every tuckpointing job we do!
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Thanks for all the information Kevin! I’ll be in touch for a new fireplace liner probably next spring.
~ Molly A.