As chimney masonry specialists, we at New Buck Chimney Services are often asked to explain some of the terms we use in our work. Tuckpointing always comes up in our customers’ questions. Used to repair old or damaged mortar, the term tuckpointing can also be used interchangeably with the masonry terms, pointing and repointing. However, confusion can occur as these three terms originally meant three different things. We would like to give you a brief Tuckpointing 101 tutorial to explain more about this masonry restoration procedure.

When done properly, tuckpointing can provide you with solid, durable mortar joints that can last you for years.

When done properly, tuckpointing can provide you with solid, durable mortar joints that can last you for years.

What did tuckpointing originally mean?

When this masonry skill was developed in England in the late 18th century, tuckpointing referred to mixing two contrasting colors of mortar, using one color to match the bricks, to give an impression of fine joints being made. Used to create an inexpensive look using cheap bricks, tuckpointing completely differed from pointing and repointing. Those two procedures were used in masonry repair work, and tuckpointing was used in building construction.

How has the definition of tuckpointing changed?

While the original tuckpointing skill is still used today, most people define it the same as both pointing and repointing. Pointing refers to correcting defects or finishing off joints in newly built masonry, and the definition of repointing is placing wet mortar in damaged joints when repairing old masonry.

When do I need to have tuckpointing work done on my masonry chimney?

Water, your masonry chimney’s top enemy, damages mortar by erosion, salt deposits, and acid rain exposure. The masonry experts at New Buck Chimney Services can apply a water-resistant mortar to prevent water penetration as well as a non-water soluble, acid-resistant refractory mortar to combat the effects of acid rain exposure. If your house has been through an earthquake, the settling and shifting can cause the mortar to crack and need replacing. If you own an older home, age can deteriorate the bricks and mortar of your chimney, especially if it has not been properly maintained.

What special tools are used in the tuckpointing process?

A proper tuckpointing job requires the right tools, and there are many different types of tuckpointing tools from which to choose. All tuckpointing tools are made from a hardened, quality tool steel, have a sharp pointed front with a flat base or a beaded or grooved base, and have wooden handles. Widths vary between one mm and fourteen mm, and lengths run most commonly between 75 mm and 125 mm. The choice of tuckpointing tool depends on the specific job and the mason’s personal preference.

What happens in a tuckpointing job from New Buck Chimney Services?

We begin with removing an even amount of the old mortar, followed, then, by the mixing of the new mortar. A very important part of an excellent tuckpointing job is ensuring the color, finish, and texture of the new mortar matches the existing mortar. We then apply the mixed mortar to the joints in layers, with the number of layers depending directly on how much damage has been done.

If you want to know more about tuckpointing, contact New Buck Chimney Services. We will be happy to tell you more about this masonry repair technique.