The process of tuckpointing involves the use of two different colours of mortar to fill in mortar joints of a brick wall or chimney. The first colour used for tuckpointing is made to match the actual bricks, so that it naturally blends in and creates a smooth appearance. The second colour, which is different, is used for the actual appearance of mortar joints. By combining the contrasting colours between the brick mortars, it creates the illusion of natural mortar joints.
In the olden days, it was created in order to mimic the appearance of rubbed brick that is a more expensive building material. In a way, homeowners wanted a less costly way to make it and so, they found a way to copy the appearance of high-end rubbed bricks. They resorted to tuckpointing to achieve the almost natural appearance of brick without spending as much money.
The Process of Tuckpointing
It is important to know more about the tuckpointing process to be aware of what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
It starts by removing the existing mortar joints to roughly one inch of depth. Generally, a professional mason uses an angle grinder to remove the mortar, which is quite a messy job. However, you can also rely on the traditional hammer and chisel, but this method proves to be more time-consuming.
Then, a masonry brush or a high-pressure nozzle is used to remove dust and debris from the ground mortar joints.
A mix of new mortar is prepared to match the existing brick colour. This involves the blending of mortar pigment which might take a while to get that perfect colour match. It is wise to take note of the ratio so that you can use it in the next tuckpointing project.
The experts will then fill the joints with the new mortar. The horizontal joints are worked first and followed by the vertical joints.
Once the application of the wet mortar to the joints is done, the professionals will smoothen it out to resemble a flat surface or a slight curve.
When the new mortar starts to harden, but is still semi-pliable, it is wise to use a straightedge and a tuckpointing tool to make straight lines in the centres of the newly filled joints. In doing so, try making the lines as straight as possible
Finally, you should apply lime putty to the scraped lines to create contrasting fillets, and then remove the excess. An expert mason typically uses a straightedge and a small knife for this part to form more uniform lines in the centres of the wide mortar joints.
Benefits of Tuckpointing
Tuckpointing is a really crucial process in preserving the life of brick wall or chimney. If you are yet undecided, here are some of the benefits of tuckpointing on chimneys:
Putting the corrosion of the mortar joints to a stop.
Restoring the structural stability of the brick wall or chimney.
Preserving the historical character of the building or house.