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  • Replacing Crumbling Mortar in Brickwork

    If a mortar mix is old and weathered, or has been applied incorrectly in the first place, perhaps using too little water, it can crumble and ultimately affect the stability of the wall. you can check the mortar between your bricks to see if it is dusty or cracking, then try and stick a screwdriver into the mortar, if it holds, you need to repoint the brickwork. Repointing is not too difficult for a DIY enthusiast, but it is a labour intensive process.

    Wind, rain and frost all damage the mortar so re-pointing the mortar is crucial to stop the wall wearing away and to prevent water ingress into the building. If you feel the job is too difficult or time consuming, simply use the quick online form to collect 3 quotes from local builders in your area. To do the job yourself you will need safety goggles, dust sheets or old newspaper, chisel and/or large screwdriver, hammer, cement, sand, wooden board for mixing cement, putty knife, trowel, plus a vacuum cleaner or stiff brush.

    For those who have the time and inclination to carry out repointing as a DIY job, the first thing you need to do is cover your work area with a dust sheet or old newspaper, then, wearing safety goggles, knock or scrape out any crumbling mortar using a chisel and hammer. Then, if possible, vacuum the hole to remove any loose or crumbling mortar and dust. Next, make up the mortar mixture, remembering that cement mortar comes in different colours, so mix a little up and first on a piece of scrap paper and let it dry to check the colour is in keeping with the rest of the buildings brickwork.

    This takes extra time but you then avoid having an area of mortar with obvious repairs. It is best to complete an area of around 1 square metre at a time, doing the verticals first, then the horizontals to keep track of where you’re up to. begin by spraying a bit of water into the hole to dampen it, then apply mortar mixture into the hole using a trowel to make sure you've filled the hole up with mortar.

    When the mortar is still moist but not completely dry, flatten the surface with a putty knife and smooth with fine grade sandpaper when fully dried. Note that if you have a pre-1930s house with a sandy kind of mortar, it could be lime mortar. You must avoid using a cement mortar on top of lime mortar as this can do more harm than good. If in doubt consult a bricklayer or builder before carrying out any repointing work.


    Last updated by MyJobQuote on 1st March 2016.

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