How to Repair the Mortar for Exterior Brick

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How to Repair the Mortar for Exterior Brick
Repair cracks in your brick wall's mortar before problems develop. (Bricks image by Lucid_Exposure from Fotolia.com)

You can repair cracks in the mortar of exterior brick walls by patching them. You repair vertical and horizontal cracks with different materials. Horizontal cracks are caused by the building settling and can be patched with mortar. Vertical cracks, however, are caused by the expansion and contraction of the bricks when the temperature changes. Patch vertical cracks with a caulking compound that will allow the bricks to contract and expand because it doesn't harden.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Chisel with narrow blade
  • Hammer
  • Stiff brush
  • Mortar mix
  • Siliconized acrylic caulk
  • Trowel

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Instructions

    Horizontal Cracks

  1. 1

    Remove all the loose mortar with your hammer and chisel. Leave a surface of undamaged mortar. Brush away all the loose pieces of mortar with your stiff brush.

  2. 2

    Mix a small batch of mortar, following the instructions on the package. Once the mortar stiffens in about 30 minutes, you will have to throw it out and mix another small batch. Fill the holes and cracks you have cleaned out with mortar. Push the mortar into place with the trowel or your finger. When the new mortar feels stiff and hard when you press against it, pack it in more with the trowel.

  3. 3

    Run the corner of the trowel over the new mortar to replicate the shape of the existing mortar joints.

  4. 4

    Remove any mortar that has got on the surrounding brick by rubbing with a stiff brush.

    Vertical Cracks

  1. 1

    Remove all the loose mortar with your hammer and chisel. Leave a surface of undamaged mortar. Brush away all the loose pieces of mortar with your stiff brush.

  2. 2

    Inject caulking compound into the holes and cracks you have cleared out until the caulk overflows. Press the caulk into place with your finger or a trowel.

  3. 3

    Run the edge of the trowel over the caulk to match the shape of the existing mortar joints.

  4. 4

    Remove any caulking compound that has got on the surrounding brick by rubbing with a stiff brush.

Tips and warnings

  • Take a photo of your brick wall to the hardware store with you so the salesperson can get you the right mortar, caulk and trowel to match the colour and shape of your existing mortar joints. It is unlikely that you will be able to get an exact colour match since the existing mortar has changed colour due to time and weather. But a close match should be possible.

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