How to tuck-point brick mortar

Written by meg warren
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How to tuck-point brick mortar
Brick paths and walkways will require more maintenance than a brick wall that is not exposed to the elements and excesive use. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

It is a common misconception that brick requires no maintenance. The mortar that surrounds the bricks on a wall or other structure will eventually wear away, or begin to separate from the bricks allowing moisture to seep inside. In either case, the mortar will need to be replaced. The process to reapply the mortar is called tuck-pointing. The same process is used when installing a new brick structure. The mortar between the bricks needs to be cleaned and properly installed to ensure a long life.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Brush
  • Mortar tube
  • Caulk gun
  • Jointer
  • Towel

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  1. 1

    Remove any loose, or decaying mortar between the bricks. Align the flat end of a chisel with the direction of the mortar. Press firmly, hit the back of the chisel with a hammer. This will force the chisel into the dried mortar, causing it to break. Repeat until all mortar has been removed.

  2. 2

    Brush the entire surface to remove any loose pieces from inside the joints. Ensure that the entire surface is dry, and clean of any dust, dirt or debris.

  3. 3

    Cut the tip of the mortar tube open to allow the mortar to come out. Slide the puncture wire through the tip of the mortar tube. This will puncture the aluminium cover inside to expose the mortar, and allow it to slide through the tube. Insert the mortar tube into the caulk gun. The mortar tube is a caulk-like tube filled with mortar; they can be found at most home improvement stores.

  4. 4

    Position the tip of the mortar tube into one of the joints in the brick. Squeeze the trigger on the caulk gun to push the mortar out of the tube into the wall. This may require a few squeezes before any mortar comes out.

  5. 5

    Fill the entire joint with mortar. Slide the caulk gun down the length of the joint, continuously squeezing the trigger to push more mortar into the joint. Do not apply an excessive amount of mortar so that it begins to overfill and slide down the face of the brick.

  6. 6

    Slide the jointer tool across the new mortar following the joint. This will create a smooth seam across the joint. Wipe the jointer tool with a dry towel to remove any excess mortar. Allow the mortar to dry for one hour.

  7. 7

    Wipe away any excess mortar that has dripped onto the brick face with a damp towel.

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