How To Recognize When It's Time For A Tuckpointing Job

Posted on: 10 August 2015

Buildings made from brick and stone built using masonry techniques are remarkably long-lived. Little maintenance is required. The actual stones, blocks, or bricks used within the walls stand up just fine without needing much attention, for up to a century. On the other hand, the mortar generally needs repair every 30 to 40 years. When compared to newer construction methods, the sheer durability of quality masonry work is in a class of its own.

This longevity poses a singular problem. Since mortar maintenance is only required once during an owner's lifetime, building owners don't always recognize the signs that it's time for a mason to tuckpoint their property. Here are signs that it is time for a tuckpointing repair on your stone, brick, or block home or business.

In order to recognize the signs, it is important that you understand what tuckpointing involves. When old and crumbling mortar exists between the building blocks of a home, the building is no longer properly sealed off from the elements. When this occurs, a contractor first analyzes the condition of the mortar and then determines how much of the mortar must be removed. This portion of the repair is highly labor intensive. Once the damaged mortar has been removed, new mortar is inserted between the bricks or stones and the building is once again protected from the elements. 

A clear sign that tuckpointing is needed are loose bricks or stones. At this point, the need is critical. Before various elements of the building reach this point, you are more likely to see gaps or holes within the mortar. Look inside the house for signs that water has been gaining entry into your home, This moisture will damage not only your home's interior, but the exterior brick as well.

Occasionally, a white, powdery substance may appear on the outside walls of a structure. It doesn't damage the building, but is a clear sign that problems are rapidly developing. While it can be readily removed using water and a stiff-bristle brush, it will come back quickly if the underlying problem has not been corrected. It forms when moisture gains access to the interior of the wall and causes salts to leach out. These deposits are a sure sign that tuckpointing is required.

Finally, many homeowners use the key test to determine if their masonry work is starting to decay. The key test simply involves scraping a key along the mortar. If a fine powder forms, the mortar needs attention. It won't break down when the mortar is still in good shape.

While buildings made from brick and stone need little maintenance, it is important to be aware and act when problems first appear. Arranging for timely repairs means that your home or business will last for centuries. To learn more, contact a group like the Hart Restoration Group.