Although brick is billed as a permanent, maintenance free exterior finish for your home, time and weather will take a toll. One common brick breakdown is often seen on older homes, but also possible on newer construction. When the cement or mortar that fills the joint in your brick begins to pop out, crumble or otherwise become loose you will need to consider repointing. This DIY brick repair is challenging and requires a steady hand, but it is possible to do with the right tools and plenty of patience.
Repointing is simply the process of grinding the old cement out, or at least a certain portion of it, and replacing it with fresh mortar. It is essential in maintaining the stability of your brick finish, as well as important for the overall appearance of the wall. It's also a DIY brick repair project that will have you high up on secure scaffolding, covered in dust and doing exacting work that may get boring.
It will save you money to take on this brick repair yourself, but be prepared for a lengthy project. A mason will charge you plenty even for a small area, just to make the trip worth his time. Small to medium repointing jobs can be done by a homeowner with tools and a focus.
Brick repointing is possible for DIY enthusiasts with these tools on hand:
Facial protection - full visor and dust mask, as well as gloves to protect your hands
4 ½â€ Angle Grinder with Diamond Disk rated for mortar raking
Soft brush (for clearing away dust in the joints)
Mortar mix and bucket
You may also need sturdy scaffolding, depending on where the repair is.
Steps and Tips
Always start your DIY brick repair repointing job at the top of the damaged section. That way the dust won't fall on your finished work. It's also a good idea to work in manageable sections, usually three courses (rows) high and running the length of the area.
Step 1 - Grind
Standing firmly on the scaffolding or ground (don't use a ladder for this job), use your grinder to remove ½ to 1â€ of the damaged cement across the horizontal line. Start from one corner and work across the manageable section you have laid out. Afterward, grind out the vertical pieces. Be careful not to mar the bricks with your disk, it's an easy mistake that will turn into an eye sore. Clean out everything and when completely done grinding brush the area clean with the soft brush. Wet that wall down with a fine mist from your hose.
Step 2 - Mix
Get your mortar ready by mixing an entire batch in one wheelbarrow. This will ensure you have the same color throughout the project. Consistency of the mortar is crucial. You need it to be soft enough to handle, but firm enough not to slop everywhere and make a mess. Mortar should stand up when on the trowel and not sag.
Step 3 - Mortar
Push the mortar into the joints and fill. The mortar should be flush with the brick face or concave, which is done with the brick jointer. Other styles of mortar finishes include recessed, weather struck and strapped.
Once you have completed this section, move on down to the next section and begin again with grinding. Take breaks as you need them, but try to mix only the mortar you will use at each session.
This DIY brick repair job will take some time, but once you get the hang of it things will go smoothly. Always be safe and stay protected. Use the grinder with care to ensure you and the bricks look good at the end of the project. A solid, clean finish for your brick wall is what you're aiming for.Posted by: TrustedPros