Before Repointing Or Tuck Pointing Identify The Root Of The Problem
How does one know if repointing or tuck pointing a masonry structure is needed and what do you look for?
The signs of loose or deteriorated bricks or stone or mortar joints cracking or deteriorating, damp walls, or even damaged plasterwork on the inside of masonry walls.
One may assume that any and all of these signs of deterioration is caused by weathering or the natural break down of the masonry components from age related failure and this may not be the case at all.
The bottom line cause of the deterioration can come from a litany of other issues, such as: leaking roofs or gutters, foundation settlement of the building itself, improper mortar application, blocking moisture vents behind the masonry work causing dampness behind the masonry wall.
Another issue to consider in assessing the damage is the harness of the original mortar mixture. If the mortar is harder than the brick or stone that it is used on, the stone or brick itself can begin to spall, crack and fail like the mortar should have done (in doing its job over a period of many years) in the first place. The mortar is suppose to breath, flex, wick moisture and is suppose to eventually weather away and fail, so the brick and stone will not, leaving the wall itself in good structural condition.
All of these peripheral issues should always be dealt with prior to beginning work.
Without taking appropriate steps to repair and eliminate the source of the problem, mortar and /or masonry unit deterioration will continue, making any repointing a waste of time and money. It could also cause even further damage to building components other than the masonry portion of the structure.