Repointing Brickwork on Porches

What You'll Need
Cleaning brush
Mortar trowel
Off-the-shelf mortar or sand, cement and lime to prepare the mortar yourself
Replacement bricks
Ceramic glue
Masking tape

Repointing brickwork on your porch may be necessary a few years after the initial brickwork was performed if the porch is exposed to temperature changes and other unfavorable weather conditions. With a few tools and mortar, you can do the repointing.

Step 1 – Find Damaged Joints

Inspect the brickwork on your porch to find the areas you need to fix. You should look for damaged mortar, cracks or areas where the mortar is eroded. Repointing is only necessary in the areas where there are problems. It’s important to identify all possible areas that need fixing, as you should do the entire repointing in one session.

Step 2 – Clean the Problem Areas

Before repointing brickwork, you need to clean the problem areas. You have to remove the damaged mortar first. A small-headed chisel is suitable for this job. Stay away from power tools, which can damage the brickwork. If any bricks need replacement, get some matching bricks. If you find any loose bricks, these won’t need to be replaced, but you will need ceramic glue.

Step 3 – Choose and Prepare Mortar

The choice of mortar for repointing brickwork is key; you will not only have to match the color and texture of the original work, but you will also have to choose a compound that has similar strength. Take a sample of undamaged mortar and get recommendations from a specialist or a hardware store assistant so you can get the right type of mortar for repointing.

If you choose to prepare the mortar yourself, you will need sand, lime and cement in various concentrations, as found in the original building. When preparing the mortar, make sure you mix slowly to get a suitable consistency. Test if the consistency is suitable by turning the trowel upside down. If the mortar sticks to the trowel, you can start applying the mortar. If water drips off and the mortar won’t stick to the trowel, you have to mix some more.

Step 4 – Put Mortar into the Joints

Use some masking tape on the adjacent bricks to prevent the mortar from getting on the bricks. Put mortar into the joints. Proper layering of the mortar is necessary so the work will be sturdier and hold for longer. Allow each layer to dry for 1 to 2 hours before you apply the next layer.

Step 5 – Smooth the Mortar

The outer layer of the mortar should be smoother and less porous to make the mortar less prone to decay. You may use a tool known as the slicker, which can compress the mortar. Use the slicker before the last layer of mortar is dry.