Recently MPC Plastering completed repointing in Exeter for the local Council in Burnthouse Lane, Exeter EX2 6BB. To give you an idea of what repointing is and how we go about our repointing work please read below.
What is Repointing?
All Masonry buildings have one thing in common. The material used to separate the stone, bricks or any other material used to build the building is Mortar. As far as Masonry goes gravity is what holds it all together, what the mortar actually does is ensure everything is completely level and holds the bricks apart which will help preserve the brick from adverse weather conditions and inevitably preserve the wall it is in.
Mortar should be softer than the bricks that it is surrounding and so will show signs of wear and tear quicker. This is a good thing as if the bricks started to show wear first you would have a big problem having to re build the wall as opposed to repoint it.
So in a nutshell repointing is the removal of the outer portion of old mortar around the brick work to ensure the bricks stay protected from the elements. Repointing is generally straightforward and the materials used are cheap. The cost will be the length of time it takes, as it is quite a labour intensive job.
MPC Plastering’s Exeter Repointing Process
Removing the old Mortar
This can be the tricky part as you need to ensure you don’t damage any of the bricks. Using a grinder can be dangerous but the best way to prevent any damage is to grind through the middle of the mortar away from the brick work then use a bolster to gently remove the remaining mortar. This has the potential to damage bricks and ruin the look of your house. Of course the best way to ensure you get a professional job completed would be to use an experienced plastering company. Our process and tools used are below:
- Planning – The first job to be completed is plan out how to achieve your goal. Repointing above the height you can comfortably reach from ground level requires scaffolding or an access tower, don’t try to work from a ladder, it is uncomfortable and unsafe. Our repointing in Exeter required scaffolding to remove and repair the mortar from top to bottom.
- Removal of Mortar – After marking out the area of work we remove all existing mortar using a G135e2 Angle Grinder (110v) fitted with a C-Tec Brick Raking Cowl & Raking Blade with attached dust extractor. A 25mm rake out will be achieved. Using tools fit for the job ensures no damage is caused to the existing brick work.
- Working down the wall – (this will avoid any debris falling on to areas which have already been repointed), working on about 3 rows of bricks at a time. Make sure that the old mortar is removed from the top, bottom and sides of the bricks so that the new mortar will adhere to them. Any damaged or loose bricks should be replaced before proceeding.
Adding the New Mortar
- Clean down – Cleaning the area in preparation of receiving new mortar is important. The area will also be enclosed to prevent the general public from accessing the site or injuring themselves. Our Exeter repointing job involved working on a busy street so care was needed to ensure public safety.
- Mixing the Mortar – Mortar will be mixed using 110v mixing drill. Whilst mixing operatives will wear gloves to help protect their hands from any cement burns. Facilities on site include a hand station with barrier cream for use prior to works and moisturising cream for use after completing the work. We only mix up a small amount of mortar at a time as repointing is time consuming. You won’t do a very large area before the mortar will start to go off.
- Filling the Mortar – The sections are filled using the 110v Makita mortar gun with attached mortar hopper (manually fed). This ensures that you get full penetration into the joints and is considerably faster than using a trowel. At the Exeter repointing job we used a 4:1:1 ratio mix – 4 parts local orange sand, one part cement and one part bricklayer’s lime. After completion the Mortar was left to dry in then struck with a pointing iron.
- Brush down – Finally the surface will be brushed down to finish.