Being in the business, we at Edmar know just how intense the labor of tuckpointing projects can be. Tuckpointing, the process of removing deteriorated mortar joints, is hard work and using the right tools and materials to get the job done only makes it easier.
Prepare for a Tuckpointing Job
The first step to any organized operation is preparation. Preparing for a tuckpointing job will entail identifying how many mortar joints needs repairing. It may be that all of them need repairing. If one of the mortar joints has already failed, that is a different aspect of tuckpointing restoration. Make a mental note of the joint that has failed and deal with that problem separately.
Also note that going over old mortar without using portland cement is a risk that can lead to the breaking of masonry units. We suggest using Quikrete portland cement, as the ingredients are traditional. Quikrete uses basic concrete mix, mortar, and a stucco base coat in their cement. Next, we recommend using power tools as opposed to mechanical tools, which would call for extra protection over the surrounding pieces to steer clear of ruining any masonry units. That said, you will need a good saw and a good grinder to remove the old mortar.
Take safety measures for construction work
Always remember that safety is the first priority in any restoration or construction job. In this case safety means: Please be sure to wear adequate protection shed while handling any and all powered machinery. You will know that you have successfully removed all of the old mortar when you feel you have reached the firm mortar layer. You should never go farther than one third the depth of the unit. After removing the old mortar make sure to get rid of all of the dust and remaining debris. Using a brush for the first step of this will be just fine. Then use a blower to finish off the smaller crevasses that might still be hiding finer dust particle.
Understanding Tuckpointing Techniques
This next step is pivotal. Deciding which kind of mortar you will be using for repairs is of the upmost importance. We strongly suggest using pre-hydrated mortar formulas. The biggest reason for this is that the formula ultimately minimizes shrinkage. If the mortar needs to be mixed with other add-ins to match the existing color, do that now. Once the water has been added to the ingredients, make sure to let the mixture sit for a least two hours, to make certain it is properly hydrated. Add water as your work to make the mixture easier to mold, but beware of adding too much water since this will actually have the opposite effect.
Now begins the application process: Using a trowel, pack the mortar into the joints. We recommend using a quarter inch Goldblatt for this. After filling the open joint with mortar, make sure the surface is even with surrounding units. As the mortar begins to dry and harden, use a strike tool first vertically and then horizontally.