Natural elements and the previous use of cement will play a part in when repointing needs to be considered.
When a property's old mortar has done its intended purpose and needs replacing. The tell tale signs are the old mortar will have receded back and is easily removed from the joints with minimal effort. Another reason for repointing is if "somebody" has incorrectly repointed in the past using cement instead of lime. Modern cements can cause many problems like dampness and brick damage.
Free site survey
It all starts with a free no obligation site survey at your convenience. We will inspect the current state of the mortar, advise and measure the area of work to be carried out. At this stage we can also take away a sample of your old mortar to be matched allowing the new mortar to blend nicely. We also advise on the best time to undertake the work.
Removing old mortar
We carefully remove the old lime or cement mortar using hand tools to avoid brick damage. The joints are raked out to twice the depth of the cavity, 18-20mm, or to a firm foundation for the new mortar to bond. Power tools are only carefully used if the cement mortar is deep set and can not be easily raked out manually (the preferred method).
Preparing for pointing
Once the joints are the correct depth. The wall is given a hose down to wash any loose dust out of the cavity's and off the face of the brick. When the wall is reasonably dry and before applying the new mortar the joints are given a further wetting to allow the new mortar to bond without the surrounding bricks drawing out the moisture to quickly. Not doing so can result in a weaker mortar.
Mixing the mortar
Mixing the new lime mortar for repointing correctly is of the upmost importance in producing a quality mortar that will last the test of time and not shrink or crumble in the following years to come. We only use the highest quality lime and aggregates mixed thoroughly and correctly to the required consistency. This comes within the field gained knowledge and experience and is not a stage to take lightly.
Applying the mortar
When applying the new lime mortar the work must be done with the upmost of care to avoid unsightly mortar stains on the face of the bricks. The joint cavity's must be kept moist while the work is carried out to allow a good bond between the old and new mortar. The new mortar must be firmly packed into the cavity to avoid leaving air pockets. We price to do this correctly knowing it will have longevity.
Finishing the mortar
The mortar once packed into the joint cavity's needs to be finished. This is as much for the finished appearance but more for the mortar to work the way it was intended. This involves a few different techniques at various stages as the mortar stiffens. Rubbing in, beating with a stiff churn brush and light brushing for the finial finish. Finishing the mortar this way allows it to breathe and gives it a more settled look.
Curing the mortar
Once an area has been freshly pointed it needs to dry at a natural rate to help get the best out of it and aid the curing process. This can involve protecting it and working with the elements be it either extremely cold or too hot. In extreme cold weather condition when frosts are due we do not undertake any external work. In very hot condition work can still commence.
In almost all cases on most site visits we find loose or damaged bricks that need replacing or resetting. When repointing this is the perfect time to replace or reset them and is well within our skill set. This can be factored into the original quote if picked up on the site survey or added as work commences. We can also help source period bricks if replacements are needed.
Costing the work
Costing can vary from property to property due to the work involved. Many factors can play apart and every job is different. We have have set up a dedicated page to explain these costs and give you a guide as to what to expect for your money and the time involved to achieve the desired outcome. We don't take shortcuts and want to produce work that will stand the test of time.