View Full Version : Tuck pointing questions
06-22-2002, 12:52 PM
I've got an opportunity to bid a tuck pointing job on a rustic four foot high garden wall. The mortar in the upper rows is lose and can be pulled out from between the bricks in sheets, especially near the corners. Some of mid-level joints are craked. The lower joints all look fine. The joints were originally deeply raked. The brick faces are randomly staggered. Home owners love the current stagger and what to preserve it. My question is would you recommend just replacing the mortar with the bricks in place or would it be best to dismantle the corners and rebuild with the existing brick? I assume I will need to cut back the cracked motar joints with a diamond wheel before repairing. Any advice? Thanks!
06-22-2002, 07:16 PM
Not too many folks here with masonry expertise, which would explain the lack of responses.
I can count the number of brick I've mortared together on two hands. So with that wealth of experience ( :rolleyes: ), I'd say if you can work the brick free, then pull it. If not, use one of those mortar tools that's like the tool used to apply icing to a cake and re-point that way.
06-28-2002, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the reply Stonehenge! First concern I have is dust!!! I understand that a significant hazard exist from silica in mortar dust. So is it better to use a pneumatic chisel or a grinder with a diamond wheel designed to cut back the old motar? If using the grinder must I use a vacume system to keep dust down or is a high quality respirator protection enough? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
06-28-2002, 09:33 AM
Both pneumatic chisel and grinding wheels are good for opening up the joints to tuck point. If you're dismantling the brick - dry the chisel approach. The vibration of the pneumatic chisel may loosen or crack weak joints in an existing structure that you may be trying to maintain. The pneumatic is better for demo - or cleaning off bricks. Use th grinder if you're opening up joints or cleaning them up so you can tie in your new work into the old. A hand chisel, though time consuming, works well too if you're trying to be delicate.
I don't have specs on size of filters for the respirator - but I would recommend one if you're using a grinder. Though the chiseling does create some air born particulate - I would not be concerned with it. I wouldn't worry about a vaccum system either - just let the dust fly.
06-28-2002, 04:21 PM
Thanks for the response lawnlad! Didn't know that the pneumatic would crack the existing mortar. The homeowner wants to maintain the character of the walls. They would prefer that I do not take the walls apart (though some of the corners are shot and will require rebuilding). I think I will use the grinder wheel because of this latter requirement. I will have to chisel the short vertical joints.
Any advice on grinder wheels for cutting out mortar? Or are they all pretty much the same? A coarse blade I assume would cut faster? Why do they offer medium and fine blades? Typical thickness is .250 inches. I assume this is good. Appreciate the help. Thanks.
06-28-2002, 08:16 PM
The pneumatic won't necessarily crack up the rest of the mortar - but in less experienced hands, it might. I'm speaking from personal experience.
The few times I've ground out some joints, I just used the diamond wheel I bought off the shelf. I did not pay attention to the thickness. I just watched what a mason was doing (friend of mine down the street) and tried repeating the process. He told me I did okay. I think he was being nice. I don't know that diamond blades come in various thicknesses - but then again, I never checked. I wouldn't use an abrassive wheel. The thin ones are usually for cutting while the thicker ones are for grinding down flat surfaces. Or at least that's how I've used 'em. I'd use the diamond blade to square out your joints after you've used a hand chisel to remove all the loose mortar.
07-28-2002, 10:53 AM
This garden wall was built in 1954 and was so bad that tuck pointing was worthless. I have torn down all the brick walls to their foundations and have started the rebuilding process. 70 linear feet of double thick Chicago brick walls 32 - 42 inches tall (10 - 14 coarses). I am using a random brick setting techinique that results in a very rustic wall. I will post the results when done.
Thanks for the feedback on tuck pointing! The diamond wheel worked well but produced gobs of toxic dust. Also hard to keep edge of diamond cutting wheel from scoring edge of brick that will allow moisture to enter and destroy the softer Chicago brick. I would recommend using diamond wheel down center of joints and hand chiesel remaning mortar to protect older soft bricks. If doing a large job I would use pneumatic tools in the future! Good luck.
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