Are you looking for Cambridge repointing? Over time, the mortar around your bricks on your house or other structures can begin to crack or become damaged. Repointing helps to repair this damage. Many people have heard of repointing but aren’t exactly sure what it is. In places such as Cambridge, Ontario and other areas with historic and older homes, repointing is an important part of maintaining your bricks. Learn more about repointing in our essential guide below, or contact the experts at Royal Masonry now!!
What is Repointing?
Although bricks have quite a long lifespan, the mortar between your bricks may not last as long. This is where repointing comes in.
Repointing is the art of repairing damaged structures by replacing the deteriorating mortar. If left as-is, your property runs the risk of facing further damage due to the cracks and crevices in your brickwork.
Check out the quick video below to watch one contractor repoint bricks on an old home’s foundation.
You may have heard the term “tuckpointing” and wonder what that is. Although tuckpointing and repointing are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference.
Tuckpointing refers to the process of adding new mortar to your bricks, whereas repointing is when you remove the old mortar and then add new mortar after the old has been removed.
Tuckpointing also involves using two different types of mortar to complete the process, in order to alter the appearance of your mortar joints (source). You can click here to learn more about tuckpointing vs repointing.
When Should You Repoint a Wall?
A brick wall showing signs of worn and damaged mortar
Many homes are made entirely with bricks, or incorporate some masonry into their design. This is because brick walls are generally loved for their attractive appearance, durability, and ease of maintenance.
However, like all things, bricks can begin to show wear and tear over time. This is especially true in Northern climates, such as Cambridge and other places in Southern Ontario, where the “freeze thaw cycle” can occur multiple times per year.
Unfortunately, the constant fluctuations of temperature can put brick walls under a lot of stress. As mentioned above, bricks can withstand quite a lot of wear and tear before they become damaged – but mortar is another story.
Water can work its way into even the best mortar jobs, and when it freezes it expands, causing mortar to crack and break away.
So, when exactly should you repoint your bricks? Hunters.com has great advice for homeowners asking this question:
“When examining your brick work, a good guide to go by is to measure the depth of the disintegration against the height of the mortar. As soon as the depth matches the height of the mortar filling, it’s time to start repointing.”
If you notice that the bricks around your home are showing signs like this, consider working with the pros. Skilled masons are experienced in using their repointing skills at repairing all types of brick walls.
Types of Structures That May Need Repointing
Brick walls on or around your home are not the only structures that may need repointing. Essentially, anything built with bricks may need to be repointed as some point during their lifetime. Here are some of the most common structures that you may need to repoint.
Chimneys can quickly become damaged by weather and heat
Brick chimneys often need repairs faster than other brick structures. This is due to weather damage and regular wear-and-tear. The brickwork and mortar on your chimney suffer more severely from the effects of water and ice, and the effects caused by hot fumes coming from the fireplace. On top of that, Chimney fires, even minor ones, can cause damage. If damaged mortar between chimney bricks is left exposed it can cause further, more serious damage.
Underneath windows more moisture may accumulate than in other parts of the house
Did you know that the mortar directly below windows can suffer the most from moisture damage and everyday wear-and-tear? This happens because water often takes longer to dry beneath your windows. This often allows moisture to seep deep into your mortar, and cause more serious problems.
Bricks surrounding doors will likely need repointing when doors are replaced
If you are looking to add a new door to your home, repointing is often required around doors when replacements are installed. Often, your new door may not be an exact match with the old one – and this requires extensive renovations, including new repointing. This process can be tricky, so it’s best to work with an experienced stonemason to get the job done right.
Keep in mind this list is not exclusive. For example, if you have an older brick shed, or outdoor brick fireplace, those structures may need to be repointed over time as well to prevent damage and to keep them working as intended!
Cambridge Repointing: Maintaining Heritage Buildings
Heritage buildings in Cambridge; Image source: Cambridge.ca
As noted on their website:
“The City of Cambridge has a number of projects and programs to help promote and preserve our local heritage, including our Heritage Conservation Districts and the Heritage Properties Register.”
Cambridge has several heritage sites, including both commercial and residential properties. The City is dedicated to maintaining these beautiful properties – and part of that is ensuring brickwork stays in good shape.
There are even property grants available to those who own heritage properties. These grants help heritage property business and homeowners maintain and restore their buildings. One of the common ways to use this grant is to fix and repair the exterior (such as the brickwork) of a heritage home or building. Click here to learn more!
How to Repoint – Two Methods
There are two main methods you may choose from when repointing your bricks – either do it yourself (DIY) or hire a professional. Of course, there are both pros and cons to each option, and we will go through both below.
DIY Brick Repointing – Pros and Cons
If you choose to repoint your bricks using DIY methods, you will be able to find many guides online to help you through the process. For visual learners, there are great videos available online (such as the one below) that show you how to repoint bricks with simple tools.
You can also check out written guides, like the How To Repoint a Wall by Homebuilding & Renovating. Guides such as this one outline each step necessary to repoint your bricks, the tools you will need, and are often accompanied by helpful visuals.
Steps often include removing the old mortar with a chisel or other tool, brushing away dust and debris, cleaning the opening, adding the new mortar, and troubleshooting any potential issue that may arise.
Although DIY seems like the least expensive option and guides are readily available, you will want to consider both the pros and cons. DIY repointing can be a strenuous activity, especially if you have never done work like this before.
Although it will cost less upfront, if you make a mistake or do not repoint correctly, you could end up with more serious damage down the road – and then have to pay much more to get it professionally fixed.
Working with a professional will also ensure that the job is done correctly the first time, and that it looks attractive. Working with mortar can be messy, and using too much of it can change the appearance of your bricks.
Working With The Professionals – Pros and Cons
When you work with the professionals, you will have to pay more up front. Unlike doing it yourself, you will have to pay for labour fees on top of other charges. If you enjoy handy work, you may lose out on some of the joys and accomplishments of getting a job done yourself.
However, there are many benefits to working with the professionals. When mortar needs to be repointed, it means there has been damage or wear-and-tear. To the untrained eye, you may not be able to tell how extensive the damage is.
A professional will be able to identify what type of damage has occurred, how much damage there is, and how to fix the core of the problem rather than superficially restore.
When you work with a professional, you will also get the peace of mind that the job is done correctly and will last. You can just sit back and relax or go about your day as usual as your bricks are fixed – you don’t have to put any effort in aside from making that first phone call!
Work With Royal Masonry Today For Cambridge Repointing!
Does your Cambridge home need repointing?
The team at Royal Masonry has built a solid reputation for superior customer service and the highest quality stone masonry craftsmanship in Southern Ontario. Our mission is to provide you with the best quality workmanship at the right price. You can be certain that we will get the job done right the first time.
Our professional approach and superior customer service mean that you can relax in the knowledge that your project is in safe hands. Trust the experts at Royal Masonry with any masonry service you require. Contact us today and find out for yourself why our customers highly recommend us to their friends and family.