Friday, January 23, 2015

Artistic Tuckpointing and Brickwork


Every masonry project involving bricks and mortar will eventually require tuckpointing. The elements, freeze thaw cycles, extreme heat or cold can all contribute to the deterioration of mortar and require brick repair. This is especially true in Oakland County Michigan.


The premier tuckpointing repairman in Michigan is Casey Thebolt of CTV3 Enterprises. He trained for years under the best tuckpointing artisans and branched out on his own. With extensive experience behind him, Casey Thebolt is able to perform the job correctly at its inception, thereby insuring the durability of any porch, chimney, or brick repair job.

When decorative brickwork projects are completed, it is especially important to make certain even slight imperfections are eliminated so as not to cause expedited deterioration of the mortar or brick. This concept is extremely important when referring to decorative sidewalks, pathways, or porches.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Many American buildings constructed during the 19th and 20th Centuries were made of brick. The mortar holding the brick together has a shorter lifespan than the brick itself and has to be repaired several times during the life of the building. In the case of esthetically beautiful edifices tuckpointing artisans are called upon to maintain the original magnificence of the structure. An experienced brick mason in this field is well versed in the composition of both the mortar and brick. He knows the strengths of each type and how to select the proper mortar mixture for a particular type of brick so that it will prove to be durable as well as preserve the original view of the building.


Many older churches in America were constructed of brick and face the problem of decaying mortar. Casey Thebolt, a noted tuckpoint artisan in Oakland County Michigan was recently interviewed about the problem and he stated:

“Traditionally, the Church was the center of a community. It was the spiritual symbol of the area's residents, and inspired a community to a higher vision of life and its purpose. This sense was most manifest in its architecture and craftsmanship”.

He added: “CTV3 Enterprises carefully consults with, and evaluates the needs of, the parish or congregation, considering the unique architecture of the structure. We offer a full line of ecclesiastical services, including steeple rebuilds, tuck pointing, waterproofing, power-washing, and brick/stone replacement”.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How To Hire A Tuckpointing Specialist

Hiring a tuck-point or tuckpointing specialist can be somewhat more involved than utilizing artisans in other trades. This is due primarily to the rarity of a true tuckpoint artist in the masonry business. Having such a tradesman referred by a friend or relative who is personally satisfied with the work of the tuckpointing specialist can be a blessing. However, since they are not as common as painters or landscapers, an intelligent methodical search is in order.

The first place to look is on the internet. Here there is usually more information on a website pertinent to a search than can be found in a small classified ad or the yellow pages. To view the website of an experienced tuckpointing specialist, visit:

Once the search has been narrowed down, ask for a written estimate. It is prudent to not be surprised by an astronomical figure after services have been rendered. Ask the tuckpointing specialist for references. Inquire as to whether he has photographs of previous work. Often a good website will have photographs and testimonials of satisfied customers, thereby saving the consumer from a lot of work.

Safety is of paramount importance in this line of work. A good tuck-pointing mason will use a grinder to remove old mortar and dirt before applying a new mixture. When he does so, fine particles of silica are released into the air. Inhalation of these particles can cause silicosis, a dangerous lung disease. For two interesting articles on this problem, view either or

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chimney Repair

One of the most common brick restoration and brick repair projects in the masonry field is that of chimney repair. More often than not this type of endeavor requires tuckpointing. The type of tuckpointing referred to in this article is not the European version, which the Encyclopedia Britannica defines as:

“tuckpointing,  in building construction, technique of finishing masonry joints with a fine, pointed ridge of mortar, for decorative purposes, instead of the usual slightly convex finish in ordinary masonwork. The term is sometimes used for pointing as in masonry repair”

Rather, it is the type of masonry restoration endeavor, as defined by tuckpoint specialists in the United States, where loose and crumbling mortar is replaced with a new mixture of the same color and texture as the original. The usual purpose for replacing the defective mortar is not only for cosmetic purposes, but to provide structural strength to the chimney and to protect the underlying surfaces from the elements.


Although porch repairs are the most commonly requested repair due to the harsh effects of weather, chimneys are a close second. The basic home structure is insulated and not quite as susceptible to the freeze-thaw cycles of Mother Nature. Hairline cracks eventually turn into larger ones with water being able to leak inside. Subsequent expansion and contraction cycles can threaten the entire chimney.

The hallmark of a good mason, such as those at CTV3 Enterprises, is his versatility. With respect to chimney repair he should be able to perform the following tasks:

·         Concrete crown and cap replacements

·         Replacement and realignment of flue liners

·         Replacement of flashing and counter flashing

·         Cleaning and resealing of the entire chimney.

CTV3 Enterprises is a prime example of a chimney repair company with many years of experience in the field.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuckpointing Tools, Implements And Equipment

A survey of craftsmen in any field will disclose that while individual preference for tools can vary widely, generalizations can be accurately made about the most often used implements to perform a specific task. In this article we will review the tools employed in the United States only. The meanings of tuckpointing in other parts of the world, especially in Europe, have totally different connotations and the tools used there will not be alluded to in this review

A hammer and chisel are normally used to remove old mortar. Alternatively, a grinder with a diamond blade can be used. A water hose or a high-pressure washer are used to extricate difficult to remove materials.

Concrete and masonry strippers are used to remove pre-existing sealers by scrubbing the surface with brushes. After the solution dries, an air blower or a vacuum cleaner can be used to remove fine dust particles.

Sponges or brushes may be used to dampen areas where old mortar was removed. New mortar can be applied with a point trowel. Once the new mortar begins to set up, it should be smoothed down with a jointer tool or the rounded end of a wooden dowel.  

Paint brushes can be used to apply concrete and masonry stain to the bricks to remove imperfections. Great care must be observed so that the stain does not leech out into the new mortar, especially if the mortar has had dyes added to it to match the pre-existing mixture.

Once the new stain and mortar have dried a concrete and masonry sealer can be applied to protect from moisture and sun fading. To review a fine article on porch repair using tuckpointing, see:




Monday, October 21, 2013

A Short History Of Tuckpointing

There is a divergence of opinion among historians as to when the practice of tuckpointing began. Most experts believe its origination began concomitant with the abandonment of mercantilism in England in the eighteenth century. As the nation adopted free trade practices, the standard of living grew exponentially, and the construction industry boomed. Other historians believe the art was already extant in northern mainland Europe in such countries as France and the Netherlands, and the British adopted its usage during the influx of immigrant brick workers beginning in the mid to late 1700’s. To compare and contrast two interesting, but slightly diverse views, visit:  and 

The term tuckpointing originally meant something completely different than the way it is used in 21st century United States, although its original meaning is still used in Great Britain. Initially tuckpointing was meant to correct both deteriorating brick and mortar and create sharp lines with varying dyes in order to make the repaired surfaces look like new brickwork. Brick repair artisans in the United States eventually began using the term to describe the removal and replacement of deteriorating mortar between bricks with mortar of the same chemical composition, color, texture, plasticity and compressive strength. For a contemporary view by a tuckpointing specialist, see:



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Are The Different Types Of Brick Mortar?

Most people are not aware that there are four major classifications of brick mortar. They are distinguished by their compressive strength, water retention, and functionality. A brief explanation will be outlined here. For a greater, in-depth discussion, visit:

Type M: This is the strongest mortar available to the average person. It is very often used in stonework because the chemical composition is similar to stone and the adhesion properties for stone are superior. Since its compressive strength is great, it is an outstanding choice for foundations, below grade brickwork, weight bearing walls and driveways. Although it has excellent adhesion for stone, it often is a poor choice for certain types of brick. Although this mixture is very strong, it is considered very difficult to use.

Type N: This mixture is of medium strength, and is ideal for chimneys, garden or landscape retaining walls. It is good for above grade and can withstand the elements, including severe cold and heat. It is considered easy to use. This type of mortar takes approximately one month to cure, at which time it reaches its maximum strength.

Type O: This mortar has the lowest compressive strength and normally is best used indoors. When it is applied outside it should be used only above grade and in non-load bearing situations. It is very easy to use.

Type S: This mortar has relatively high compressive strength, yet is somewhat easy to work with. It is often used below grade including for the use of foundations.

The above explanation is only a very basic overview of the varying types of mortar. When applied to the different types of bricks, one mortar might work very well while another won’t. This is usually due to the water absorption rates of diverse types of brick. An experienced brick repair artisan such as Casey Thebolt of CTV3 Enterprises should be consulted if there are any questions about which type of mortar to use. To learn more about CTV3 Enterprises, visit:   or call 248-906-2883.