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.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

What Is Repointing?

Repointing is the terminology used in the masonry industry to describe the process of removing old, loose, cracked or crumbling mortar between bricks and replacing it with new mortar of the same appearance, texture, and plasticity of the original mixture. The most important feature of the new compound is the plasticity element. Bricks normally last for more than a century while mortar will last only for a matter of decades and has to be repaired on a regular basis. The expansion and contraction rate of new mortar has to be consistent with the pre-existing formula. If there is any variation, hairline cracks will quickly develop and cause premature deterioration.

The terms “repointing” and “tuckpointing” are often used interchangeably. A simple Google search will substantiate that there is much confusion as many established brick and masonry institutions will provide different definitions for the same term. A consensus of reputable organizations suggests the following definitions:

Pointing: The initial process of placing mortar between brickwork in order to provide strength and a protective water-tight barrier.

Repointing: A secondary process of repairing old mortar by removing the deteriorating parts and replacing it with a new mixture of the same appearance, texture, and plasticity.

Tuckpointing: A secondary process of repairing old mortar by removing the deteriorating parts and replacing it with a new mixture of the same appearance, texture, and plasticity. A subtle difference between Repointing and Tuckpointing involves the methods of removing the old mortar. Tuckpointing normally entails the use of aggressive means, such as the use of a diamond tipped grinder, in order to remove as much of the old mortar as possible. It should be noted that the original term included the use of dyes to match the color of the bricks and give the appearance that the bricks and mortar had sharp line and had been recently installed. In most geographical locations, especially in the United States, the term tuckpointing is not confined to that narrow definition.



Friday, October 11, 2013

What Is Tuckpointing?


Tuckpointing (tuck pointing) is the technical nomenclature under masonry that refers to a specialized method of repairing brick or mortar. Under normal circumstances either the brick or mortar can deteriorate or even be damaged. A tuckpointing expert will remove the damaged or deteriorated materials with a diamond-wheeled blade, and then brush away, or sometimes vacuum, the residue until the surface to be repaired is perfectly clean.
The new mortar can be dyed to match the color of the original mixture. The texture also has to be matched perfectly in order to blend in properly. There are several ratings given to different types of mortar: types n, s, and m. It is essential that a tuckpointing specialist determine which type was initially used so that the new mortar will have proper adhesion characteristics and bond properly.
When tuckpointing is performed by an experienced specialist, it will be impossible for a layman to distinguish between the old and the new mortar. Furthermore, the new mortar will add extra protection as a water-tight barrier and will last for decades.
CTV3 Enterprises
Casey Thebolt is CEO of CTV3 Enterprises and has two decades experience in tuckpointing and is widely regarded as Michigan’s premier tuckpoint specialist. The firm also has extensive experience in general masonry, brick repair, porch repair, and chimney repair. For information regarding his company, visit: