When professionally waterproofed and taken care of, the bricks in your chimney last a lifetime. But the mortar between? Not so much. These tend to erode over time, usually needing some repair work after two or more decades. And if your mortar disintegrates, your bricks – no matter how strong they are – will start to loosen and shift, putting your entire chimney at risk.
Once damage starts to occur, water can easily seep in through any cracks that are formed, leading to even further deterioration and making your fireplace unsafe for use. Fortunately for folks throughout Poughkeepsie, our team is here to help with our masonry repair and tuckpointing services.
What Is Tuckpointing? Why Is It Important?
Tuckpointing is a method of repairing your masonry walls by replacing the joints between the bricks with new mortar. Any old or crumbling mortar is removed from the joints and new mortar – mixed to match the old – is applied.
There are two main purposes of tuckpointing:
1. Improve the appearance of brickwork that has been damaged by weathering, wear and tear, or improper installation.
There’s no denying that a masonry chimney ups your curb appeal and helps to improve the value of your home. But if your system is crumbling and filled with cracks, it simply becomes an eyesore – and it can actually decrease your home value too.
Masonry tuckpointing ensures your system looks smooth and streamlined – everything you’d want in a masonry structure.
2. Improve the structural integrity of the masonry walls and foundations.
Over time, the joints between bricks can deteriorate due to bad weather, moisture, and other factors. This can cause the bricks to become loose and eventually fall out. Tuckpointing helps prevent this by reinforcing the joints.
Tuckpointing can also help seal up any cracks that might form from water-related issues or because of the expansion and contraction of the bricks.
All in all, by keeping the mortar joints in good condition, you can help to prolong the life of your chimney and prevent costly repairs down the road.
When Does a Chimney Need Tuckpointing?
There are a few signs that indicate it’s time for tuckpointing:
- Crumbling or Flaking Mortar: One of the most common signs that it’s time to tuckpoint your brick chimney is when the mortar is crumbling or flaking. If you can easily remove the mortar between bricks with a putty knife, it means that the mortar has deteriorated to the point where it needs to be replaced.
- Gaps in the Mortar: If you see light seeping through the bricks when you look up your chimney, then it’s likely that the mortar has begun to erode and will need to be replaced. Contact a professional immediately and don’t put your system to use.
- Stains on the Brick: Stains on the brick can indicate that water is seeping in through cracks and holes. As water enters these spaces, it can cause white efflorescence or green vegetation to form.
- Bulging or Leaning Bricks: Bulging or leaning bricks can often be seen from the ground and are an indication that your chimney needs tuckpointing. If the bricks in your chimney are starting to lose their alignment, the mortar is clearly no longer supporting them properly.
Helpful Hint: To check if your chimney needs tuckpointing, use a screwdriver or other sharp object to scrape away at the mortar between bricks. If the material is powdery or crumbly and easily falls away, then it’s time for some repairs.
Can You DIY Tuckpointing?
While you can technically perform tuckpointing yourself with a sturdy wire brush, some elbow grease, and a lot of knowhow, it’s not recommended. This is because tuckpointing requires a very specific technique in order to be done properly and look right.
Long story short… tuckpointing should always be done by a professional because you need to match the new mortar to the old, both in color and composition. One misstep could result in damage to your home that would be both unsightly and expensive to repair.
We suggest consulting professionals who have the experience and tools to do the job right. Our expert masonry contractors will be able to quickly and efficiently repair any tuckpointing issues in your home, so you can rest easier for the long haul.
The Tuckpointing Process Explained
The first step in the chimney tuckpointing process is to assess the damage and determine what needs to be repaired. Once the scope of work has been determined, the next step is to remove the old mortar from the joints. This is done using a process called raking, which entails grinding the old mortar out or chipping it away with a hammer and chisel.
After the old mortar has been removed, the joints need to be cleaned out and any loose debris must be removed. Once the joints are clean, they can be repaired, or filled, with new mortar.
The type of mortar used will depend on the type of brick or masonry being repaired. It needs to be strong enough to withstand the elements and dyed appropriately to match the bricks around it. A professional masonry contractor will be able to mix up the appropriate mortar for your home.
Trust Our Expert Sweeps
Tuckpointing can be a big job, but it’s nothing our team can’t handle. Once we’re through, your chimney will look great and be more structurally sound, so you can rest easier throughout your burning season.
Our masonry experts are standing by. Call 845-375-3640 or reach out online today.