ABC Brick Pointing Contractors

How Do You Tuckpoint Brick?

Structures built with brick are some of the most durable structures that can last for centuries. Even today, if you visit any historic downtown district in your city, you’ll see brick lined structures standing tall for over 100 years. Highlighting the exemplary durability of brick structures. However, even the most durable structure needs some maintenance over time to maintain its structural integrity.

For structures made with brick, the primary issue is the degradation of the mortar layer between the joints. This degraded mortar layer can no longer perform its job of redistributing the weight and maintaining the structural integrity of the building. The most common approach to overcome this problem is tuckpointing or repointing. Besides, tuckpointing is also very effective in encountering moisture infiltration. Protecting the structure from all moisture related problems.

What Is Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is the process of repairing damaged mortar layers between different brick layers. The damaged mortar layer is effectively removed and a new layer is applied with a decorative touch. This not only enhances the structural integrity of the brickwork but also makes it more aesthetically appealing.

But most people get confused between repointing and tuckpointing and consider them the same thing. However, there is a slight difference between them. Repointing means simply installing the new mortar layer to enhance the structural integrity and moisture resistance of the building.

Tuckpointing also follows the same steps of removing the old mortar and installing a new layer but with a decorative touch. In tuckpointing, a thin line of mortar in a contrasting color is applied in the center of the new joint. This creates a visually distinct separation between the bricks and the mortar, adding a decorative touch to the brickwork.

Materials Needed

Basic tools and materials required to complete a tuckpointing job effectively include

  • Tuck Pointing Mortar Mix: Purchase a pre-mixed mortar suitable for tuckpointing, or mix your own using Portland cement, lime, sand, and water.
  • Margin Trowel (Hawk): A flat trowel used to hold and transport mortar.
  • Tuckpointing Trowel: A small, pointed trowel for applying mortar into the joints. Joint Raker: A tool to create a consistent joint depth before applying mortar.
  • Masonry Brush: A stiff brush for cleaning debris out of the joints before repointing.
  • Garden Hose: For rinsing away dust and debris.

Safety Precautions

Ensuring safety should be your top priority while tuckpointing your brick wall. When tuckpointing, you are dealing with sharp tools and potentially harmful dust that can result in chronic diseases. Therefore, safety precautions are a must. Some common safety protection measures include

1.    Dust Mask

Use an N95 respirator rated for silica dust. Silica dust from the mortar is a major health hazard and can cause serious lung problems.

2.    Safety Glasses

Wear safety glasses that fit snugly to shield your eyes from flying debris and mortar particles.

3.    Work Gloves

Tuckpointing involves using sharp tools that can be a safety risk. Wrong handling of these tools can result in cuts or scrapes that can be severe. Wearing gloves protects you from these risks. Furthermore, gloves also protect you from irritation caused due to mortar.

4.    Long Pants and Sleeves

Make sure to wear full sleeve shirts and pants while doing a tuck-pointing job. It’s the best way to protect your skin from dust or mortar related allergies.

5.    Scaffolding

If you are working on elevated areas like chimneys or the upper floors of your home, you will need scaffolding or a mobile platform form to complete the work safely. Renting scaffolding adds to the total repointing budget but ensures the safety of workers working on elevated areas.

Steps on How to Tuckpoint Brick

Let’s discuss the most suitable way to perform the tuckpointing job.

1.    Preparation

The job begins by preparing the required surface for tuckpointing. The very first requirement is that the brick surface should be clean and free from loose dust particles. Use a stiff brush to get rid of all the loose dirt particles from the brick surface. If the bricks are very dirty you can also use a small quantity of water for this process. But make sure that the surface is dry before starting the job.

2.    Mixing Mortar

The next step is to prepare the mortar mix. You can follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prepare the mix for the job. Just make sure that the mix of standard consistency, which means that it should be easily workable and should stick to the trowel without falling off.

3.    Applying Mortar

Now, it’s time to start filling the joints with the mortar. Take a suitable amount of the prepared mortar on the hawk and fill it in the joints using a trowel. Press the mortar firmly into the joints and make sure that no air pockets are left behind.

4.    Tooling the Joints

After properly filling the joints with mortar, the next step is tooling the joints. Tooling involves shaping the mortar joints to achieve the desired finish. There are various techniques to consider:

  • Raked joints: Use a joint raker to create a recessed profile.
  • Beaded joints: Create a rounded profile using a specialized tool.
  • Flush joints: Ensure the mortar is level with the brick surface.

Tooling not only enhances the appearance of the brickwork but also compacts the mortar, increasing its durability.

5.    Cleaning and Curing

After completing tooling the joints, remove the excess mortar using a damp rag. Then allow the newly pointed mortar layer to cure for 24-48 hours so that the mortar gains its strength.

Additional Tips

Doing tuckpointing around chimneys and windows requires some extra care and attention. These areas are located at a height which makes the task more complex. Besides, they also need some extra attention as compared to other areas. Some useful tips that can help you during tuckpointing of these areas include

  • Chimneys: Ensure the mortar mix is suitable for high-heat areas. Use a ladder with a stabilizer for added safety.
  • Windows and Doors: Be mindful of existing seals. Avoid getting mortar on window panes or door frames by using painter’s tape as a protective barrier.


Tuckpointing greatly enhances the aesthetic appeal of the house exterior and also the durability of the structure. Therefore, it’s a must to have a maintenance job if you are planning to renovate your house. Following the above-provided guidelines, you can perform the tuckpointing job yourself. All you need to do is a bit of practice and the results are amazing.

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