How to Repoint Mortar Joints

 

Carefully rake out cracked and crumbling mortar, stopping when you reach solid mortar. Remove loose mortar and debris with a stiff-bristle brush. Tip: Rake the joints with a chisel and maul or make your own raking tool by placing an old screwdriver in a vice and bending the shaft about 45°.

Mix Type M mortar, and then dampen the repair surfaces with clean water. Working from the top down, pack mortar into the crevices using a pointing trowel. Smooth the mortar when it has set up enough to resist light finger pressure. Remove excess mortar with a stiff-bristle brush.

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Remove the damaged stone by chiseling out the surrounding mortar using a masonry chisel or a modified screwdriver (opposite page). Drive the chisel toward the damaged stone to avoid harming neighboring stones. Once the stone is out, chisel the surfaces inside the cavity as smooth as possible.

Brush out the cavity to remove loose mortar and debris. Test the surrounding mortar and chisel or scrape out any mortar that isn’t firmly bonded.

 

Dry-fit the replacement stone. The stone should be stable in the cavity and blend with the rest of the wall. You can mark the stone with chalk and cut it to fit (page 179), but excessive cutting will result in a conspicuous repair.

Mist the stone and cavity lightly, and then apply Type M mortar around the inside of the cavity using a trowel. Butter all mating sides of the replacement stone. Insert the stone and wiggle it forcefully to remove any air pockets. Use a pointing trowel to pack the mortar solidly around the stone. Smooth the mortar when it has set up.

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