Outdoor brick walls and structures are a beautiful addition to your home. They increase resale value, age gracefully and give your home a very unique look. No one can argue that brick has stunning aesthetic value. Not to mention it is quite easy to maintain and gives your home a ton of other added benefits. However, you need to make sure that you are taking care of your brick in order to maintain the structure and integrity and avoid costly repairs. That’s why we recommend examining your brick to see if they need tuckpointing.
The first thing you need to know when you think about whether or not your brick needs tuckpointing is what it is exactly. Tuckpointing is the process of repairing the damaged mortar joints between bricks. Professionals will come in and take out the failing mortar in order to put in fresh, strong new mortar. It is pretty straightforward, however it definitely requires a professional. It’s quite extensive and you need to go through professional training, have outstanding attention to detail and be able to maintain lots of patience.
While it might not seem like it, tuckpointing is actually very important in order to maintain the aesthetics and integrity of your brick structures. If you skip this maintenance task, it can be detrimental to your structures and can lead to your brick structures collapsing over time.
It’s actually a lot easier to tell if your brick is in need of tuckpointing than you may think. All you need to do is take a look at your mortar around different areas of brick structures. If you find that anything is cracking or crumbling it could indicate that it’s time for tuckpointing. Another warning sign is if you see any holes in the mortar.
In order to do a detailed inspection, it’s best to make sure the surfaces are washed well. We recommend using a power washer in order to really get it clean. Afterwards, all you need to do is observe. Holes, cracking and crumbling all indicate decay, which means it’s time to call the professionals. If you want to go the extra mile, you can take a small, sharp object and scrape the edge of the mortar. If debris comes off that is a lightweight white powder, you’ll need to schedule a consultation. The earlier that you catch these problems, the easier and cheaper it will be to repair.
If you move into a new home and aren’t sure when the last time tuckpointing work was done, go around and inspect everything and perform the scratch test. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
One thing that is great to keep in mind is that oftentimes, tuckpointing is only needed every 25-30 years or so depending on where you live. In climates that have heavy rainfall and high levels of humidity, you will have to tuckpoint more frequently. This is because damage happens when water gets inside of the mortar and begins to seep, expand, contract and dry. With more humidity and rainfall comes more water, which means more damage and deterioration.
Unfortunately, there does come a point when it is too late for tuckpointing to repair existing problems. If you miss out on the opportunity to fix things when they are small you will eventually need to make expensive home repairs. If you see large areas of brick, mortar or stone that have loosened and are falling then it’s past the point of tuckpointing repair. Instead, you will need to do a complete tear down of the structure and put up a new one. As you can imagine, this is much more expensive than tuckpointing, which is why it is critical to check for damages periodically.
There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to tuckpointing, but we recommend finding a professional. The amount of precision and patience that you need comes with the experience levels that professional companies have. It may be a bit more expensive than trying to do it alone, but in the long run it will be worth the investment.
If you find that your brick is in need of tuckpointing, give us a call at Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. Our highly experienced tuckpointers have over 20 years of experience and specialize in brickwork, repairs and restoration. You can reach us by phone at (708) 942-1951 or visit our website chicagotuckpointinginc.com.