Regardless of how well a brick home has been built, the time will come when the mortar between each brick will need to be repointed. Although this may seem like a minor issue, the truth is that mortar can comprise of as much as 15% of the full surface area of a home’s brickwork. This means that deteriorating mortar can start posing a health and safety risk for everyone living in the home in question.
The mortar between a home’s bricks also prevents them from becoming waterlogged over time, meaning that it is crucial to keep it in as good condition as possible. It also does the job of filling any irregularities and gaps that are often found on brick surfaces.
Owing to the fact that mortar is softer than bricks, it will eventually show signs of wear and tear. However, this is supposed to take place over time so that it can bear the brunt of weather-related wear and tear instead of the bricks themselves. Although this erosion is supposed to occur naturally, it does mean that it becomes essential to have the brickwork repointed – and this can sometimes be quite costly.
Having a home’s brickwork repointed will involve having its brickwork thoroughly cleaned and then removing all of the crumbling mortar. Once this has been done, new mortar will be inserted into all the remaining gaps. Any excess will then be removed and the job finished off.
Although this work is not complicated in any way, it is extremely time-consuming. Firstly, all walls being repointed will need to be inspected for trouble spots. Old mortar is then removed from all joints by working from top to bottom on the wall. New mortar is then mixed, and it is inspected to ensure that it’s not too hard.
Before new mortar is pressed into the joints between the bricks, the wall must be dampened with water. If the wall is not dampened first, the bricks will absorb all the moisture from the new mortar and this will cause it to crack prematurely.
Once the walls have been thoroughly dampened, repointing work can start. Generous amounts of mortar are packed into joints and it is then inspected to ensure that there are no air pockets or gaps anywhere. Contractors will normally work on a few rows at a time and use dedicated tools to smooth the mortar off.
If other work such as tile replacement, chimney repairs or fascia and soffit maintenance needs to be performed on your home as well, it’s a good idea to have it done at the same time the brickwork is being repointed. This will help reduce labour costs and in many cases, the cost of hiring scaffolding as well.
Although repointing may look like a relatively simple project, the truth is that a suitable work platform or scaffolding will be needed to access all parts of your home’s walls. As such, it is not usually a good idea to attempt this in a DIY capacity.
It’s also crucial to ensure that the correct mortar is used, and a surveyor may sometimes be required to assess the walls being worked on.
The quotes you receive to have brickwork repointed will depend on the size of your property, how easy it is to access the areas that require repointing and the location of your home – properties outside of central London will often cost less to repoint than those in the city itself. If scaffolding is required, this will add on to the cost of a quote as well.
Items needed to complete the job will include replacement mortar and in some cases, scaffolding to reach upper floors of a home.
On average, labour costs can run between £130 and £160 per day per labourer that is working on your property. The length of time it takes to get the job done will depend on the amount of repointing that’s needed and how severely the original mortar has worn away. However, a standard 3 bedroom semi-detached home can cost between £3,200 and £3,600 to repoint.
If any of the mortar has crumbled or gotten soft, it’s an indication that repointing needs to be done. In cases where walls are damp, it can be because moisture has accumulated in them because of the mortar crumbling. The earlier repointing is done, the less of it will need to be replaced, which will help keep labour costs down.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait until summer to obtain quotes for having repointing work done. The sooner it’s completed, the better because it will prevent further damage from occurring to your home. Provided that temperatures are above freezing point and it’s not raining, repointing work can continue as normal all year round.
When done properly, repointing work can last for as long as 50 years.
The amount of time needed to complete the job depends on the size of your home and how much of its original mortar has worn away.
Concrete is an aggregate of gravel or sand, water and cement and the aggregate comprises more than 60% of the mix. Cement is used as a binder product to hold other building materials together. Mortar is a combination of sand, water and cement, but its water to cement ratio is a lot higher after being mixed. This makes it a lot thicker than standard concrete mix.
Older buildings were constructed differently, meaning that the needed to breathe so that moisture could evaporate from external render or stonework. In addition, older homes weren’t built with a damp proof course and they were made from materials like cob, brick and stone – which are all quite porous. Lime mortar is quite soft, meaning that it can withstand more movement without cracking. Its porous properties also allow moisture to evaporate.
Cement mortar tends to be harder and not as porous as lime mortar, meaning that cracks will form when movement occurs. Cement mortar will also hold moisture, which will damage the building over time.
After seeing that your home needs to be repointed, chances are that you’ve struggled to find the right tradesperson or company to get the job done. However, we can ensure that you provided with up to four quotes from accredited and fully pre-screened contractors or tradespeople. All you need to do in order to obtain the free quotes is provide us with your name, contact details and a short description of the work you need to have done.
When sending us your contact information, you will be able to rest assured that only accredited contractors or companies will get in touch with you. In most cases, you will be able to obtain your quotes within a day or two after providing us with your contact details – it really is that easy.