Skip to main content

Historic brick-and-mortar homes are long-lasting, with a solid ability to withstand the elements, and generally have low maintenance requirements. However, low maintenance certainly doesn’t mean no maintenance. As the decades pass, your mortar joints will inevitably begin to fail to some degree, leaving your home open to potential water damage. Spotting the signs of impending trouble or existing damage, scheduling an expert inspection to follow up, and understanding when it’s time for a tuckpointing repair are all ways that you can keep your historic brick home going strong for decades to come.

What is Tuckpointing?

Tuckpointing, or repointing, repairs the mortar joints between the brick by replacing it with a fresh mortar mix. Not only does this protect your brick, it also refreshes your historic brick home’s appearance and enhances its curb appeal

Tuckpointing can be completed in problem areas, such as where your exterior brick walls show signs of water damage or where improper repairs were done in the past, resulting in damage to your brick. A full tuckpointing job removes and replaces all the mortar of your historic brick home, protecting and preserving the structure and keeping your walls strong.

Bringing in an expert to tuckpoint your historic brick home is essential.  The bricks and mortar have different compositions and strengths than today’s materials. The original mortar is a lime-based mixture that differs significantly from today's cement mixtures, and tuckpointing historic brick walls with modern cement mixtures is a recipe for disaster. The high compressive strength of modern mortar will crack your bricks and original mortar. It’s important to hire expert craftspeople who have knowledge of traditional tuckpointing tools and materials and have vast experience with utilizing those methods in order to ensure your historic home is tuckpointed correctly.

How Do I Know if My Historic Brick Home Needs Tuckpointing?

The easiest way to know if it’s the right time for tuckpointing is by determining how many years have passed since it was last done. Mortar joints are durable, but after 20 years or so, they will need to be replaced with a fresh lime-based mortar mixture. So, if it’s been a few decades, or if you’re unsure or simply do not know when the last tuckpointing job was performed, it’s probably wise to schedule an appointment with a historic brick specialist.

The other method to determine if tuckpointing is needed requires an inspection. A homeowner can certainly do this, but keep in mind you’ll need to check the house from roof to foundation, including the entire height of your chimney. Bringing a historic home expert on board is a smart move, especially if you don’t feel confident or are uncomfortable doing the inspection yourself.

Here are some practical tips on what to look for. Stand back from your exterior walls and look for visible signs of damage. Pay special attention to cracked or crumbling brick, dark patches in specific areas, areas that appear to have a white powdery residue, and any bulging or other unusual misalignments. These can all be signs of a water problem, and you’ll want to hire an expert to correct that issue as soon as possible, before further damage can occur.  

Take a closer look at your mortar joints, checking for gaps, pooling water and cracked or loose brick. With a key or pencil, scrape the mortar: if that results in the mortar flaking, crumbling, or coming out in chunks, then it’s a sure indication that your historic brick home needs tuckpointing.

Book Your Tuckpointing Project Before Spring Arrives

Many homeowners want to wait until the weather warms up before they address exterior brick repairs such as tuckpointing. Booking ahead enables you the flexibility to determine what will work with your schedule and ensures your tuckpointing will be completed without a long wait. If you want to ensure you have the experts locked in, we recommend scheduling a consultation or an inspection as soon as possible.

Contact Renaissance Development and be sure to ask about our special February Promotion before it ends.

February Promotion 15% Off


Post by Christina Wilson
Feb 29, 2024 8:30:00 AM