What, When and How to repoint

  • Welcome to the wonderful world of repointing, please see our article below for totally impartial advice on what repointing is, when best to repoint and how to do it.

What is repointing?

Repointing is the activity of removing and replacing the external top layer of mortar that exists between the masonry in the external wall or chimney stack, this is done where typically water ingress combined with harsh winds leads to the deterioration of the mortar joint leaving the subsurface open to the elements.


Why do I need to repoint my wall or chimney stack?

To make your house, wall or chimney stack look lovely right? … wrong, although that is of course the silver lining. The main reason is to stop water ingress into the internal cavity of the wall which would eventually emanate into the house causing untold damage. When we see damp patches this is usually only scratching the surface of the damage caused. Don’t wait until this happens before you decide to repoint your wall. Prevention is always better than the cure, although it is sometimes hard to see the benefits it’s always worth it in the long run, and here’s why.

The mortar between the joints in the masonry is always softer that the masonry itself. This is not a bad thing; the purpose of mortar is to provide a sealed joint between each piece of masonry, the mortar bridges the gaps that would otherwise exist between the hard brick or stone due to the an uneven or rough surface finish.

The relatively soft mortar creates a stable bed upon which the next piece of masonry can be lain, ensuring a completely vertical build and a securely constructed wall. As a result the mortar will always be susceptible to weather damage before the masonry itself.

Once the outer surface of the mortar is breached, the shape of the joint will be compromised and its ability to deflect rain significantly reduced. You will see small holes forming which usually leads to crevices that looks like cracking. These holes fill with water during light or heavy rain and this water is driven deeper into the mortar joint by wind or via capillary action, this is especially evident on chimney stacks which are unsheltered from high winds. This water leads to further degradation of the mortar joint which sometimes occurs below the outer surface. You will then see sizeable chunks of mortar dislodging or becoming loose as the area behind the joint surface is worn away.

This then leads to the exposure of the horizontal brickwork which can lead to water settlement even without wind. When this happens the deterioration is accelerated and the water route to the internal surface is easy.

You will eventually get damp patches appearing on your internal wall and you’ll be left with a major redecoration task at the very best, plus the cost of repointing your house. Avoid this by getting your wall attended to by an experienced professional who can restore the outer substrate of the mortar and protect your house from water ingress for many years to come.


Can I repoint my house myself?

Of course…although if you’re not completely sure of what you’re doing you’ll essentially be extending the lease on the wall for a couple of years.

Removing the mortar is simple enough but it is an incredibly dirty task and without the proper dust extraction kit in place you will cover the neighbourhood with dust and fine mortar…the neighbours will love you.

Once you’ve removed the mortar you need to fill the joint; ensure that the joint is dust free as if the mortar is not completely bonded you will get an air passage that will eventually fill with water and get you back to square one. Slightly wet the joint before applying the mortar infill and ensure you apply enough pressure to squeeze out any air gaps that may be present. After this you can begin to shape the joint. You can buy simple static hand tools for this and they are relatively cheap. Remember the shape of the joint will determine how the rain is deflected and it will accomplish the even finish that may have been missing from your wall for so many years.  

Think you’re up to the task? Give it a try and find out, you’ll get an immense sense of pride, it’ll save you a little money (depending if scaffolding, dust extraction and hand tools costs are accounted for) and you’ll be sure to sleep like a kitten for the many days it takes to complete the task.

If you’d rather save time and energy, then get a professional in, you’re winning no prizes from the wife for being a DIY zealot. And why bother right….repointing is a dirty, energy sapping task and the cost may not be as high as you think.

Simply contact us for a free quotation, we are friendly, extremely professional, great value and will complete the job in the shortest amount of time and with minimal mess. You can always be assured of our quality and value….we understand repointing!