If you’re interested in repointing your house, you’re probably wondering about the cost, what to keep in mind, the time frame and labour costs, and which materials to use, among other things. Keep reading for everything you need to know about house and brickwork repointing!
Cost of house repointing
Bricks are generally a solid material that you don’t need to replace very often. But, the mortar used to keep the bricks together needs regular upkeep and maintenance to prevent dampness and moisture from seeping in through the cracks.
The last thing you want is excess moisture in your home! The mortar found between bricks is called “pointing.” You can check to see if your pointing needs attention by merely looking at it. You can determine whether it’s even and flush to the brickwork, as well as considering when it was last updated.
You should then run your hands along it to make sure that it isn’t cracked or falling out. If you find that it does crumble or that it isn’t flush to the brickwork, you should consider repointing!
Make sure to check every wall of your house, as the quality of pointing can differ from place to place. Sometimes, mortar damage will be contained in one location due to water damage or the like. It could also be that the mortar between the bricks is old and in need of replacing.
You may be able to get the job done yourself (more on that later), but you’ll need the help of a professional, at least in the beginning. If you have a multi-story home, you’ll also likely need to use scaffolding to reach the higher places. A professional will have all of the necessary tools on hand to get the job done.
Quality bricklayers are usually booked up months in advance, so brickwork pointing isn’t something that you should expect to get done on short notice. If you see signs of decaying mortar, try to call a bricklayer as soon as you can.
Examples of house repointing job prices
To repoint an average semi-detached home with scaffolding needed with a buckle handle finish:
- Cost of materials: £1450
- Cost of labour: £2400
- Duration: 6 days
- To repoint a front door and window surrounds with a ladder:
- Cost of materials: £40
- Cost of labour: £250
- Duration: 1 day
To repoint a gable end on a three-bedroom semi bucket with a tower handle finish using your own scaffolding:
- Cost of materials: £100
- Cost of labour: £1000
- Duration: 5 days
Things to keep in mind with repointing
Remember that old mortar will not be the same on all of the walls of your home. Usually, the corners that are hit hardest with the wind will begin to deteriorate faster than other areas. You’ll also notice that the areas directly beneath the gutters and windows will also start to decay faster due to the excess water drips.
Plus, the areas around the window and door surrounds may begin to crumble more quickly due to vibration after years of use. You should always plan to repoint an entire wall at a time as the new mortar colour will stick out compared to the older shade.
However, if there are old bricks on your home’s wall, like Victorian yellow stocks or red rubbers, be aware that these types of bricks are quite soft compared to their modern counterparts. You may end up chipping bits of the bricks away if you try to replace the old mortar, which won’t look very attractive.
In this case, you should only replace the mortar that’s crumbling away. Carefully remove the deteriorated mortar and leave the rest as it is. The newly pointed brickwork may stand out for a while, but it will eventually weather and will blend in nicely!
There are several different types of finishing to choose from when repointing brickwork: rubbed, weatherstruck, bucket handle, and raked joints.
Rubbed is when the mortar is applied and then left to dry. Then, before it’s completely dry, it’s rubbed down with newspaper to make it smooth and even to the brickwork. This finish may sound simple, but you could make a mess of it if you don’t enlist the help of a professional.
The Victorians first employed Weatherstruck finishing. The freshly applied mortar is angled downwards to slightly overhang the brick below. This technique will keep the water away from the joint.
The bucket handle finish was introduced in the 1930s and is the most popular finish today. The mortar is rubbed with a piece of tubing or a specific tool shaped like a bucket handle.
Raked joints finishing is when the mortar is raked out. This technique leaves a flat finish that is recessed slightly away from the brick face. It’s the fastest and easiest finishing, but it has lost its popularity in recent years because it allows excess water to sit in the recesses, which can cause severe damage to bricks and mortar over the years.
The cost of repointing a brick wall will depend upon the size of the wall, the style of the brick, the materials you choose to use, and the finishing method. When you start to think about your budget, you’ll need to keep in mind the time frame, cost of labour, and cost of materials you use.
You’ll quickly find that most tradesmen and larger companies work on a per square metre basis. These costs can reach up to £60- £100 per metred square. Most companies will provide scaffolding, but others will charge you extra for it. If you want to get a general idea of what you should expect to pay, try using an online calculator before you head to a local or larger company.
Here are some other facts and figures you’ll need to keep in mind:
- Pointing is the mortar that holds the bricks in your walls together.
- Repointing brickwork is a time-consuming job.
- Your walls are made of up to 15% of mortar.
- Solid mortar doesn’t need to be removed when repointing your
- What to expect if you want to DIY
While pointing brickwork may seem like an easy job, don’t be fooled. If you decide to do it yourself, you’ll quickly find that it’s not as easy as it looks! If you do want to do it yourself, make sure to practice on a slightly hidden wall, like the back of a garage, for example.
You’ll save quite a bit of money if you do decide to do the work yourself. As you’ll only need to purchase the materials, you won’t have to worry about labour costs.
If you’re interested in repointing your entire house, you can expect to pay around £300 for the materials you will use alone. In this case, you’ll save about £1950 in labour costs! The materials that you’ll use include the mortar materials and the scaffolding. Scaffolding usually costs between £40 to £150 per day.
Here are some tools you’ll need for repointing:
- Cement mixer (£100-£400)
- Chisel (£5-£16)
- Mortar board (£30-£70)
- Pointing trowel (£5-£10)
- Soft brush (£1-£6)
- Wire brush (£1-£4)
- Mortar mix (£1 per kg)
With a bit of practice, you may discover that you have a knack for repointing. But don’t get discouraged if you don’t. In this case, it’s a much better idea to enlist the help of a professional to get the job done right!
The time frame and labour costs
Labour costs will depend on the company you ultimately decide to work with. The average cost of a bricklayer is between £155 to £325. Bricklayers often work individually or as a pair. Repointing is typically a time-consuming job.
The exact time frame will depend upon how many bricks need repointing and how badly they need to be repointed in general. If you’re only interested in repointing the bricks around your front door and the neighbouring windows, the job will take just one day, and will cost up to £250 for labour.
A semi-detached house will usually take up to six days to complete and will set you back around £1950 in labour alone. If you solely want to repoint around a chimney, the work can take between 1-5 days and will cost between £155 to £1625.
What does repointing brickwork require?
Repointing brickwork will require cleaning the wall and then removing the old and decaying mortar. New mortar is then applied to the gaps, the excess is removed, and finishing is applied. It isn’t a very complicated job, but it will take some time to complete.
Before you get started, you or a professional will need to inspect the wall to determine which bricks need repointing. Then, from top to bottom, remove the old mortar from the joints. Then, mix the new mortar. You’ll have to make sure that the new mortar isn’t too hard.
The wall needs to be sprayed with water before the fresh mortar can be pressed into the joints to make sure that there aren’t any dry spots. A dry wall will suck the moisture away from the mortar, which will cause cracking, and you don’t want that!
The repointing work can officially begin. This is achieved by packing the joints with mortar to ensure that there are no air pockets or gaps. You’ll notice that most professionals will work on a few rows of bricks at a time, and will smooth off the mortar with specific tools depending upon the chosen finishing.
When to repoint a wall
If you own a brick-built house, you will eventually need to repoint your walls. Remember not to underestimate the importance of pointing because, as mentioned, your walls are made up of 15% mortar.
Mortar works to protect your home from rain, moisture, and dampness. It also plays a hugely important role in your home’s construction and fixes any irregularities that may be found on the face of the bricks.
Mortar isn’t as hard as a brick, so damage from the elements will appear much more quickly. This is actually done on purpose, to make sure that the mortar takes on most of the burden of weathering rather than the bricks.
If your bricks do become damaged, you’ll have to take them out and replace them. Bricks can become damaged due to faulty pointing. This can happen if modern cement is used instead of lime mortar. Avoid this trouble by making sure that your walls are always correctly pointed!
You’ll have to repoint your walls if you begin to notice a white layer on the surface of the bricks. This is called efflorescence, which is caused by dampness.
Different types of pointing mortar
There are five different types of pointing mortar. For each, the average cost is between £0.40 to £2.32 per kg. Here are the differences between each type of material:
Lime mortar – Lime mortar is made from water, hydraulic or non-hydraulic lime, and an aggregate like sand. Lime mortar is typically used on older homes. Portland cement (a type of cement used in repointing) can damage homes that were built before the 19th century.
Type N – This type of mortar is very common. It’s made from sand, cement, and lime. Type N mortar is durable and robust and has a strength of up to 750 pounds per square inch (psi). It’s ideal for homes that are exposed to harsh weather conditions.
Type O – Type O mortar is less durable than Type N. It’s usually used on a non-load-bearing interior wall or for repointing. This type of mortar has a strength of 350 psi.
Type S – Type S mortar is extremely strong, with a strength between 1,800-3,000 psi. This mortar mix is usually used on below ground structures, thanks to its strength and durability.
Type M – Type M mortar mix typically won’t be used in a repointing job. It also contains the most Portland Cement, which means that it shouldn’t be used in older homes. This type of mortar mix is often used in driveways or foundations.
Different repointing options
Flush – Flush pointing is when the mortar is pressed down into the joints so that it becomes flush with the edge of the brick. The excess edges are then trimmed away. This method of repointing isn’t the most attractive choice aesthetically, but it’s very durable and will last a long time.
Recessed – Recessed pointing is a much more visually appealing choice than flush. Here, the mortar is pressed back 5mm (or more) away from the edges of the bricks vertically. Be aware that while recessed pointing may look better than flush, it isn’t as durable.
Beaded – If you’re looking for another aesthetically pleasing repointing option, you may want to consider beaded pointing. This type of pointing is finished with a concave edge. While beaded pointing may be nice to look at, it can be damaged much faster than other types.
Struck – Struck pointing is very much like flushed pointing. The difference here is that the mortar is pressed into the upper edge by 10mm to drain water more efficiently.
Tuck – Tuck pointing means that the mortar is pushed into the joint first and then fixed afterwards to become flush with the face of the brick. A groove is then cut while the mortar is still green, ensuring that there is a width of 5mm and a depth of 3mm.
The groove is then filled with a white cement putty and pushed forward 3mm past the face of the brick. This type of repointing option works to create the illusion that there are finer joints.
Advantages of repointing
There are several advantages and benefits you’ll get thanks to repointing! One of the first advantages is that your home will be more visually attractive! This type of home improvement work will make your home more enjoyable to live in, and will also increase the value of your property for years to come.
If you live in a historical home, repointing will also help to conserve your property. It will also help cut down on excess maintenance.
Last but not least, your home will be much more durable with the help of repointing one wall – or several! This type of project will help protect your home from damage caused by rain, sleet, and rain.
Ultimately, if you want to avoid unnecessary damage to your home, repointing is a great place to start!