Summary: How to repoint a brick wall, remove old mortar and repoint the brickwork.
Over a period of years, a wall can lose some or all of the mortar holding the bricks together. This will make the wall unattractive, and after too long, will become penetrated by damp. Maintaining the mortar is important in protecting the structure of the wall. The mortar that holds the bricks is also known as pointing.
If the damage is concentrated in just one area, then it is possible to repoint just that area. However, the newly pointed patch will stand out clearly, so you may wish to take the time to re-point the entire wall.
When repointing above a height you can comfortably reach, you will require scaffolding or some other solid structure. We do not recommend a single step ladder as it may not be safe or comfortable enough for the job.
- Start by clearing out the old mortar from the wall. You should work your way down the wall to prevent mortar debris from falling onto areas already cleared out. It is best to clear the vertical joints before the horizontal joints, so you avoid chipping into the brick above when you come to clear the vertical joints.
- You can use various implements to clear old mortar depending on the hardness of it. Soft mortar can be simply scraped out using old screwdrivers or a joint raker. Hard, tough mortar may require a hammer and chisel. In exceptionally narrow joints, you can use a hacksaw blade to clear the gap.
- When you come to repointing the brickwork, make sure you know what mortar mix you require and its consistency.
- Be aware of any likely poor weather, as you should not attempt to repoint if heavy rain or frost is expected.
- Brush the surfaces of the wall and the joints using a soft brush. Then dampen the joints using a wet brush or spray. It is necessary to dampen the existing mortar at the back of the joints as well as the inside edges of the bricks.
- Using a hawk and a pointing trowel, fill in between the brickwork. For a quicker, more accurate finish, lay the mortar on the hawk the same thickness as the depth of the joint. So when you scrape mortar off the hawk, it will be roughly the correct amount to fit in the joint.
To see the different types of finishes or for more details see our pointing brickwork project
Repointing a wall video
Summary: DIY video showing you how to repoint a brick wall, remove old mortar and repoint the brickwork.