The pictures below show a clear example of why tuckpointing should not be attempted by just anyone.
Even most experienced Masons seem to have a very hard time with the craft of tuck pointing.
I've often said, "tuck pointing is to Masonry repair what brain surgery is to medicine."
You wouldn't ask a bone doctor to work on your frontal lobe. Similarly, 90% of really good masons have never tuck pointed brick or stone. While this may seem odd, it is nevertheless true.
Take a close look at an old building's brick and chances are you'll see the evidence of someone's attempt at tuck pointing.
So many variables come into play when tuck pointing masonry.
In the early 1990's we were asked to consult on a project where the faces had popped off most of the brick on an historic structure in Indianapolis. The client had spent a small fortune having the entire building tuck pointed by a well known local masonry contractor. This contractor had proven himself very capable of building Masonry structures and had been doing so successfully for years.
What he didn't know was that the building he was tuck pointing had brick that were manufactured in the 1880's and were very soft. The mortar used to lay the brick was made of Lime Putty.
Lime Putty Mortar is a very soft cement made for a very soft brick.
When the modern Mason used a modern Mortar to tuck point the old brick, it ruined them.
Portland cement-based mortar expands and contracts at a much greater rate than Lime Putty Mortar and damaged the brick with the change of seasons. The end result for this project was to remove and replace every single brick on the building at a cost of just under $200,000.00
The original tuck pointing bid was $38,500.00
While this example is extreme, you don't have to look very hard around your town to see examples of failed attempts at tuck pointing. Take a look at the top of most chimneys and you'll see someone's attempt to "fix" failing mortar joints.
Tuck pointing is an art. Pure and simple. It should not be attempted by most veteran masons.
For Tuck Pointing help In Jasper, Bloomington, Louisville, Evansville and Indianapolis, please contact us at 812 33-BRICK, or 812 631-5925.
Failed tuck pointing on historic Indianapolis structure
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