Without mortar, a beautifully laid out brickwork is just a rubble. When you notice that mortar is starting to recede, crack, or fall out, this is your time to chisel it out and throw in a new one. In the masonry world, this process is actually called “repointing”. While this task is easy to do, it should not be easily looked over since it can be easily damage the brick walls when it is not cared for. With good execution, you’ll notice a great change and integrity of your wall. Let’s get started!
Step One: Scrape out the joints at least ¾ inches horizontally. Unless you’re a trained professional, try and avoid electric angle grinders as they can disfigure the bricks.
Step Two: Clean the head joints. Once you are done scraping off the horizontal parts, it is time to dig out the vertical joints. Avoid the corners of the brick walls.
Step Three: Wash the wall down with water to remove all the gunk out from the chiseling. Water the bricks until everything is damp and they start to drip. This part is important since materials that are dry will suck the moisture out of the mortar which will prevent it from properly curing. Wait until the bricks are dry to move on to the next step.
Step Four: Follow the instructions of the mortar you used. Generally, stir water into the mix until it has the consistency of a peanut butter. You want the mortar to cling to the trowel. Once you’re done, wait for about fifteen minutes until a film of water begins to form on the mix. Your mortar will be in good use for about seven hours.
Step Five: Fill in the cracks with mortar, and push the mixture towards the back. Try and eliminate voids by a little bit of slicing passes of the trowel’s edge. When you’re done with four courses of bed joints, fill the head joints. This step is done once you have compact and smoothed the mortar using a trowel’s flat face. Take out excess mortar off the brick walls.
Step Six: Leave the mortar to dry until it is firm to touch. Brush this in a diagonal manner in order to remove excess crumbs.