How to Maintain Brick Tuckpointing:
Anyone who owns a brick home should keep two things in mind about maintaining the tuckpointing and brick:
1.) Take a look at your walls a couple of times a year and check for settling cracks, deteriorated joints in the mortar between bricks (Tuckpointing) or missing mortar joints.
While mortar is a strong building material, time and weather (especially in Saint Louis) can break it down, causing the joints to crack, pop out or (over a longer amount of time) turn to dust. It’s important to keep the joints in the wall solid to deter water entry. A simple tuckpointing job can sometimes turn into a brick laying job if left ignored too long. Over time a small opening in the mortar joint can cause brick movement from water entering through during freeze/thaw cycles of winter and spring. Nobody wants that.
2.) Every 5-10 years have a masonry waterproofer applied to the exterior brick, stone and tuckpointing work of your home.
Keeping up on the tuckpointing is very important, but if you keep your brick home sealed with a masonry waterproofer every 5-10 years the tuckpointing will last much longer. Brick, especially older brick, are very porous. Applying a waterproofer will stop the brick from absorbing water and instead repel it to the ground.
There are several waterproofers to choose from, wrong and right. Choose a high quality sealer that is approved for masonry surfaces. Masonry materials are “breathable”, meaning they will absorb and release water and air. Using the wrong sealer will “suffocate” the material, trapping water and air in the brick, stone or block. When water is trapped inside of the masonry materials it will expand and contract throughout the freeze/thaw cycles and cause rapid deterioration, mortar failure and movement.
We recommend Siloxane PD by PROSCO it’s available at most masonry supply stores around St. Louis. Any water-based sealant labeling itself as breathable will do just fine though. Breathable means it will allow trapped water vapor to exit the brick but will not let any new moisture inside.
Keeping up on these two things will prevent brick movement and more costly repairs in the future. If you have any questions about this topic, please contact us for further information.
-by Jacob Thompson