A solid tuckpointing job, as offered by Atek, will last 25-30 years with our St. Louis weather.
The differences in how long original mortar lasts and how and why tuckpointing lasts is outlined in What is Tuckpointing?
When tuckpointing doesn’t last as long as it should we can point our finger in a few directions.
The contractor who completed the last job. They may have failed to clean the joints properly before putting in new mortar, or didn’t remove the old joints at all. (We call these guys ‘skimmers’. A weak or wrong mortar mix might have been used or the mortar joints may have not been properly filled. The work may have been completed out of season and the mortar froze before cured.
We can attribute a lot of mortar failure to settling. Settling cracks and holes appear when the foundation of the masonry walls has shifted. Settling is more inclined to occur on soft soil where a weak foundation exists. Heavy trucks frequenting streets around your home can cause shifting of soil. Earthquakes, even very minor ones, can cause settling of a foundation.
Third and Finally
Unusual stress on the brick/block wall will cause rapid mortar failure. Examples? Maybe one wall of your house is constantly being soaked by a nearby sprinkler causing excessive water retention in the brick and mortar. Or too much weight on a specific area for too long can cause just enough movement to damage a small area, that in turn would allow water entry damaging a much larger area.
by Jacob Thompson