Tuckpointing or pointing, is the process of replacing mortar between masonry units (Brick, block and stone). The condition of any masonry wall in it’s entirety will determine whether spot pointing or solid pointing is needed. The images above
Spot tuckpointing: Pointing only the major open holes or settling cracks throughout a wall that is otherwise in a functional condition. Meaning, addressing only the bad areas.Solid tuckpointing: Pointing an entire wall or section of a wall. Meaning, an entire section or wall is getting tuckpointed.
To what end can spot tuckpointing be done? That’s a great question Jake! Thanks, Jake.
Spot tuckpointing is generally done if open holes and settling cracks encompass less the 10% of a given area. When failing mortar, open holes or settling cracks account for more than this amount, it’s time to tuckpoint solid.
Spot pointing can also be wasteful when the surrounding mortar is at the end or nearing the end of its life because the new mortar being installed is bonding to areas that are approaching failure. I would compare it to replacing a piece of damaged siding when all the surrounding siding is heavily faded or constantly plugging a tire that is going to need to be replaced soon anyway.
Tuckpointing is a labor intensive job. The costs involved are heavily related to the amount of time in constructing setups to safely access work areas. To set up and address only small areas is not a cost effective approach, especially when areas around it will need attention in the near future. Spot pointing also doesn’t offer the aesthetic value, especially when sections are around entry doors or at man height (Where they are constantly visible)
With many homes, in need of solid tuckpointing, it’s common to address the work in phases. IE. large sections or a wall at a time. While some properties may benefit from a complete restoration, they are usually in no dire need of being addressed completely, all at once.
I’m a function over fashion type of guy. I married a fashion over function type of girl. Among other things, 10 years of marriage has taught me that both have value.
A Functional Approach: Do the worst first. Most commonly the north and west facing walls get weather deteriorated the quickest. I’d consider starting in one of those areas unless water entry was an issue on another wall.
A Fashionable Approach: Because of the aesthetic value/enhanced curb appeal that the tuckpointing service offers, it’s common to address fronts and street facing sides first.
Ultimately the extent of tuckpointing on most projects usually boils down to bare necessity (to stop water entry) or budgetary restrictions. Unless the spot tuckpointing is extremely limited, I generally recommend to stray from spot tuckpointing altogether and wait until budget allowed or necessity forced to address at least an entire wall.
Your home or building is in an investment, for many it’s the most valuable asset. I wouldn’t rush to tuckpoint just anything, just to tuckpoint something.
If you have any thoughts or questions, give us a call, text or email, we’re here to help!