How to Tuck-Point Your Foundation: A Guide For Beginners

Posted on: 28 September 2018

Are some of the mortar creases in your basement walls beginning to sink in or crumble? To prevent the foundation from suffering any further damage, you will want to repair these mortar creases. The easiest way to do that is via tuckpointing, which is a process that involves removing the old mortar and replacing it. If you have some basic do-it-yourself (DIY) skills and some patience, you can tuckpoint the foundation yourself by following these tips.

1. Remove the old mortar.

The easiest way to remove the old, damaged mortar is to use a chisel and hammer. Hold the chisel at about a 45-degree angle with one edge against the bottom edge of the joint. Then, pound gently on the chisel end with the hammer. Only use enough force to get the mortar to crack out of its crevice. Keep repeating this process until you've moved the outer 1/2 inch of mortar. 

2. Clean the joints.

After removing the mortar, there will still be some dust and debris in the joints. The easiest way to remove this is with a wire brush and a spray bottle of water. Spray a joint with water, and then give it a good scrub with a wire brush. Keep going until you've cleaned all of the treated joints. Let the joints dry, and then use a shop vacuum to remove any lingering dust.

3. Prepare your mortar.

You can buy mortar mix at any local hardware store. Prepare premixed mortar, and combine it with the amount of water recommended on the package. Make sure you use cold water, as hot water will cause the mixture to set too quickly. 

4. Apply the mortar.

To get the mortar into the cleaned cracks, use a small trowel. Hardware stores sell specialized trowels called pointing trowels that work well for this purpose, but you can really use any small trowel, such as a grouting trowel. Fill the vertical joints first, and then work on the horizontal joints. Try to get the mortar lines as smooth as possible. You may have to use your fingers to smooth some of the joints.

5. Seal the mortar.

Let the mortar sit and dry for about a week. This way, most of the moisture will evaporate out of it. Then, apply a masonry sealer, using a foam brush. Use enough to fully change the color of the mortar.

If tuckpointing seems like too large an endeavor for you, contact a company like Mercer County Chimney Services to complete the task for you.


Explaining Your Vision to Your Contractor

A few years ago, my wife and I decided that it would be fun to remodel our kitchen. After checking out a myriad of websites and carefully developing a plan of attack, we hired a contractor and started looking at counter samples. Unfortunately, we weren't able to adequately show our vision to our contractor, and we didn't end up with the kitchen that we wanted. I want to help other homeowners to know what they need to say and do in order to get what they want out of the construction process. Read through these articles to find out more.

Latest Posts