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The terms brick tuckpointing and repointing are often used interchangeably, however, there are different results and expectations when deciding which repair your chimney needs. If your chimney’s mortar joints are starting to crack and fail, then you can decide which repair is best for your chimney.

Most masonry chimneys are subject to years of harsh conditions, both from seasonal weather and serving your home’s fireplaces and gas appliances. Brick and mortar built chimneys should last a lifetime, but damp winters and corrosive exhaust, often damages the masonry joints of chimneys over time, both inside and out. If left in disrepair, damaged brickwork gets worse, which means you’ll have to rebuild your chimney.

Learn what causes joints to become damaged, and how to preserve your masonry chimney for years to come. Finally, find out how a mason repoints and tuckpoints brickwork, to keep your chimney healthy for a lifetime.

What is Tuckpointing?

While most joint repairs are focused on restoration of damaged chimney parts, tuckpointing is performed as a decorative or cosmetic procedure. Tuck-pointing is the restoration of mortar joints to mimic very thin joints found in an older masonry design known as “Rubbed Brick”. This technique involves two different colors of joints.

Tuckpointing is a color matching mortar with a v-groove which simulates a thin joint between bricks.

First, mortar dyed to the color of the surrounding brick is applied, then, a thin contrasting mortar joint is placed to make the appearance of thin joints between the brickwork. This style of masonry was made popular in 18th Century England, as it simulated the more costly Rubbed Brick style, which was very popular at the time.

How to Tuck Point Brick Work

  1. Remove existing mortar between joints to a depth of 1-inch.

  2. Fill the empty joint with brick-colored mortar, flush with the outer surface of the bricks.

  3. Gouge a V-groove, more or less, in the middle of this dyed mortar joint and allow to partially set.

  4. Before the color mortar is completely set, apply the lighter “Lime Putty” mortar in a thin, uniform fashion, in the v-groove. This simulates a thin joint line, between the bricks.

Considering how both tuck- and re-pointing involve removing the existing mortar and applying new, is likely the cause of confusion between the terms.

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