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www.greenbuildermag.com 08.2012


~ How-to ~ 30 REPOINT OLD BRICK Repairing and extending the lifespan of an old brick


foundation or chimney keeps brick out of C&D landfi lls, and may even keep the house standing.


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COMBINATION OF DECADES of neglect and corner-cutting by the original masons often results in old brickwork that is held togeth- er by only the slightest amount of ancient


mortar. One good shake and it could all come tumbling down. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to repair. If you’re lucky, the brick wall or chimney you’re looking at hasn’t actually begun to bulge or crack. If it has, it’s time to call a professional. But cleaning up and repointing the brick is within the capability of anyone who’s patient and handy. If it’s not a job you do frequently, you may want to borrow the tools you need. Or, if you’re a remodeler, it could become a lucrative side business for you. If you’re ready to give it a try, gather your tools, your masonry mix and a couple of plastic water bottles—and get started.


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This dusty and cobweb-covered old brick is still in place primarily out of habit. Many of the vertical joints were never fi lled at all, and the horizontal ones badly need repointing.


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Collect your tools. Items you will need include a. Hawk (mortar board), narrow chisel, grinding wheel, stiff brush, squeegee, thick trowel and a thin trowel.


Brush off . Begin by simply brushing away dust and debris with a small paintbrush, so you can see the degree of repair needed. A dust mask is recommended.


Go deeper. Remove lumps of ancient mortar that have become loose and uneven—the same way a dentist might pre-drill a cavity. Get the disease out.


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