Regular Mortar Vs Tube Mortar
A brick house is one of the best luxuries about living in America. The bricks are comparatively affordable, and the finished house is strong and timeless.
These houses tend to hold their value better and provide one of the most recession-proof places where you can place your dollars.
The downside with any mortar is that it does crack and weather. From time to time, you will need to repoint it and seal it to ensure that your house stays weatherproof.
Hiring a crew to repoint your house is a big commitment. Repointing is where the outside of the mortar is resealed to fix cracks and prevent water entry.
Repointing costs around $25 per square foot and that adds up quickly.
Regular Mortar Vs Tube Mortar
Caulk Tube Mortar vs. Regular Mortar
The caulk tube mortar is a very attractive offering for the homeowner or property manager. Perhaps you have a small area of brick that needs to be quickly fixed. The thought of slipping a tube in the caulk gun and fixing it is very attractive.
The caulk tube mortar has some gravel in it and is heavily colored. However, it tends to flow like a very clumpy, sticky caulk. It provides an excellent, durable, seal, but doesn't look like mortar. It is also hard to get it to get that "bucket handle finish" that most houses use.
For rental properties and entry-level houses that need a quick fix, this mortar can be a cheap option. It is also a good choice for small projects.
However, the price and the lack of color matching makes it a poor choice for most projects.
The thought of mixing mortar is scary to a lot of homeowners. However, there are now little tubs of it for sale with water fill lines. These make it foolproof to get the right consistency on the first try.
If the idea of buying a full bag of contractor mortar is scary to you, try using one of these pre-mixed tubs. They only cost a little more and are generally cheaper than the mortar in the tube option.
Mortar will always be around. Mortar caulking might be one of those fads. If you go with regular mortar, you will still be able to find a close match down the road when you need to repair it.
Lime Mortar Vs. Modern Mortar
If you are working on a house this over 50 years old, it will have a lime-based mortar. This mortar is softer and easier to remove and replace.
You'll want to use a lime-based mortar to repoint these older homes. If you point over old lime mortar with concrete the mortar, the concrete mortar is more rigid and will damage the lime mortar as it is exposed to freezing and thawing.
Lime mortar takes a little more care to install as it can't be allowed to dry out too quickly. You will want to apply water to the mortar joint before adding the lime mortar.
On some of these historical buildings, you may consider sending the existing mortar off to be analyzed so that the composition can be recreated to be as close as possible to the original mixture.
DIY Brick Repointing
If you want to do it yourself, you will need a diamond-tipped bit. A diamond-tipped raking bit attached to a 4-inch angle grinder can make quick work of removing the exterior layer of mortar and provide you with a clean surface for applying the new mortar.
If you end up needing an angle grinder for this, ToolTally has some reviews on them. Be cautious when using an angle grinder as it is easy to hit the surrounding brick and disfigure it.
If you are doing a small area, you can use a couple of small chisels, or carbide tipped saw to clean out the cracked mortar and prepare the surface you will be repairing.
After you get the outer layer of old mortar removed, you'll want to brush down the surface and wash it with water to clean it out.
The next step is to repoint the mortar. To do this, you'll want to have a pointing trowel that you use to apply the mortar. It is essential to also push it firmly into the crevices to make sure that it binds to the existing mortar.
You want to be sure that there aren't any air gaps that will later show up as cracks in the mortar.
After the mortar has set for about 10 minutes, you want to brush the excess mortar off so that you have an attractive finish.
Using Quickcrete To Repair Mortar
The Quickcrete brand makes a special pouch of Zip & Mix mortar that you can mix up quickly to do small projects. For the homeowner who doesn't want to mix up a lot of concrete, these little pouches can make a big difference in the ease of repair.
Additionally, if you are trying to seal rock instead of brick, you can cut a small hole in the corner of the pouch and use that to push the mortar out like toothpaste.
This can give you a lot of control as you fill in the different holes.
Just make sure that you have a clean surface to work on as you would with other mortar types.
When you are mixing mortar, you will be adding sand and lime to the cement.
You will want a clean container to add the cement, lime, and sand into.
You'll add the water to the top of the pile and then mix from the bottom up into the top until everything is mixed well. Keep adding water until enough has been added so that the mortar slides off the trowel easily but will still hold its shape when you make a hole or ditch in the pile of mortar.
Save Money By Doing It Yourself
Fixing the mortar on your house is one of the easiest and most fulfilling tasks that you can take on. The skills you master during this task will also apply to other things like working on drywall or tiling the floor.