wondering if anyone could give me a little guidance here. i live in a
semi-detached house that need some repointing doing to the brickwork.
i'm thinking of having the whole lot done including the chimney. it's
standard red brick, nothing fancy but i was wondering if anybody could
give me a general idea about how much it's going to cost me. thanks
for any help
Suggest you contact Gun Point
You may find a branch more local to you. I used them several times for
brickwork repairs and repointing after subsidence damage and was always pleased
with the result. Can't remember square metre rate, sorry, but remember thinking
the cost was a lot lower than I had expected.
Whoever you use, first check to see that you don't have lime mortar. If
modern cementious mortar is used to repoint a lime mortar house, you could
cause serious damage and some of the brain dead spods that get contracted to
do the work wouldn't have a clue.
I'm probably going to need some repointing done soon. I'm assuming
that my house (1900's terraced) will have been built using lime
mortar, right? Assuming so, what are my chances of finding a brickie
who will use it these days? Won't they all just want to use
cement-based stuff instead?
One point not mentioned yet is that sound mortar should never be
stripped out of old houses built with soft bricks. One should only
replace mortar that is loose and can be removed by hand. So you never
do a complete repoint, but always patch, and be prepared to patch
again several years later. The reason is that most of these houses
have been repointed already with cement, which is much stronger than
the bricks, and if you remove the cement it breaks part of the brick
away with it. You can do a lot of damage this way.
1:1:6 is very common, but has been widely criticised by the experts,
since the lime content causes thr cement to not checmically set
properly, and the cement clogs the pores preventing the lime going off
properly as well. The result is regular failures. But its still
commonly used. I expect it'll take another 10 years for the knowledge
I'm no expert on this, I've just read a few papers on it, so I'd stick
my head in the sand and suggest asking an expert :) Seriously, when I
read it I was boggled with the complexity of what I thought was such a
I did discover one thing though, which is inclusion of 1% plastic
fibres increases longeveity by controlling cracks and increasing
strength under tension. The Victorians knew this principle, and it was
standard practice to include horsehair in their mixes because it
extended mortar life significantly.
I wish I could give us all a better answer. I still dont know what to
repoint the house with.
I think we are in the same situation. This house has had about 10% repointed
with cement, and a survey stated it was poor, although doesn't seem at all
bad to me. Trouble is the front has very thin joints hence easy to make a
mess of. As this place will get sold within 5 years, I think I'll just give
the facade a scrub; this should give the mortar a fresher appearance so may
pass a casual inspection. I've used 1:1:6 mix on small jobs such as window
reveals and it seems to have performed just fine.
On the flip side, lime mortar houses circa 1900 are great for putting holes
in, as easy as Lego.
You've got to be joking! My 1909 house is terrible for putting holes in. The
mortar and brick are so soft, it is hard to drill anything without whole
I can often get one in by turning off hammer until it is an inch in. After
that, the hammer is required to advance, and very careful and delicate
hammer can sometimes get deeper without smashing the thing.
Well, I meant window sized holes, being careful not to end up with patio
door sized holes ;-)
But yes I agree. I have an intriguing 1st floor brick/lime mortar internal
dividing wall supported on a regular joist. I think the bricks must be the
Victorian equivalent of thermolites as there just does not seem to be any
substance to them. A stubborn finger is all that is needed to transform them
to dust (Discovered after attempting to fix basin to wall... :-(
I've been warned not to do that as the bricks tend to become absorbent
and turn green. The accumulated muck keeps the water out apparently.
If I understood it right it works but is weak, and will fail early.
Consider that decent cement or lime mixes should last over 50 years at
least. So 'early' might not be such a big problem.
I gather the best mix is lime and sand plus a pozzolan. Brick dust is
a pozzolan, I dont remember what the others are.
I wonder if you have undercooked bricks, rejects. Old bricks are soft,
but they shouldnt be that bad. Usually the rejects were used on the
inner layer of wall, so Vic houses tend to look a right eyesore if the
plaster's stripped off, with broken, misshapen, burnt and undercooked
bricks galore. Perhaps an inexperienced builder was involved. Who
Well, the bricks I've seen drilled have all been inside, mostly in the
fireplace, as elsewhere they are covered in plaster, so I can't see what's
going on. About a quarter are black (but probably because they formed the
flue, although there isn't much of a pattern), most are cracked.
I should mention that the brick front facade is excellent with a mixture of
grey, yellow and red brick in the local Reading brick fashion. It's a shame
the presumably original roof slates haven't lasted as well.
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