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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Walls Category: Exterior Walls: Brick / Masonry Walls


Bricks of brick wall are loose with loose and/or missing mortar in between.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Hammer (preferably a mason's hammer)

  • Chisel (preferably a mason's chisel)

  • Pointing tool (preferably an electric pointing mortar gun)

  • Trowel

  • Masonry rake with two wheels (for ensuring the evenness of the brick joints)

  • Screwdriver

  • Mortar mix/masonry cement

  • Sand (for mortar mix/masonry cement)

  • Water

  • Wheelbarrow

  • Stiff bristle brush

  • Soft bristle brush



Over time, you may notice that one or many bricks of your brick wall are becoming loose because the mortar between the bricks is either crumbling or already missing.  This requires some work in refitting the loose bricks with fresh mortar, and is commonly referred to as "repointing bricks."

Caution: When dealing with any device that requires electrical power, like an electric pointing tool such as the Quikpoint Mortar Gun, make sure you take precautions before you work on it, including disconnecting the power.  Further, overall, make sure you take precautions in the chiseling of bricks, etc., wearing all precautionary gear, such as goggles and gloves, to protect yourself.

Repointing bricks can be done in a few steps, and here's how::

  1. Using a screwdriver, pry out and remove all the loose mortar/cement chunks around the loose bricks to about an inch into the surrounding joints of such loose bricks.  If need be, for somewhat hard-to-remove, much more solidified cement chunks, use a hammer and chisel to slowly remove such chunks away, making sure not to chip the surface or edges of the bricks in the process.

  2. Having removed the loose mortar/cement chunks, use a stiff bristle brush to brush off all the dust and other debris from the joints of the loose bricks.

  3. Next, prepare a batch of mortar mix/masonry cement: Using a wheelbarrow in which to make the batch, make a mix ratio of about 6:2 (6 parts dry-mix masonry cement to 2 parts sand), and use your trowel to help mix the batch.  Then add water to this mixture until you are able to make a stiff, good paste that does not have too much water to it.

  4. With the batch finalized into a good pasty mortar mix in your wheelbarrow, drive your wheelbarrow as close to the jobsite as possible, where the brick wall is in need of repair, if it has not been driven there already.

  5. Now, use your trowel to scoop up some of the mortar mix from the wheelbarrow, and then immediately bring this trowel near--and actually hold it alongside--one of the joints of the loose bricks, and use a hand pointing tool (or even an electric pointing mortar gun) to stuff the mortar mix that's on the trowel into the joint so as to completely fill up this joint with such mortar mix.  Repeat this process with all the affected joints of each loose brick until all loose bricks have had their joints filled with such fresh mortar mix.

  6. Take a rake with wheels and roll it over the joints freshly filled with mortar mix so that it can make these joints even by flattening them as necessary through a roll-over in order to make such freshly-filled-mortar-mix joints consistent in shape with the existing hardened joints of the rest of the bricks that make up the wall under repair.

  7. Allow for the applied mortar mix on the wall to cure/dry.  After at least a couple of hours, gently go over the surface of the repointed bricks with a soft bristle brush so as to remove any lingering mortar debris.

That's how to repoint your brick wall so as to make it as good as new.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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