POINTING

Term used for finishing off the mortar in brickwork. In time the pointing in a wall may deteriorate. So enabling dampness to get into a wall: in these circumstances always repoint the brickwork. In addition, note that mortar joints should never be finished so that they slope inwards – from the top down – or water will collect on the top edges of the bricks and hasten deterioration. The following types of joints should be used:

Flush-faced. This is formed by cutting the mortar off flush with the face of the brick. On old brickwork. Where the bricks are badly chipped, an effective finish can be achieved by converting the flush-faced joint into a bagged joint. This is done by rubbing the mortar over the face of the brick with a piece of sackcloth. The ultimate effect, when the wall is painted a single flat colour, is effective and weatherproof.

Half-round. This is a good weatherproof joint and can be formed by using an old bucket handle.

Recessed. A joint largely favoured for its aesthetic appearance – it causes strong shadows, which are cast on the joint line. It is best used on hard engineering bricks. Which are better able to resist the effects of frost, but is unsuitable for use in coastal regions, where the effects of weathering are extreme. The joint is formed by waiting until the mortar is almost dry and then scraping it out with a flat strip of hardwood moulding to form the recess.

Weather-struck. Its sloping surface makes for very good protection against rain. The joint is recessed under the top brick and slightly overhangs the lower brick. Use a pointing trowel to fill the joints with mortar and the same tool to form the overhangs, working along a straight-edge lined up with the top of the lower brick.

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