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Question DetailsAsked on 6/20/2015

How long should a good repointing job on common brick last?

How often should repointing be needed on a common brick wall?

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1 Answer


With a good job matching mortar type (there are a number of different "types" or mixes for different uses - floors, patios, walls, exterior brick walls, structural walls, fireboxes, chimneys, etc) should last about 20 years plus - as much as 50 with excellent jobs. There are some old-time mortar joints well over 100 years that have never needed general repointing or repair. I have several 32 year old exterior stone retaining walls and planterboxes in excellent condition and never been repointed - with correct mortar mix and use. Also a couple quick-and-dirty ones I skimped on and did not fine-tune the mix for or use store-bought generic mortar mix that started showing degradation and granulation in about 10 years.
A poor match, especially one with too much portland cement on walls (so too watertight to release interior moisture) or a basically interior gypsum mortar may fall away in much less than a year.
You need as old-school a Mason as you can find for a good job. Ask him where he gets his mortar - if premixed or prebagged from a home improvement store as opposed to specialty-use mix from a wholesale (contractor's) building supply house or to mixing the components (sand, slaked lime, ground limestone, gypsum, portland cement, etc as applicable) himself from raw materials, I would shy away and get a true mason. Also ask him to explain what slaking the mix is - if he does not know, he is an amateur. (Slaking is letting the mixed mortar stand for 10-20 minutes (depending on amount of cement in it) and then remixing it - the cement and especially the gypsum and lime soaks up the water and chemically changes, so if you do not let it sit and go through that process and then remix it before use it does not have the proper bonding properties. A good sign of improperly slaked lime is if the stones or bricks try to slide off it or it squeezes out between them before he taps them into place, or if it will flatten out and drip off the trowel or hod as he is using it.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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