What is tuckpointing?
Tuckpointing is a technique used in masonry that involves filling gaps between mortar and brick by coordinating the color of the mortar to match the brick. The process creates the illusion of very fine joints within the wall.
Although the technique is often applied for aesthetic reasons, it also improves the function of the wall by preventing the entrance of moisture and other substances that can damage its quality and strength. The phrase "tuckpointing" is often used interchangeably with brick pointing and repointing.
The technique was first discovered in England in the late 1700s as a means of imitating a popular form of brickwork at the time, which involved the use of oversize rubbed bricks that were cut to a precise size after the firing process was complete. The model process used very fine white lime mortar joints with the appropriately sized bricks put in place to create an attractive final product.
The introduction of tuckpointing was intended to make this complex process much simpler, while producing the same aesthetically appealing effect. The technique of tuckpointing began by using less expensive unrubbed bricks, which were matched with a colored mortar and laid accordingly. Fine white mortar material (often composed of pipe clay or putty) was placed in the open joints to create the illusion of cleaner brickwork.
According to "Masonry Magazine," tuckpointing was historically performed with manual tools such as chisels, wire brushes and trowels. However, modern advances have replaced faulty abrasive disks with wet cutting diamond blades for better precision and increased durability. Dry diamond blades are also excellent alternatives when performing tuckpointing.
Tuckpointing is a common maintenance procedure that is ideal for brick structures where the mortar is noticeably wearing away. Historical brick buildings are great examples of where tuckpointing is necessary because these structures are usually composed with less advanced materials, thus posing a greater risk for wear and damage.
Tuckpointing reinforces structures that are less sturdy by sealing the area from exposure to the elements and creating a more attractive appeal overall.
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