Repointing after leak

18 Apr 2007
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United Kingdom
Yesterday I noticed water seeping out of a power socket in the kitchen! After inspecting the wall behind I see the leak is inline with the gutter downpipe and the gutter is so blocked water would be forced down the wall.

First job is to clear the gutters and get some mesh guard to give some protection from future blocking - although it's mainly soil/dirt rather than leaves, will a mesh cover actually help?

Second job is to repoint some obvious holes in between bricks. House is over 100 years old so original mortar is lime based with small stones in. Attempts have been done by someone else to cover with cement based mortar, but as I understand this traps water, erodes the lime mortar faster and can damage bricks.

I doubt I will have to repoint more than 50 brick lengths of mortar, so what tools and technique would you recommend? Could I go to a building centre and buy adequate premixed lime mortar (just add water) or will I need to be buy sand/lime separate?

As for tools, I've seen some builders use grinders with two discs in, but I'd probably end up damaging bricks. Another thread recommended a join raker and a rake tool.

I can post some pictures if that helps. Thanks!
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Pointing from the other side of the house where cement has been used to cover the old lime mortar.

Damaged mortar by downpipe

More damaged mortar

General bad condition of wall with a few badly spawled bricks. Normally takes the brunt of the driving rain ...
Finally found the problem with the leak was to do with an aerial next door had installed! They ran cabling down the gutter causing the water to follow the cable and dribble down the wall into a badly damaged brick. :(

Any advice on how to do the repointing work - the removing old mortar part? I already found this article which describes how to do the actual pointing. Is lime putty easier to mix up and use than an add water mix?

Although repointing does need doing the damaged bricks are probably the worst problem. Is the only option to replace damaged bricks? You may be able to see in the last picture someone previously had tried to fill the damaged bricks in with mortar and apart from looking ugly, it doesn't seem to bond properly.
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I've done some work on older properties and in a lot of cases in you remove the spalled (ie blown face of brick) you can turn them round and rebed in there by matching existing brickwork as for lime putty never used it , but would say that pointing in cement based mortar over the top of lime isn't a good idea , the lime mortar moves more easily than cement.....

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