Repointing - Did I do OK?



Earlier this year I decided to repoint the rear of our house.
The lower section (top of window downwards) was rendered (badly) and was falling off. The upper part and chimney had alot of mortar (lime) missing from the bricks and in places you could see into the loft (you could see daylight through the wall in the loft to be more precise)

Once the old render was removed I cleaned up the bricks with acid and a wire brush.

I had repoined small walls before but this was my first attempt at such a large area.

During the work:


Close up:

Do you think I did a good job? I'm fairly pleased of what I did but It's not finished yet.

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Sorry to say I think it's a mess, looks like you might have put it in using a trowel. Did you use a cement mix by any chance?
Oh dear, got to agree with oilman; & I think you must have reduced the value of your property by several thousand ££££!
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In that case visit Fort Halsted in Kent. English Heritage did some repointing which was shown on Channel 4 many years ago. It was a well done, aesthetic and engineering improvement. Using the right techniques and materials it is a worthwhile exercise. However, the above is not a good example, though sadly no worse than many exercises done by so called professionals which actually put buildings in a worse condition, and reduce their ability to stand up to the weather..
Thank you for your honest opinions, you say that it looks a mess - can you expand on that so I can see where I went wrong.

Yes, I did use a trowel, A 6" pointing one - is that wrong?
As for the mix, it was cement based with lime added - was this incorrect?

I've ben let down/ripped off by many so called 'professionals' over the years that I had enough so I did the job myself.
It's not like I could have left it for much longer either, water was penetrating the joints and was leaking above the 2 windows inside. Many of the bricks had started to crumble away and had like 1/2 inch missing off the face.
The bricks were by no means facing ones, they were wirecut ones that had been severely weathered.

Would the value of the house really be affected as it no longer is damp and leaking inside

Thanks again,
The repointing mix would match the original mortar as near as possible. It should be softer than the bricks so the mortar crumbles before the bricks. It is easy to replace the mortar, but difficult to replace the bricks.

Cement is too strong and too waterproof for many bricks. If you look up some books such as "Building with Lime" that will help.

The tool for packing the joints can be made from a piece of 1/4" bar about 12" long, with one end kinked slightly for about 4", and the other end reduced to 1/8" thick and kinked the other way. This will allow you to push the mortar into the joint without getting it on the edges. The mix should be fairly dry too. You can use the trowel as a mini mortar hawk so you can pick off small amounts on the tool you made.

I can imagine "professional repointers" who use the screwfix extruder gun will disagree, but then I think that method is kak.

I'm impressed with the effort you must have gone to though. No small undertaking. I don't know what you could do to improve it now, but maybe others could help.
Richard C,
I dont understand why you say that this has reduced the value of the house by thousands. Can you expand on this?? I suspect not. Maybe as a 'professional' you would notice that it was not done by the trade, but anyone else?

Fair play Mark for having a crack, which is what DIY is all about. That job looks mighty intimidating for the DIYer. As you say, you have successfully completed what you started out to do, problem solved.

Loving the satellite on the scaffold btw. :LOL:
Richard C,
I dont understand why you say that this has reduced the value of the house by thousands. Can you expand on this?? I suspect not. Maybe as a 'professional' you would notice that it was not done by the trade, but anyone else?

Undertaking a job like that is a huge amount of effort for DIY & the OP can be commended for not shrinking from it but, I’m afraid there is no kind way to say it; it looks pretty awful up close! Personally, I’d rather have the property in need of re-pointing & get it done properly, unfortunately, that would involve even more work now &, hence, much higher cost.

The OP requested opinions &, along with others, I expressed my ‘genuine’ opinion which the OP accepted without any indignation. You obviously have a different opinion & you are equally entitled to express it but I don’t know understand why you’re having a pop at me! I’m not a professional in that I do this sort of thing for a living but I do a little work for others & I’m undertaking an extensive property renovation, mostly single handed. I’m all for DIY & offer help & advice to other like minded souls on this Forum but I have high standards & believe in doing a professional job. It doesn’t happen very often but if I think something is beyond my capabilities or the finished result may not look as good as I think it should, I get a man in that can. A person should always strive to improve their skills but don’t practice where the end result is going to be very visible; & you can’t get much more visible than the outside of a house!
Hi Richard C,

Not my intention to have a pop, and in reading your message understand where your coming from. It's just that I prefer positive critique, and in reading your post I thought that if i had spent all that time and effort doing quite a major DIY job and feeling pretty chuffed about it, i'd get pretty down after reading your comment.

But having said that I suppose, as you say, the OP asked for others opinions.
I made a mess of my first attempt at repointing a few years ago, looked very similar to the OP's pictures. While I'm not keen on painted brickwork, the pointing looked so bad I decided to go ahead and paint it anyway.

After it was painted, the pointing looked fine. So maybe this is a possible solution if the house was going to be put on the market?
I must agree. it doesn't look nice


Hats off to the Gentleman for his attempt. If you've been ripped off by so called Tradesmen it's tempting to do it yourself.
I was wondering whether a good going over with a wire brush may clean some of the cement off the brickwork and make the mortar bed look crisper. If the bricks are already spalling any damage would be minimal.
I see that next door hasn't got a ground floor window but you have.

What size lintel have they put over your window?

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