Repointing with lime mortar – remove all cement mortar first?

28 Oct 2015
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United Kingdom

I have read on various websites that lime mortar is recommended for repointing older properties with no cavity. In my case, this is an Accrington brick end-terrace built in 1901. It looks like the property has been repointed at various times historically and it's highly likely that this was done using a typical cement based mortar. I understand this is bad because cement based mortars create an impermeable layer, possibly resulting in damp problems internally and increased freeze-thaw damage at the edges of the bricks.

The property needs repointing and I'm considering getting it done properly, accepting the current wisdom by using a lime based mortar. However, the potential long term problems caused by cement based mortars are playing on my mind and so I'm considering raking out all the previously repointed joints and so doing the entire house using lime mortar. Is it worth it?

I have no experience in any of this, and I have no idea about how difficult it is to remove cement mortar tidily and minimising damage to the bricks. I won't be attempting any of this myself but I need a good understanding so I know what to specify to the builders.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated :)
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Lime pointing should be very white, so to get a nice even finish on your house you should do the lot in lime.

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