Strap pointing - repoint?

9 Oct 2006
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United Kingdom
I have a house built in 1989 in a sandstone with a cavity. The two gable ends are rendered over block brick. The front and back walls are strap pointed. Much of the pointing is fine however one end tends to get a lot of the weather and some of the strap pointing is either falling off or can be pulled off by hand.

i'm trying to decide if it needs repairing.

I've had a google around to see what the advice is and can't find much, mainly it is things saying strap pointing is bad, e.g. here:

Has anyone got any experience or advice on how to repair / if to repair it?
A couple of pics I had to hand area attached one of the exposed chimney and one of a sound part where there are no issues.

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I loath just seeing the stuff, it's so kitsch and twee, and ( in my encounters with it ) it has caused just the difficulties described in the Heritage pic.

If we were repairing it, we'd knock off the projections and disc out the beds and perps and re-point, in your case with in-situ stone, with a sand and lime mix.

I've heard arguments for it and they sound fine in theory, but on site, as i say, it's only caused homeowners property damage and expense.
What next, miniature gnomes perched on the projections?

Recessed "shadow beds" were called for in the 1970's and they are still causing grief - i know of a high rise complex where scaff has been up for weeks remedying the water damage caused by recessed bed brickwork.

Beware of fashion in the building trade.
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Thanks for the replies so far - I started to write this thinking you were asking me stuart but noticed 'Dann' was also the other posters name! :)

I take your point on fashion in the building trade but it is basically on my property. I've lived here 3 years. 90% of it is sound but 10% is falling off so naturally I just wanted to fix it. Whilst it may not be pointing to everyone's taste I'm fairly indifferent to it or any other pointing, I just want to make sure my property is basically kept up to standard and is sound as I want to live here for quite a long time.

Having googled looking for advice on fixing it all I see is problems with the style of pointing. So I can understand no-one would advise having it put on but that isn't really the choice I'm facing. I could either:

1) Have it all removed and repointed according to Danns suggestion (this seems overkill as 90% is fine.
2) Leave it until most is falling off and then get it redone but this means living with how the damaged bits look for quite some time and also runs the risk of damage to the places where it has fallen off (perhaps this isn't the case though)
3) Fix the few bits that need it to restore it back to its 'glory' ;)

Provided option 3 isn't actually going to cause more damage long term this is the option I'd prefer (It seems most logical, cheap and I'm not trying to alter the look)I just would like to know the best way of going about it.

Dann - I'd also be interested to hear the arguments for it, especially as for better or worse I have it all over my house.
I just would like to know the best way of going about it.

You need to make a special tool like shown in the first pic.
Build up the mortar proud of the stonework, and then cut in with the tool.
Use a straight edge for straight lines.
Then cut off the excess with a trowel flush with the facework.
Thanks Stuart - I was meaning more generally though is this approach still accepted as being a recommended practice?

A week ago I thought - simple repoint a few bits to maintain my property, after reading up on the internet I'm now thinking jeepers not only is that possibly not the best thing to do but all the currently sound looking walls are geting slowly damaged by possibly inappropriate pointing techniques.

Am I worrying about nothing or do I need to plan to have the situation remedied at some point? :confused:
Strap pointing is abundant in Aberdeen on Granite buildings and provides excellent protection. You should be aware though that this ***MUST*** be lime mortar never cement, or your building stops breathing moisture (main channel via the lime mortar) which is was presumably designed to do.
I note that that's also the message given on the heritage site link in your first post, rather than strap pointing being an intrinsic bad choice!

Here's a link you might want to view -

Good luck whatever you choose...pinenot
Hi - Thanks for this pinenot I've seen the test for lime mortar on their website too so perhaps I'll do the test so I can satisfy myself it is lime mortar.

I post from my own point of view and my own experience. Some p-o-v are a matter of taste, that's all. Take it or leave it.
Others have had different experiences.

Please dont worry about your pointing; crumbling or sound, the odds are that it will give service for your tenure in the property.

My post indicated that "if i had to do the job" then that is how i would approach it - not that you'r on borrowed time with your strapped pointing.

Sleep tight, dont let the pointing bite.
I reckon most so-called lime mortar is just weak cement mortar with a bit of lime added. Does anyone agree?

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