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The Difference Matters: Pointing, Repointing & Tuckpointing

If you own a brick home or outbuilding – or plan on investing in one – it pays to know the difference between pointing, repointing and tuckpointing when it comes time to make mortar repairs.</br></br>People often confuse these terms, even when they understand the type of work that needs to be done. The real trouble comes when there’s more than one type of issue on the same project, and a mason addresses one and not the other because the lines got crossed.</br></br>So, here’s a quick breakdown of the terms, so you and your mason are always on the same page.</br></br><strong>Pointing</strong></br></br>The issue here is that this word is misused outright to describe the job of joint filling – but there is no such thing as “pointing” brick. Pointing, as a noun, is technically a synonym for the actual mortar in the joints.</br></br>So, when you <a title="Porch.com" href="https://porch.com/" target="_blank">hire a local professional on Porch.com</a> to do masonry work, you simply call it joint filling or mortar, as in, “I need you to mortar this brick.”</br></br>Even so, a mason will likely know what you mean if you ask her/him to “point” your brick wall. So, this is the least worrisome of the lot.</br></br><strong>Repointing</strong></br></br>Repointing is as it sounds – repairing old pointing (mortar) by adding new pointing to the brick joints. When you talk about repointing brick, everyone knows what you mean.</br></br>So there’s no room for confusion, right? Well, this is where it gets sticky …</br></br><strong>Tuckpointing</strong></br></br>Tuckpointing is a traditional English masonry method that dates back to the 18th century and is a sharp departure from your run-of-the-mill pointing or repointing, even though this term is confused for both very often in the U.S.</br></br>This process is rare, and results in a fine-edged look that stands apart from ordinary pointing. It’s achieved by using a mortar base that’s the same color as the surrounding brick, and then going back over the joints with a mortar or putty of contrasting color to create a very crisp, manicured appearance.</br></br>It’s also very expensive. So, the next time you need repointing make sure you don’t ask for tuckpointing – unless you’re aiming for that Old English look and have money to spare.
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