This guide will help you understand everything involved with repointing a brick wall. We breakdown the costs you can expect to face depending on the area being covered.
Countless homeowners will have a brick wall or a form of masonry, somewhere on their property. While bricks and stone are solid, sturdy materials that will last a lifetime, it is important to keep up with regular maintenance to reduce the chance of long-term damage occurring.
Pointing refers to the outer layer of mortar that is present when constructing the wall. Over time, this substance tends to weaken and develop cracks, losing the support of the wall. In order to maintain a good quality masonry, this mortar layer should be removed and "Repointed" if signs of damage are appearing.
There are multiple factors that will determine the cost of your project. On average, in the UK, the cost of repointing a brick wall is estimated somewhere between £20-£40 per square metre.
Therefore, the cost of repointing the entire exterior of a semi-detached home will be significantly greater than that of repointing a smaller chimney breast. Another factor to consider is the condition of the wall that requires repointing.
Heavily damaged walls will cost much more to repair, than those with minor signs of wear. That being said, if your wall requires an extensive amount of mortar removal, this will impact the timeframe and ultimately the cost of the project.
Many professional tradespeople will charge for their labour on either an hourly or daily basis. The longer the project takes to complete, the higher the cost for the work. Not only that, but you will need to consider the materials required to complete the repointing.
You will need to cover the cost of the replacement mortar, and in some cases, scaffolding may be required in order to reach elevated levels.
If you are considering carrying out the repointing yourself, you should consider the cost of the materials and equipment required to do so.
The table below is intended to demonstrate these cost affecting factors so that you can compare how each one will impact your budget. Please note, all prices are estimates and should be used as a guide only.
|Description||Area Covered||Timeframe||Labour Charge||Total Cost|
|Repointing a Chimney Breast||20 Square Metres||2-3 Days||£360||£600|
|Repointing a Single Elevation||50 Square Metres||5-7 Days||£850||£1450|
|Repointing a Medium Sized Terraced House||100 Square Metres||7-10 Days||£1150||£4000|
|Repointing a Semi-Detached House||150 Square Metres||10-15 Days||£1500||£5500|
Repointing a wall involves the removal of the original mortar that lies between the layers of the bricks. Mortar is used during the construction of the wall and is intended to hold each stone or brick together to form a single structure.
A good quality repointing job should last up to 100 years before needing attention again, making it a worthwhile investment. Not all homeowners will need to repoint their walls.
However, it is important that you regularly monitor the condition of any masonry work on your property to reduce the chance of long-term structural damage developing.
Before carrying out any repointing work, the existing mortar layers will need to be removed. This is often achieved using a hammer and chisel, taking extra care around delicate areas to prevent threatening the brickwork.
An expert will use a blend of sand, water and cement, called mortar in order to repoint your masonry. The water in the blend is used to hydrate the mix and hold each block or brick together.
When dry, the mixture is solid and enhances the durability and support of the wall. The apparent layers of mortar that lay between the stones are referred to as pointing.
A trained bricklayer or masonry professional will repoint a wall when the initial layer of mortar starts to age or weather, often crumbling away.
It is important that the original mortar is replaced before extensive damage occurs, in order to keep the structure of the wall watertight.
If the wall is not watertight for a period of time, the structure will be unstable and, in most cases, can collapse.
Depending on the complexity of your project, it can be possible for a confident DIY-er to complete the repointing of a brick wall independently, with the correct tools and equipment.
Many homeowners feel confident enough to carry out the process of repointing brickwork themselves and in most cases, you can absolutely save money as you will eliminate any labour charged for a professional's time.
However, you should consider that in order to carry out the work correctly, you will require the appropriate tools and materials to do so.
At the very least, you will need a chisel, a cement mixer, a pointing trowel, a mortarboard, a brush and a mortar mix. These materials can set you back between £300-£500. However, compared to the charge of hiring a tradesperson, these costs are significantly lower.
Depending on the area that you are repointing, you may wish to consider the hire costs of scaffolding. Generally, scaffolding can cost anywhere from £80-£150 per day.
Remember, it will likely take an inexperienced DIY-er much longer to complete a repointing job when compared to hiring an experienced masonry expert. You should consider your anticipated timeframe when hiring a service that charges on a daily basis.
As with any home improvement project, doing it yourself comes with risks and hazards that cannot be overlooked. Masonry work can be extremely tedious and intricate, requiring a significant level of skill and patience.
In most cases, it quickly becomes a case of "It's not as easy as it looks". This can often leave you with a sloppy, bad quality repointing job that can be both costly and time-consuming to fix.
Not only that, working with scaffolding can be extremely dangerous if you are not used to manually working at heights. Consider that you will be carrying your tools, materials and equipment at different levels that can be hazardous to both yourself and others.
Poor quality pointing can lead to a number of serious issues, especially with damp penetration. Trapped water can lead to rotting and warping of the bricks or stone and can freeze in the winter months, causing cracks to develop.
For the best possible finish and quality brickwork, we always recommend hiring a local professional masonry expert to carry out the job for you.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding repointing a brick wall.
Mortar is used to hold the bricks together when constructing a masonry surface. When wet, the mixture is malleable and easy to apply, however, this concrete mix sets solid when dry, providing stable support for the brickwork.
While the method of repointing is fairly straightforward, the process itself can be fairly time-consuming. Depending on the intricacy of the surface, repointing can become quite tedious, requiring a certain level of skill and patience.
Typically, your brickwork will require repointing every 30-50 years. However, this will depend on the condition of the masonry and how much it has been exposed to harsh weathering.
In most cases, it is fairly obvious that a wall is showing signs of damage and may need repointing. If you are unsure whether your brickwork requires repointing, you can try gently scraping out a small section of the mortar with a sharp knife. If the mortar comes away easily, you may want to consider repointing.
Existing pointing can easily be removed in most cases using a hammer and chisel. However, for more solid areas, you may require the use of power tools to assist with the removal. Cutting wheels are commonly used to remove stubborn pointing areas, along with patches that have been overfilled.
Yes. Mortar has waterproof characteristics, helping it to secure the water-resistance of a masonry structure. However, extreme weathering conditions can affect the durability of the mortar, causing water issues to develop within the brickwork.