We've been steadily working on the place for 10 years or so as money permits. In the last few years, while trying to get a contractor to level the floors, I discovered that the brick in the basement is in serious need of repointing. The cost to hire someone, about $100 or more per square meter. Area needing help? all of it. I could buy a new house for the total cost. They say you have to do an "overhaul" every hundred years or so. .. well, other than occasional patch jobs by previous owners - I'm having to do it. by hand. every few days. 'Cause I think it would collapse if I tried to do it all at once.
BUT, I discover, you can't just throw any old concrete mix in there - historic brick is SOFTER than modern brick... so just squeezing in some hydraulic cement with a caulk gun is a great way to destroy your house.
I talk to this guy, that guy, the guy who does restoration who comes to look at it, the intertubes, everywhere. It's very simple but comes down to a few simple things.
- Mortar doesn't dry, it cures - a chemical process that requires moisture.
- Brick is hard on the outside and soft inside, so minimizing damage to the face is a must.
- Mortar isn't glue, it's a pillow for the bricks.
Since I had to piece a lot of this together on my own, I decided to make an instructable about it.
Don't say "tuckpointing" - that's the final step that is the decorative part. the functial thing you are doing is "repointing".
I don't have building codes to follow in my area, and your area may be different. I'm kind of on my own here regardless, and I accept the consequences of my actions. Your area may require permits, codes, even specifically certified people. Use them, they know what the hell they are doing. If your house falls down, you have been warned, and you are solely responsible.