Introduction: Tool to Repoint Brick Work.

Picture of Tool to Repoint Brick Work.

An easier way to repair fretting mortar joints in brick walls.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Required

195mm length of 48mm diameter PVC pipe
end cap for the PVC pipe
unused nozzle from a tube of caulking material
caulking gun

hack saw
fine file
power drill
assorted drill bits
ream or conical grinding stone
utility knife

Caution: mortar is a caustic material, so use appropriate gloves to protect your hands.

Step 2: Cut

Picture of Cut

1. Measure and mark a 195mm section of PVC pipe.
2. Clamp the PVC pipe and using a fine toothed saw or a multi-tool with cutting blade, cut to length.
3. Use a fine file to remove any burrs from the cut surface.

Step 3: Drill

Picture of Drill

1. Clamp the PVC end cap so as to allow you to drill a hole in the centre of the cap. Some caps have a small dimple or indentation in the centre from manufacture to enable you to find the centre.
2. Drill a small pilot hole.
3. Use increasing drill sizes to enlarge the hole to 16mm diameter.
4. You may need to use a conical grinding stone or a ream to enlarge the hole to the size to accommodate the nozzle. If so, check the size of the hole regularly. It's easier to enlarge the hole than it is to reduce it!

Step 4: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

1. Insert the caulking nozzle into the hole drilled through the end cap, from the inside. This is a force fit and may require tapping into a final position using a piece of timber.
2. Fit the cap on one end of the PVC pipe section. Again this is a force fit and you may need to gently tap it into position.
3. Trim the end from the caulking nozzle, using an utility knife. The opening needs to be approximately 8 to 10mm.

Step 5: Use.

Picture of Use.

You have constructed a custom caulking gun cartridge. This can be used to apply mortar to brick work where it has fretted away.

How:
1. Make a wet mortar mix, about the consistency of yoghurt.
2. Spoon or trowel the mix into the tube until it is approximately 2/3s full. Use rubber gloves to protect your hands from the caustic mortar.
3. Fit to a caulking gun.
4. Position in the mortar course at an angle of approximately 45o to the mortar .
5. Squeeze the trigger and move steadily along the mortar course, leaving a bead of mortar. Leave for a few minutes for the brickwork to absorb some of the moisture.
6. After awhile the mortar will cease flowing as the moisture is forced from the mix, simply remove the mortar cartridge and tap it to remove the remaining mix. Return this to your mortar mix, stir back into the mix, adding a little more water if necessary.
7. Refill the cartridge, continue.
8. Use a pointing tool to dress the mortar joint.
9. Clean brick work of any splashes using a piece of dampened hessian sacking.
10. To clean the cartridge, tap out any remaining mortar, soak in a container of water, rinse, leave to dry.

Comments

Raigmoul (author)2014-01-18

Thanks for sharing, really good idea!!!

Looks like I'll be needing this quite soon, one question if I may: what do you use at the other end of the cartridge (i.e. bit where you fill in mortar)? I'd hate to use the metal "piston" - I don't know what it's called - to push the mortar with.

Thanks again,

R

Rolts (author)Raigmoul2014-01-18

I use the piston of the caulking gun. If you fit a prison to the cartridge, it becomes difficult to remove and then refill the cartridge. Secondly, it is easy to wash the mortar off the piston of the caulking gun returning it to a clean state. I've used this on a 2 metre by 3 metre section of wall that needed complete re-pointing and the caulking gun is good for the next section I need to do. Hope this helps.

Raigmoul (author)Rolts2014-01-19

I'll take your word for it :-)

But just to be on the safe side, I'm gonna try it with the cheapo caulking gun I bought last summer - just in case!!

Thanks again, brilliant idea,

R

Rolts (author)Raigmoul2014-01-19

I would definitely use a cheap caulking gun. I used an old one I had lying around. You can clean it as I mentioned but the mortar mix will eventually cause wear and tear on the mechanism. Mine is still quite usable and is about to go into service on more brickwork, and I have kept it purely for that purpose now.

tylerwhitworth (author)2014-01-17

Wow! that's awesome. I have a chimney that needs new mortar in a bunch of spots and I was dreading how long it will take. this looks like it will save a lot of time. Thanks!

Rolts (author)tylerwhitworth2014-01-17

​Thanks for the feedback. Because they are cheap and easy to make, I made two, to speed up the re-pointing work, so I didn't have to keep climbing up and down the ladder while working on a high wall. Good luck with the chimney.

tylerwhitworth (author)Rolts2014-01-18

Thanks, I need all the luck I can get with that chimney. Making a couple is also a good idea.

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