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After many years of use, you may notice that the mortar in your brick foundation or masonry at the bottom of your house is starting to crumble or chip away. This means that it is deteriorating and needs to be fixed to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Such cracks allow water to seep through causing it to accumulate in the stone and cause extensive damage. This makes it easy for mould and mildew infestation which would ruin the aesthetic appearance; and also for the foundation to grow weaker with time. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to manage a wet basement foundation with tuckpointing.Remove the deteriorating mortar
Before you start, ensure that you wear protective gear on your hands and face to prevent damage by flying chips of mortar and adverse reactions to brick dust. Also, confirm that the weather condition is favourable enough for the new mortar to settle properly for better functionality.
Use an angle grinder to inch inwards into the mortar into a considerable safe depth. Remember, you do not want to damage the surrounding stone. It is advisable to start grinding from the outer wall and move towards the centre so as to avoid build-up of pressure which could displace the corner bricks.
After grinding both horizontally and vertically along the joint lines, use a hammer and chisel to chip out the mortar. If you have experience in using a hammer drill, make use of it; it does a cleaner job at a shorter time.Clean up the unwanted material
A simple broom or brush will do the work here. Your aim is to remove the accumulated dust and debris caused by the drilling and hammering action. In case there are some chunks of mortar still remaining in the joints, drill them away taking care not to inflict cracks on the bricks.
Soak the brush in some water and wash away the remaining dirt as you let some of the water seep into the bricks to make them damp. This prepares a cool bed for the mortar to settle in.Prepare the new mortar
Make your work easier by purchasing mortar that has already been pre-mixed from a trusted dealer. Otherwise, combine cement and sand in the appropriate measures until you have a consistent paste. If you wish to have it in a certain colour, add a small amount of dye after mixing the wet and dry ingredients to ensure it is well coated.Apply the mortar
Fill in the joints using a brick trowel to scoop the paste and a tuck pointer to push it into the space. Make sure that the space is well-packed before moving on to the next joint. Repeat severally until you are satisfied that the mortar is aligned to the bricks.Strike the mortar
After about half an hour of setting, use a jointer to strike out the mortar into a curved ridge. This process is called tooling and it creates more appealing appearance. Wait for it to settle some more then sweep off excess dried mortar using a stone brush.