Repointing Services


Repointing Process

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Existing mortar is removed from the bed joints using a twin bladed wall chaser with vacuum attachment. The vacuum removes around 95% of the dust and debris from the mortar raking process, ensuring that the working area remains as clear as possible and does not pose an inhalation hazard to the public or co workers.
The width between the blades is adjusted to the width of the existing bed joint in order to ensure complete mortar removal. The depth of the cut is adjustable although 20mm is the industry standard.
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Once the bed joints have been removed the perpendicular joints (perps) are taken out using one of two machines we have available. If the existing mortar is soft (which is usually the case) a mortar router is used, again in conjunction with a vacuum attachment. This tool is also fully adjustable and can be used to remove both bed joints and perps on projects where the use of diamond cutting blades is restricted.
On occasions when the existing mortar is harder, we use an angle grinder with diamond blades.
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Once the mortar raking process is complete, the brickwork is power washer to remove all debris and fungi that have accumulated on the face of the bricks throughout the years. In most cases this restores the brick face to the condition in which they were first laid.
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Finally the preparation process is complete and the failed mortar can be replaced with a well graded and durable mortar. The perps are the first joints to be replaced, using a hawk and trowel in order to achieve any finish or style that is required. A wide range of trowel widths are available to ensure that mortar can be pressure pointed directly to the back of the joint leaving no air pockets and allowing complete adhesion the brick.
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Once an area has been fully perped, the bed joints are added. These are pressure pointed directly off the hawk right to the back of the joint. The consistency of the mortar used for the perps and the mortar used for the bed joints differs immensely. The mortar used for the bed joints is a lot drier in order to save the face of the brick from any staining.
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Once the mortar reaches a temporary set, the joints are brushed to remove any surplus mortar and the repointing process is complete.

FocalPoint strongly recommend the use of a masonry water sealer to protect new and existing brickwork and pointing from the damaging effects of penetrating rain. We use a high quality water sealer which seals the capillaries of the bricks to prevent water absorption but does not block the pores of the brickwork allowing the natural dispersion of water and salts, usually referred to as breathing. New pointing must be allowed to fully dry out before this process commences and a settling period of at least two weeks is recommended. We apply the sealer using a hand spray which ensures all areas are fully saturated and even the inaccessible areas, such as behind down pipes, are treated. As a note of caution, be careful when choosing a water sealing product. Many act as a complete barrier on the surface of the brick work, in these instances any moisture held within the brickwork ends up being draw out to the inside of the building, leading to damp problems. FocalPoint can advise on which water sealers are appropriate for each individual need.

FocalPoint have worked alongside local councils and on many English Heritage projects and have gradually built up a reputation as the forerunner in lime-putty restoration works in the South East.FocalPoint are experienced in the use of all types of lime products and can accurately match existing mortars to achieve sympathetic patch repairs, or if necessary, repoint entire buildings using the same lime and aggregate ratios as when first built.

There are two types of lime which can be used for repairing older properties and building new ones: hydraulic and non-hydraulic. Both of these are different from the hydrated lime sold by most builders merchants and which is best used as a plasticizer in modern cement.
Non-hydraulic lime products are based on lime putty, and will only harden on contact with air. Hydraulic lime on the other hand will set in the absence of air, even underwater.
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Traditional buildings, often with no damp course, were constructed with materials which ‘breathe’ i.e. which allow moisture to pass through them and evaporate off harmlessly. Modern cements and plasters are not breathable and if used on older buildings can lead to damp cold walls, condensation, flaking paint and rotten timbers.

In addition lime mortars are flexible and can accommodate the slight movement which occurs in older properties without cracking. The results of using modern cement on older properties can frequently be seen as cracked brickwork and ‘spalling’. This occurs when moisture which can no longer pass through the mortar course is forced to come out through the bricks, with the result that the face of the brick is blown off.

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Royal Sea Bathing Hospital Margate Kent

The Royal Sea Bathing hospital was founded in 1791, by John Coakley Lettsom. As a specialist hospital for treatment of tuberculosis. In 1796 the hospital pioneered the use of “Sea bathing” as a treatment. 50 years later indoor salt water baths (swimming pools) were installed so that treatment could continue all year round.

As a grade 2 listed building all renovation works had to be performed with the greatest of care and externally to building was to remain as close to original as possible.

FocalPoint were called in as a sub-contractor to manage all the repointing works on the site. Lime Mortar was used on the original buildings and coloured pigments added to best match the original mortar.

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The Guildford ‘Spike’, one of the best preserved Vagrants Wards in the country, is restored and renovated for the benefit of the local community in Charlotteville, Guildford and also visitors to the area.

Over five hundred Vagrants Wards were built during the Victorian period and of these, only eight are thought to remain intact. These buildings were created as a result of the 1834 Poor Law, set up to provide basic hostel accommodation and stop vagrants from sleeping rough.

FocalPoint worked as sub- contractors in charge of the various repointing projects that took place during the restoration. Original mortar was tested and then a matching mortar designed using a mix of local sands and lime. This project was funded by a heritage lottery fund. As the building had been granted listed building status in 1999 it was imperative that all works be carried out to a high specification and all restoration work be sympathetic to the original building.

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Although these flats were built within the last 40 years, the severe weather conditions found in the coastal town of Hythe had managed to erode a large percentage of the mortar. FocalPoint worked as the main contractor carrying out not only the repointing but the mastic repairs and finally a water seal to ensure the weather will not affect the building again.

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This building had undergone it`s fair share of repairs throughout the century but unfortunately many were carried out incorrectly using inappropriate materials. FocalPoint were called in to repair spalled brickwork and repoint the ground floor elevation. Matching bricks were sourced locally and sympathetic replacements were made. It was agreed that the pointing should be pigmented as this was the style at the time of construction.

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