Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pointy business

Sister A. wrote this about the brick repointing we had done to the house yesterday. At last, I know why it's called "repointing"!
When we bought this beautiful little brick house, the inspection mentioned the fact that some mortar between the bricks needed replacing. We had already noticed this ourselves and made it a condition of the sale that the owner repair this. Humph. He dabbed at a few places with those little tubes of sanded grout intended to be used for bathroom tile repair. It looked terrible, but was not one of the major things we had on our list of to-dos.

So.....when we pulled out all the old shrubbery last weekend, it became very obvious that *all* the brick that had been hidden behind them all these years desperately needed repointing. That's what re-mortaring your brickwork is called. We decided it couldn't hurt to get an estimate and if it was anywhere near reasonable we would get it done.

The estimate was a little over our wish level, but not so badly that it negated the whole thing. So now we have newly repointed brickwork all over the whole house. They matched the old mortar exactly and if you didn't know it had been done, you wouldn't notice it at all.

Four guys descended on the house yesterday with a total plan of action. Guy #1 went around using an electric grinder to remove loose, cracked or otherwise damaged mortar. Guy #2 followed behind him cleaning out all the joints with a large, stiff brush. Guy #3 came next, stuffing fresh mortar in all the empty spaces. After it set for a few minutes, Guy #4 came along with a tool called a "pointer" and made it look like it had been smoothed out with someone's thumb. You all know how it looks when it's well done. So by this time, Guy #1 and Guy #2 were going around with brushes cleaning up the bricks themselves and wiping away excess mortar. Guy #3 and Guy #4 went around the house a 2nd time, looking for any spots that got missed on the first circuit. It was totally amazing to watch.

In the meantime, the boss showed up every 45 minutes to an hour to check on everything. They were all done and showing me the results in 3 hours. Everything got cleaned up off the sidewalks, patio and yard and they were gone in a flash. We are totally pleased with the results.

Do NOT set your sprinklers so that they water the brickwork on your house. It ruins the mortar after a while. And it leaves a water residue on the bricks that is reeeeeeally hard to get off.

This weekend we plan to start putting some shrubbery back in around the foundation. But we will plant them well back from the bricks and will never soak the bricks when watering them.

Our brickwork looks like new and our flower beds are ready for new plants!


Mike-O-Matic said...

What a nice blog! You and your sister have such an excellent way with words--shades of Erma Bombeck sometimes, seriously! :)


las794 said...

Thanks, Mike-O-Matic! And I hope you're liking your new job!

Mike-O-Matic said...

I am indeed liking it, though it has been very, very hard. Nothing beats trying to learn an entire language spec, a new build environment + debugging tools, and an absolutely friggin *enormous* codebase inside of 5 days! I have spent at least five hours of every evening working on the language and tools after work, and I am just now beginning to feel like I can avoid a straight-out panic attack each morning when I see my cube. This death march will continue for another 2-3 weeks at least, since I still need to absorb everything about the GUI framework they use (and this is where my raw Windows SDK experience will definitely come in handy--I am already pretty familiar with all of the nasty Windows primitives). I imagine I will breathe much easier once I make it to the six-month mark, and hopefully stop feeling like such a retard. Wish me luck! ;-)

las794 said...

Holy mackerel, you're definitely earning your bread! Big tons of luck, dude!