Brick and masonry buildings last a long time. Unfortunately, the mortar that binds them in place doesn't last as long. To maintain the structural integrity of brick buildings, clean and refill the joints approximately every 20 years using a process called brick tuckpointing. Specialized pointing trowels and other tuckpointing tools make this tedious task much easier. Today mechanized tuckpointing tools are available to make the job go even faster.
Mechanized Tuckpointing Tools
Removing the mortar cleanly and quickly is the goal of operating any tuckpointing equipment. Because the materials used in mortar quickly grind away any unprotected metal surfaces, tuckpointing tools must have protective coatings that enable them to withstand the friction. Modern technology has enabled manufacturers to bond diamond chips to cutting blades to make the cutting blades more efficient and long lasting. A tuckpointing grinder allows the technician to cut into the old mortar up to 1 1/4 inches deep. The grinder should have shields to protect the worker from flying debris, yet the shields should allow the worker to see the joint on which he is working. Any mechanized tuckpointing tools used to work on large projects must work for long periods without overheating. Another common tuckpointing tool is the mortar gun, which attaches to a drill and forces mortar from a 3-qt. hopper into the joints.
Dust Removal Tools
When tuckpointing a building, removing the old mortar is just half the battle. The other challenge is what to do with the dust and debris resulting from the tuckpointing project. New tools offer dust collection bags built into the tool. Other tools are separate units designed to quickly and efficiently clean up the mess. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers strict guidelines for dust removal. Any tuckpointing tools that remove dust must meet those standards.
Handheld tuckpointing tools are still important for the job. Whether used for detail work or for lack of electricity on the job site, the tuckpointing job often comes down to hand labor. A tuckpointing plugging chisel and hammer can efficiently clean out a mortar joint. A variety of pointing trowels work the mortar into the joints. The trowels are different widths and are flexible, which makes it easier to work the mortar into the joints. Jointers and slickers create a finished appearance to the refinished mortar. Jointers and slickers are available to create concave, convex, flat and grapevine finishes.