How to Repair Crumbly Mortar
LESLIE: Henry in New York is calling in with a grout question. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
HENRY: Well, I have a building that was built in 1898 and it has some of the grout – well, the mortar between the bricks – that I noticed that were very crumbly.
TOM: OK. That’s pretty typical.
HENRY: Yeah, I would think so. Probably they didn’t have very good cement in those days.
TOM: Well, it’s 100 years old, you know.
TOM: I expect by the time that we all get to be 100, we’ll be kind of crumbly ourself.
HENRY: Yes. What I was wondering is how deep do I go and take that out? What if it’s crumbly all the way to the whole thickness of the brick?
TOM: Yeah, probably won’t be but you’re going to go in about half of the distance on the brick and repoint it.
TOM: And that’s not an unusual project. And there are special masonry trowels for this that are very narrow and allow you to press the new mortar mix right in there.
HENRY: Uh-huh. And that would be like a slick whatever-they-call-it?
TOM: Mortar; a mortar mix.
HENRY: Yeah, mortar mix. Yes, OK.
Now, someone told me that I should just use Portland cement and sand and omit the lime because the lime will draw in moisture.
TOM: I don’t know. I’ve never heard that.
TOM: No and I think the lime makes it a lot easier to handle the product, too.
HENRY: Oh, OK.
HENRY: Let’s say I have several rows that are crumbly like that.
HENRY: Should I work from the bottom up or for the – from the top down?
TOM: I mean you probably could do it all at once. It’s just several rows; that’s not that much.
HENRY: Oh, OK. That sounds great.
TOM: Alright, Henry. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.