Brick and Stone Building Repointing, Fireplace Mortar Repair

We all enjoy the beauty of old brickwork in buildings. Plus, of course, nothing compares with the comfort of sitting by the fireplace when it's cold outside. It is always hard to keep in mind that objects made from such durable & strong material require maintenance. Undeniably, stones and bricks might last for centuries, but the mortar that helps them stick together needs regular renovations and repairs. Since the 18th century, tuckpointing remains the best way to do it.

What is Tuckpointing?

Technically, tuckpointing and brick repointing are not the same techniques, although they both imply repairing mortar between stones. Basically, the first one is more of a renovation process, while the second one calls for more substantial actions that involve replacement of the damaged mortar parts. But let's get a more detailed look at both of them to clear the air.


  • Renovation process
  • A special technique used in 17th-20th centuries to imitate «rubbed brick» or «gauged work» (bricks were carved into precise shapes and layered with incredible accuracy) to make it look more expensive.
  • The goal is to replace the current mortar in the joint with two layers of the new mortar. The first one should have the color of the neighboring bricks, and the second one is a narrow ribbon of lime mortar that should be in contrast with the surroundings (commonly, it's white, but it also might be black, red, or brown).
  • Usually, it is a cosmetic procedure that aims at improving the design or repairing small marks of erosion or weathering.


  • Restoration procedure
  • Technique that is applied when the damage has already become noticeable (e.g. mortar has cracks, missing parts, etc.).
  • The old layer of mortar is partially removed and replaced with the fresh one.
  • This technique is never used for the object that doesn't need repairment. The word «repointing» itself means that the old bricklaying pointing has to be «re» pointed.

Technically, both procedures are based on partially replacing the mortar, so you can use them if you want a brick mortar repair. So, you can perform either «chimney repointing» or «chimney tuckpointing» depending on the purpose you try to achieve and the current state of the mortar.

Why Would You Need a Tuckpointing?

Many people opt for bricks and stones due to the longevity and durability of these materials. Surely, they've proven their reliability over the centuries. Yet, if you put them on one another, it won't do the job, you need a substance to glue them together.

So, mortar here is an element that you need to keep an eye on. Used to protect the bricks from mold, insects, moisture, gas & smoke leaks, or other unpleasant surprises, it starts to lose its useful properties after 20-30 years. The consequences of negligence in this respect can be harmful to both your health and your budget:

  • Water (snow, rain, condensates) comes in and travels through the air pockets or any other cavities, causing harm due to freezing/melting process or simply creating a moist environment. It leads to the appearance of cracks and holes that insects come through, accompanied by mold or mildew.
  • Chimneys also constantly suffer from the damaging influence of the harsh chemicals, and as the corrosion exhausts the mortar, the possibility of gas or smoke leaking into your home becomes more than real.
  • With time, bricks and stones begin to crack, crumble, and spall. Surely, you don't want the joints to become so loose that the bricks start to fall down. It is dangerous. Plus, the only repair option in this case is to tear the whole brickwork down and rebuilt it from scratch.

Tuckpointing Service in Chicago

«Game of Thrones» taught us that «Winter is coming», and «The Three Little Pigs» showed us that stones and bricks are the only reliable materials when it comes to strength and durability. When you live in Chicago, with its cold winters, you cannot underestimate the importance of these revelations. Thus, it is nice to have local masonry specialists who know what your bricks and mortar are going through. 312masonry, INC is ready to:

  • Examine the joints and determine if you need tuckpointing or repointing.
  • Perform all kinds of renovations or restorations, including building repointing (or a brick wall repointing), fireplace mortar repair, repointing of brick stairs, and many others.

Repointing old brickwork regularly means strengthening your house (or significant parts of it), saving your money, and avoiding health issues. Put your trust in the experienced and knowledgeable professional who are willing to provide you with an excellent service and a personal approach.

Got a question? Call us on +1 773 297 7883

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