Tuck Pointing

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All chimneys need repair sometime during their lifetime. A chimney deteriorated by constant exposure to the weather can be a potential safety hazard. Weather-damaged lining systems, flue obstructions, and loose masonry materials all present a threat to residents. Regular chimney maintenance is essential to prevent damage, deterioration, and high-cost chimney repairs.

Even well-built masonry walls require occasional repairs. Mortar joints that are exposed to the weather typically need to be tuckpointed every 30 years or so.

Cracking, the most common masonry malady, results from uneven settling of footings or from expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. Expansion cracks usually occur with uniform width and often follow joints between bricks or blocks. Settling cracks taper along a mostly vertical path, are widest at the top, and end as hairline cracks near the bottom of the wall.

Horizontal cracking may appear in basement walls made of concrete blocks. Usually the cause is pressure from backfill soil and water pushing in from the outside. If the wall bulges noticeably, you have a serious problem. You may need to dig out the backfill and re-lay the blocks-a job most suited to a professional contractor. The same procedures are used to repair a cracked mortar line and for tuckpointing. For a long-lasting tuckpointing job, chisel or grind out all the joints. If your grout lines generally are worn and cracking, you need to tuckpoint the entire area or the problem will worsen rapidly. Tuckpointing is painstaking, slow work.

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