How to Repoint Brick Steps
Replacing crumbling mortar with This Old House general contractor Tom Silva
In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva replaces crumbling mortar in brick front steps.
1. Use hammer and cold chisel to carefully chip old, loose mortar from between bricks. Remove mortar to a depth of ¾ inch to 1 inch.
2. Scratch mortar from the brick joints with a skate-wheel joint raker.
3. To grind mortar from the joints, use a 4-inch angle grinder fitted with a diamond-impregnated blade. Capture dust while grinding with a wet/dry vacuum.
4. Cut out old mortar using a brick-and-mortar saw.
5. Mix new mortar in a mortar tub with a hoe until it's the consistency of thick peanut butter.
6. Vacuum all dust and debris from brick joints.
7. Scoop up some mortar onto a pointed trowel and then use tuckpointing trowel to pack mortar into the cleaned-out joints.
8. Use a margin trowel to force mortar into the joint between the walkway and bottommost riser.
9. To form a rounded mortar joint at the base of each riser, use a convex brick jointer to smooth and shape the mortar.
10. Remove excess mortar from the bricks with water and a soft-bristle brush. Work lightly to avoid pulling fresh mortar from the repointed joints.
11. Wait two or three days, then clean mortar stains from the bricks with a mixture of water and muriatic acid.