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Old 08-14-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


I have a house built in 1920's and live in pittsburgh. The problem iam having is that all of the mortar in the bricks is Turing to dust leaving piles of dust and sand around the perimeter of the house. I am fairly confident I can make repairs an spot point areas hat need strengthening up. Where iam hitting a roadblock is that mortar used at that time was a mix of lime and sand. And is white. Iam having trouble finding a premade mix that matches. I am hesitant to mix myself not knowing what to get and the ratios. Any concrete guys out there got a formula and product to mix an adequate mortar to stand up to Pgh winters, match, and not damage old brick? Greatly appreciated!

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Old 08-14-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


Probably best to use a Hydraulic lime and sharp sand mix. Usually about 2.5 or 3 to one of lime. NHL 3.5 or NHL 5.0. Needs to mixed up for about 20 minutes in the mixer, and then left for another 20 to fatten up. One way to finish the joints is to hit it with a churn brush the next day.

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Old 08-14-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


Thanks for the rely Stuart. I did a search of hydraulic lime and the photos look right on. One other question I have is once iam done can i I do a wash with muriatic acid to clean off the bricks. I have no doubt than I will need something to clean up mortar stains. Plus the brick that iam working with is textured and previous attempts to point by past owners have left mortar everywhere in spots. If muriatic acid won't work can you suggest anything else. Thanks again for your expertise,

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Old 08-14-2013, 02:40 PM   #4
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


Acid will clean the brickwork, although there are other cleaners on the market now as shown in the link below. Acid will affect the joints, so if used wet the wall down first, and then only leave the acid on for about 5 mins before washing off.
http://www.prosoco.com/NewConstruction
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:45 PM   #5
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


Are you positive of your proper mix? Like you have had your own specific original mortar analyzed? My home was built in 1905 and I have done extensive research on this. The early 1900s (1900-1930-ish) was actually a transition period in mortar technology. Small amounts of Portland cement began to get added to mortars in gradually increasing amounts to increase the strength of the mix from the turn of the century into the 1930. It became a major component of mortar around WW2. Homes built before around 1880-1890 had no Portland cement. Homes built from then until about 1930, depending on exactly when, could have zero Portland Cement or might actually have small to moderate amounts of it.

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Old 08-18-2013, 05:54 AM   #6
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


wish i understoor stuart's english prosoco's a good tip & helps avoid the damage from overuse of HCl acid
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:36 AM   #7
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


Looking at the front and most visual part of the house with seemingly mostly original mortar Is looking like an are near the downspout( surprise surprise) Will need to pointed. There are so e spots where is can see into he house. Not good i know. Iam going to go
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:45 AM   #8
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Continued... Go to my local supply store and see if they offer any service to analyze the original mortar. Shouldn't be too hard to get some because well there's parts that are mostly sand having done their job for many years. I will post pics tomorrow of these areas. Hopefully they can tell me all ill need to get the right mix and sell it to me right there. II did find a place that sells the prosoco products near me too so I will be making a trip there also. Thanks for the replys. I would really like to grind the joints out of the whole front of the house and remortar everything. To make it all uniform. But time is of the essence. Hopefully this can be an ongoing project an I can tackle sections as I go. Thanks again
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:28 AM   #9
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Do yourself favor if you have never done this before... Choose a small and manageable section of wall every time you do it and see how much you can do in about an hour. It is tiring work, you don't realize how much so until you actually try it. This way you have plenty of time to clean up any mistakes before the stuff dries.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


This topic is exactly where I'm at... my house is 1913, and my foundation mortar has popped out and abandoned ship in areas, and I want to tuck point it before the winter hits, so that ice expansions in the large crevices don't make an already bad thing worse. Color-matching isn't an issue for me, at the moment, because someone painted over the foundation, which I intend to look into removing, later, because it's not breathing right, and the paint is breaking away in big chunks around the exterior of the foundation.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:53 AM   #11
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It's probably a lime mortar. What type of foundation is it? Block? Brick?

Also, are you going to excavate and do this from the outside?
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:35 PM   #12
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Pointng 1920's home_ mortar


We used a lime mortar premix from:

www.limeworks.us/ecologic_more.html

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