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Old 12-30-2016, 08:32 AM   #1
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Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


I have a brick foundation that is need of repointing. It appears the whole thing (about 910 sq. ft.) needs to be repointed and add a couple wall braces. Since this is labor intensive, I am planning on doing it myself and have been researching what type of mortar to use. I have been seeing type N or O mortars recommended, but cannot verify if there is a difference of the type to use on the Interior basement.

My questions are:
1. Would type N suffice for a 1910 brick foundation (bricks are yellow-clay?)
2. Would I use something different for the interior foundation (basement)?
3. Is there a different process when planning to repoint entire walls?
4. Any thoughts on how much time this would take?

The process I am currently planning to do is use type N and clean out (a lot of the existing mortar is crumbling away) the joints to a depth of 1” and then vacuum out any loose dust, working from the bottom up, in 2-3’ heights.

Thank you for any comments/thoughts!

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Old 12-31-2016, 07:52 AM   #2
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Re: Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


we can usually get 200sf per man/day however we use rotary carbide bits to rout the joints & mason socks to installl,,, diamond blades are a no-no as they can likely cause brick damage in the hands of the uninitiated,,, https://www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/media/6...ntingGuide.pdf

in or outside makes no difference,,, obviously wet the jnt prior to placing mortar so the dry cavity/brick won't suck wtr out of the fresh mortar thereby weakening it.

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Old 01-02-2017, 09:35 AM   #3
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Re: Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


During high school I worked for a historic restoration company and we used a whole range of techniques to repair 1600's-1900's brick. The earlier stuff (e.g. "Salmon" brick) required "soft" mortars using lime, aggregate. For the "newer" stuff we used either N, O, or S depending on grade and, more importantly, brick and mortar joint composition -- want to match the mortar to the existing material psi/strength.

In your application, Type N should suffice for both interior and exterior (if exterior is below grade I'd add a waterproofing sealant later). Generally, "yellow" or "white" bricks (rough rule of thumb) are "softer" than "reds" so you need to keep the psi down in the mortar mix (avoid Type S).

Remember to wear dust masks -- to protect your lungs from silicosis.

Last edited by 39032637; 01-02-2017 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:06 AM   #4
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Re: Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


waterproofing sealants are generally asphalt based & troweled onto cured surfaces,,, imo, better mtls are meadows, sonneborn, & pacific polymers
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:36 PM   #5
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Re: Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


"Generally, "yellow" or "white" bricks (rough rule of thumb) are "softer" than "reds" so you need to keep the psi down in the mortar mix (avoid Type S)."

This is misleading, somewhat. If the brick color is consistent through the batch, it is true, but if the brick has a range from yellow to red, then the redder brick are softer than the tans, i.e. salmons. They were generally used for internal wythes, and the harder yellow were used as facing brick.


You need to determine if the existing mortar is a lime mortar or a portland cement mortar. If lime, you will need to use lime, if portland based, used the softest mortar you can. Portland mortar tucked over lime mortar will destroy the wall.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:11 AM   #6
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Re: Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
"Generally, "yellow" or "white" bricks (rough rule of thumb) are "softer" than "reds" so you need to keep the psi down in the mortar mix (avoid Type S)."

This is misleading, somewhat. If the brick color is consistent through the batch, it is true, but if the brick has a range from yellow to red, then the redder brick are softer than the tans, i.e. salmons. They were generally used for internal wythes, and the harder yellow were used as facing brick.


You need to determine if the existing mortar is a lime mortar or a portland cement mortar. If lime, you will need to use lime, if portland based, used the softest mortar you can. Portland mortar tucked over lime mortar will destroy the wall.

That may be true for modern brick manufacturing and more advanced firing techniques, but for historic:

(1) "Brick Composition

"However a clay which burns to a red colour will provide a stronger brick than clay which burns to a white or yellow brick.

http://www.brickdirectory.co.uk/html/brick_history.html


(2) "Iron oxide:

The presence of iron oxide increases impermeability and durability of brick.The color of brick depend upon iron oxide and color changes from light yellow to orange and red as iron oxide goes up to 8%."

http://engg-material.blogspot.com/20...-function.html
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


No, actually it is more true for historical and handmade brick. The distinction you are making is between TYPES of brick, the one I am making is between bricks of a type.

For example in the attached picture, there are modern Mexican handmade, wood fired brick on the left and Old Chicago commons on the right. Of each pair, the one on the left is pink, the one on the right is buff. Of each pair, the ones on the right when struck together will "clink". The ones on the left will "clunk". The buff is higher fired and more dense.

Note that there are not 4 TYPES of brick in the picture, just 2. If you buy a pallet of either, you will have both colors of brick on the pallet.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:51 PM   #8
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Re: Repointing Brick Foundation - Mortar Type Different for interior? Process?


Thank you for all the responses. In looking at the time requirement, I did reach out to a recommended mason for a quote. He suggested to clean out the mortar and then do full coat of "spec mix"? covering up all the brick.

Now I do like the look of the brick, but the basement is not finished, nor will it ever be- so I am won't be too heartbroken if the brick is covered. From doing research though, is this not advised? Doesn’t the brick need to "breathe"?

I guess the "goal" would be to have the fix last at least 10 years as we would like to redo the foundation with a finished basement.

I will try and get a picture of the brick posted here in the next day or so.

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