What Is Pointing?
Pointing is a technique of strengthening and repairs of brick masonry or stone masonry mortar joints. In case when old mortar joints crack and disintegrate, then the defective mortar is removed by hand or power tool and replaced with fresh mortar, preferably of the same composition as the original.
There are various types of pointing in construction Flush Pointing, Weathered Pointing, Keyed Pointing, V-Grooved Pointing, Beaded Pointing, Struck Pointing, Recessed Pointing, and Tuck Pointing.
Purpose of Pointing
The pointing work not only protects the mortar joints from the adverse effect of the atmosphere but also improves the appearance of the wall by proving the pattern of the joint, their thickness, colors, and texture prominently.
In the case of externally exposed masonry work joint is considered the weakest and most vulnerable spot from which rainwater or dampness can enter.
Mortar Used For Pointing
Pointing work is usually done with lime mortar or cement mortar.
- Lime mortar for pointing work is done by equal parts of fat lime and fine sand and then grinding the mixture thoroughly, in a mortar mill.
- Cement mortar for pointing work is prepared by mixing cement and sand in proportion of 1:2 or 1:3.
Method of Pointing In Construction
Following are the steps to be followed while doing pointing work.
- Old mortar from the joint is ranked out to a depth of at least 20mm for better bonding.
- Remove all dust from masonry joints by using wire mesh.
- Wash the joint surface with clean water and kept it wet for a few hours.
Fill the mortar in these joints in the desired shape to cover all joint space.
- Press the mortar into joints with a thin trowel still; it sticks to the old mortar surface.
- Complete all joints similarly. The water curing must be done for at least three days if a lime mortar is used and ten days if cement mortar used
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Following are the usual types of pointing in construction,
- Flush Pointing
- Weathered Pointing
- Keyed Pointing
- V-Grooved Pointing
- Beaded Pointing
- Struck Pointing
- Recessed Pointing
- Tuck Pointing
1. Flush Pointing
In the flush pointing, the mortar filled and pressed into a mortar joint. After that, it is finished off flush with the edges of the bricks or stones, to give a smooth appearance. Then the final finish is given by trimming the edges neatly with a trowel and a straight edge.
Flush pointing is also done by wiping over the finished pointing with the trowel or piece of rough cloth.
- It does not make a good appearance.
- But it is durable as it aborts the chances of accumulation of dust, water, etc.
- It is the most popular type of pointing used in building construction.
2. Weathered Pointing
In Weathered Pointing the mortar is pressed into a joint, and while the mortar is still fresh the top of the horizontal joints is neatly pressed back by 3-6 mm with the pointing tool. They look like sloping from the top of the joint to the bottom of the joint.
3. Keyed Pointing
In these Keyed types of pointing the mortar is pressed into joints by trowel and well finished off with the face of the masonry surface. After that, the joint is pressed back by small-diameter steel lengthwise (6 mm dia). It will form a curved arc groove into a mortar joint. The vertical joint also finishes similar manner.
In this type, mortar is first pressed into joints
- A semi-circular curve-type notch is formed by a tool or small steel bar.
- These types of points are providing an excellent appearance to the wall.
- Keyed pointing are mostly used for superior-type work, particularly for vertical joints of walls.
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4. V-Grooved Pointing (V Pointing)
V pointing is similar to keyed pointing work. The mortar filled and pressed into a joint. After that, the V-shaped groove is formed in the joint by the use of V shape tool.
5. Beaded Pointing
In Beaded Pointing, the mortar is pressed into a masonry joint and concave grooves are formed into a joint by using a steel tool having a concave shape. Beaded pointing gives an excellent appearance to the mortar joint but is liable to get damaged quickly.
6. Struck Pointing
In this pointing, the mortar is first filled and pressed to match the face of brick masonry work, and then the top edge of the joint is pressed inside around 10 mm compared to the bottom corner. It will form a slope from top to bottom so that that rain wall will drain off quickly.
7. Recessed Pointing
These types of pointing are generally not suitable for buildings in exposed situations because they do not readily shed water.
- Recessed pointing’s are by pressing mortar back from edges by 5 mm or more.
- The pressed pointing face is kept vertical
- It is advisable to use only bricks with excellent frost resistance should be used with recessed joints.
- It Gives a good appearance.
8. Tuck Pointing
- In these types of pointing the mortar joint is filled and pressed to the level surface of masonry.
- While the mortar is still fresh, grooves are cut in the mortar joint. The slot size of 5mm in width and 3mm in depth. Ti is then filled with white cement putty and kept projecting beyond the face of the joint by 3 mm. in case these projections are done in a mortar then it is called bastard pointing or half tuckpointing.
Advantages of Pointing work
Pointing work of brick masonry is the most effective way of restoring the condition and physical appearance of a building structure, and it forms an essential part of overall and ongoing building maintenance.
The following are the advantages of pointing work,
- Improve structure integrity of the building structure.
- Provide weatherproof external walls.
- Restore overall building appearance.
- Maintain or significantly increase the overall value of your home or property
- Reduce any ongoing maintenance on your brickwork
Disadvantages of Pointing in Construction
- Pointing work can be time taking process.
- It requires skilled labour.
- The pointing can be easily deteriorate due to weathering action.
In Conclusion pointing is a crucial aspect of masonry and brickwork which involves filling and finishing the joints between bricks or stones for enhancing their appearance, weather resistance, and durability.
There are various types of pointing techniques available, each offering unique characteristics and visual effects, firstly beaded pointing is a method where a thin bead or rope like shape of mortar is formed along the joint, this technique creates a neat and consistent appearance, adding a decorative touch to the brickwork.
The beaded shape helps to channel water away from the joint, preventing moisture penetration and potential damage to the structure, beaded pointing is commonly used in traditional and heritage building as well as in contemporary design where a more refined finish is desired.
On the other hand, struck pointing involves striking or cutting the excess mortar from the joints leaving a flush finish, this technique creates a clean and crisp look, highlighting the individual bricks or stones in the construction.
Struck pointing is often employed in more rustic or informal settings as it gives a slightly rougher texture and emphasizes the natural character of the masonry, it also helps to shed water effectively, reducing the risk of water ingress and promoting the longevity of the brickwork.
How much does pointing cost?
The cost of pointing depends on the size of the building or structure, the type of masonry material, and the extent of the pointing needed.
How long does it take to complete a pointing job?
The length of time needed to complete a pointing job depends on the size of the building or structure and the extent of the pointing needed. A small job may take a few days, while a larger job may take several weeks.
What are the signs that pointing is needed?
Signs that pointing is needed include crumbling or cracked mortar joints, water infiltration, or a general deterioration of the masonry materials.
How is pointing done?
Pointing is typically done using a pointing trowel and mortar mix. The old mortar is removed from the joints, and the new mortar is applied, shaping it to match the surrounding masonry materials.
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