In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva replaces crumbling mortar in brick front steps.

How to Repoint Brick 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.



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