In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva replaces crumbling mortar in brick front steps.
How to Repoint Brick Steps:
- 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.
- Scratch mortar from the brick joints with a skate-wheel joint raker.
- 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.
- Cut out old mortar using a brick-and-mortar saw.
- Mix new mortar in a mortar tub with a hoe until it’s the consistency of thick peanut butter.
- Vacuum all dust and debris from brick joints.
- Scoop up some mortar onto a pointed trowel and then use tuckpointing trowel to pack mortar into the cleaned-out joints.
- Use a margin trowel to force mortar into the joint between the walkway and bottommost riser.
- To form a rounded mortar joint at the base of each riser, use a convex brick jointer to smooth and shape the mortar.
- Remove excess mortar from the bricks with water and a soft-bristle brush. Work lightly to avoid pulling fresh mortar from the repointed joints.
- Wait two or three days, then clean mortar stains from the bricks with a mixture of water and muriatic acid.