Repairing brick grout ideas?

Uavmx

Well-known member
Sep 5, 2016
87
Lancaster, CA
#1
Hello,

See the pictures, my brick is in good shape, I like it, but the grout in between is really deteriorated. What's the best way to get it nice and smooth and filled in again?

I've seen the tubes in the stores, it seems like that can add up really fast is I have to do every brick? But probably cleanest?

Anyways, any help on best way to repair?



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duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
#3
I would hire a professional and regrout the whole thing.. It will likely not be too cheap but I don't see a good way for that to be a DIT project unless you are VERY familiar with masonry work.
 

LI poolguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 16, 2013
184
Long Island, NY
#4
There are many shortcuts, but the real way to repair is to chip/grind out every joint and repoint with the proper mortar and a tuck pointing trowel, then finish it off with a brick jointer tool. Can be very tedious and you'll be on your knees all day (and messy mortar chips in the pool). When removing the old joints, you may find loose bricks too. If not careful when refilling the joints, you can actually stain the brick with new mortar as well, and it will not look pleasing. As mentioned, you may want to hire a mason to repair it correctly.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,013
Tallahassee, FL
#5
I would hire a professional and regrout the whole thing.. It will likely not be too cheap but I don't see a good way for that to be a DIT project unless you are VERY familiar with masonry work.
There are many shortcuts, but the real way to repair is to chip/grind out every joint and repoint with the proper mortar and a tuck pointing trowel, then finish it off with a brick jointer tool. Can be very tedious and you'll be on your knees all day (and messy mortar chips in the pool). When removing the old joints, you may find loose bricks too. If not careful when refilling the joints, you can actually stain the brick with new mortar as well, and it will not look pleasing. As mentioned, you may want to hire a mason to repair it correctly.
We both learned something today! Listen to these two! THEY are the experts in this kind of thing!

Kim:kim:
 

Uavmx

Well-known member
Sep 5, 2016
87
Lancaster, CA
#6
Come on, I diy everything. If another human being can do it why not me? The brick is structurally sound, I just want it smoother! I'm looking for product, technique ideas, not "pay someone else". I've ripped out tile, removed a fire place, 15 foot wall, laid down 2k sqft of pergo, all new base board, built a 40ft patio cover, roofed it, cut a hole in the stucco for a dog door, rebuilt the pool heater, rebuilt my house furnace all in the last 4 months....i really don't pay for other people for much of anything. So, what's the best way to do this myself!?


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duraleigh

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Sebring, Florida
#7
Well, since this is a forum of many, many DIY folks who have no professional skills, I guess you will have to contact a mason to learn how.

Please share your results when you do this project.....many of us will learn from it.

Johnbridge.com is the best tile forum on the net.......those folks may have some good pointers.
 

LI poolguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 16, 2013
184
Long Island, NY
#8
In order to do this yourself, the tools needed are...

Tuck Pointing Trowels - 1/4", 3/8" and possibly 1/2"
Brick Jointer - 1/2" x 3\8" or 5/8" x 3/4" (they are double sided, each side has it's own size)
Brick Trowel - 5-1/2" is the easiest to work with
Cold Steel Chisel - 1/4"
Lump Hammer - 3lb
Grinder w/ a 4-1/2" masonry wheel (diamond blade, stay away from those black carborundum blades)
Shop Vac - small 5 gal is fine
Blue Painters Tape - place on the bricks to prevent the new mortar from staining the edges.
Safety Glasses
Knee Pads - gel filled are the best or one of those soft blue colored kneeling pads found in the garden section of Lowes
Small Mortar Tub - or something to mix the mortar in where it's easy to get it out
Mortar - premixed is fine (sand & mortar, not premixed as in wet). Number of bags will be determined by the size of the area being worked on. I like to use Type S (not Type N).

Start by using the chisel and lump hammer to remove the existing mortar. Never use a hardened steel hammer (lump hammer is best) on a chisel; you'll ruin the hammer & it'll bounce off the chisel possibly causing injury. Aim away from the pool to keep the chips in of the water to a minimum. If you find this tedious, use the grinder on the joints. Be careful using the grinder, the torque will inadvertently twist it in your hands and you may damage the brick. If using the grinder, wear a dust mask. After a section is done, clean out every joint with the shop vac. Mix the mortar to a consistency where it will hold together (not crumble), but not too wet where it's messy. Remember, the brick will draw the water out of the mortar like a sponge, this is what causes the staining. Mix small amounts at a time, never more than you'll think you'll use in a short time. If the mortar starts to get hard, it is NOT recommended to add more water. Make a new batch.

Using the 5-1/2" brick trowel scoop out a small portion using the edge of the trowel (do not scoop it out like a shovel). Carefully use the tuck pointing trowel to gently push the mortar off the trowel into the joint. Once the joint is almost filled, use the tuck pointer to push it in there real good. Then repeat the first step to "top off" the joint. Let the joint sit a while and then pass the brick jointer over the joint. This creates the smooth concave joint. If the joint is too "shiny" after using the jointer, lightly pass a clean dry paint brush over the joint, this will dull the shine a bit. Clean off the edges & remove the tape. Then repeat this step another 500 times or however many joints there are.
 

Uavmx

Well-known member
Sep 5, 2016
87
Lancaster, CA
#9
In order to do this yourself, the tools needed are...

Tuck Pointing Trowels - 1/4", 3/8" and possibly 1/2"
Brick Jointer - 1/2" x 3\8" or 5/8" x 3/4" (they are double sided, each side has it's own size)
Brick Trowel - 5-1/2" is the easiest to work with
Cold Steel Chisel - 1/4"
Lump Hammer - 3lb
Grinder w/ a 4-1/2" masonry wheel (diamond blade, stay away from those black carborundum blades)
Shop Vac - small 5 gal is fine
Blue Painters Tape - place on the bricks to prevent the new mortar from staining the edges.
Safety Glasses
Knee Pads - gel filled are the best or one of those soft blue colored kneeling pads found in the garden section of Lowes
Small Mortar Tub - or something to mix the mortar in where it's easy to get it out
Mortar - premixed is fine (sand & mortar, not premixed as in wet). Number of bags will be determined by the size of the area being worked on. I like to use Type S (not Type N).

Start by using the chisel and lump hammer to remove the existing mortar. Never use a hardened steel hammer (lump hammer is best) on a chisel; you'll ruin the hammer & it'll bounce off the chisel possibly causing injury. Aim away from the pool to keep the chips in of the water to a minimum. If you find this tedious, use the grinder on the joints. Be careful using the grinder, the torque will inadvertently twist it in your hands and you may damage the brick. If using the grinder, wear a dust mask. After a section is done, clean out every joint with the shop vac. Mix the mortar to a consistency where it will hold together (not crumble), but not too wet where it's messy. Remember, the brick will draw the water out of the mortar like a sponge, this is what causes the staining. Mix small amounts at a time, never more than you'll think you'll use in a short time. If the mortar starts to get hard, it is NOT recommended to add more water. Make a new batch.

Using the 5-1/2" brick trowel scoop out a small portion using the edge of the trowel (do not scoop it out like a shovel). Carefully use the tuck pointing trowel to gently push the mortar off the trowel into the joint. Once the joint is almost filled, use the tuck pointer to push it in there real good. Then repeat the first step to "top off" the joint. Let the joint sit a while and then pass the brick jointer over the joint. This creates the smooth concave joint. If the joint is too "shiny" after using the jointer, lightly pass a clean dry paint brush over the joint, this will dull the shine a bit. Clean off the edges & remove the tape. Then repeat this step another 500 times or however many joints there are.
Awesome! Thank you very much! That's the detail I was hoping for! Sounds like a pain....

Why grind it out? If I'm looking to just fill it to be smooth, and I don't have any loose bricks, why not just fill?

Alternatively, and probably more expensive then mixing and filling, has anyone tried this stuff? Would it meet the need, using it out of a tube? Mortar Repair | QUIKRETE® 2017


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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,515
Tucson, AZ
#10
Awesome! Thank you very much! That's the detail I was hoping for! Sounds like a pain....

Why grind it out? If I'm looking to just fill it to be smooth, and I don't have any loose bricks, why not just fill?

Alternatively, and probably more expensive then mixing and filling, has anyone tried this stuff? Would it meet the need, using it out of a tube? Mortar Repair | QUIKRETE® 2017


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Because you need to get down to mortar that is structurally stable. Mortar "rots" or softens over time and typically falls out in chunks. So you need to to re-point the brick work by first grinding or chiseling down to mortar that is still good and then refill from there. Also, to keep the bricks from soaking up the water in the mortar (and thereby weakening the mortar before it has time to set and cure), you soak the bricks with water before working. Think of a brick like a sponge - a dry sponge soaks up a lot of water but a wet sponge does not.

I remember my grandmother having the brickwork on her home repointed...it took a crew of 5-6 guys to get the job done and it was a lot of detail work with each of the guys having a specific task. I believe they spend an entire day just grinding out all the old mortar and making sure everything was prepped for the repointing work. You might want to consider bribing some friends with pizza and beer to help you out....
 

LI poolguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 16, 2013
184
Long Island, NY
#11
Awesome! Thank you very much! That's the detail I was hoping for! Sounds like a pain....

Why grind it out? If I'm looking to just fill it to be smooth, and I don't have any loose bricks, why not just fill?

Alternatively, and probably more expensive then mixing and filling, has anyone tried this stuff? Would it meet the need, using it out of a tube? Mortar Repair | QUIKRETE® 2017


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As mentioned, if you don't get down deep enough in the joint, it will just eventually pop out. You want the new joint to be as stable as possible. And yes, it's extremely tedious and a royal PITA. By hiring a mason, your knees will thank you!