Pointing, the cement between bricks is almost literally the glue that holds your home together.
Easy to mix, malleable when laid, it hardens to provide adhesion between the courses of bricks and acts as a waterproof barrier, keeping the outdoors, well, outdoors.
From about 1925 most brick properties were built with a cavity so that in the event of any rain water soaking through the bricks or making its way in via missing pointing, it would drip harmlessly into the gap and not be able to soak through to the inside wall.
So far so good.
Unfortunately old-time builders hadn’t allowed for two issues:
- Wall ties. These hold the inside and outside walls together. They are little strips of metal that do their job well but may rust. This might allow rain to travel from the outside to the inside wall
- Insulation. Once the cavity is full of absorbent insulation it can act like a sponge and again, allow water to travel inside the property.
Once dampness is on the inside wall, the results can be horrendous – damaged decorations, mould, cold patches and potentially even health issues caused by mould spores.
It can always be rectified but this is often costly and can take many months.
Try if you possibly can, to prevent it in the first place.
One of the easiest things to do is to inspect the exterior of your property from time to time to check for any cracks in bricks or loose/missing mortar i.e. the pointing.
If you spot anything, some easily applied cement to the affected area can resolve the potential problem for decades. Small areas can be repaired by hand by anybody who is confident at DIY, simply by working cement in to the affected area. Where the defect is larger or if a good quality finish is required it is best to call in the professionals.
Loose mortar is cut away to allow for a clean surface that the right amount of cement can be applied to, it is then expertly shaped to provide a matching, attractive and weatherproof finish.
Repointing can be carried out relatively cheaply and easily but as one expert puts it “whatever you do, don’t just ignore a problem. It will never fix itself and the issue can only get worse.” So says Aydin of Worthing company Cavitech-UK who have been repairing brickwork throughout the UK for over 20 years.
So, when you next get a moment, take a walk around your property to see any areas that might need attention before the wet weather begins.