Month: December 2018

Tuckpointing: Do it Yourself or Hire a Pro

Quick Fixes for Brickwork

Using tuck pointing to repair brick mortar joints gives the appearance of fine joints. Over a period of time, the brick mortar deteriorates. Tuck pointing removes and replaces the deteriorated mortar. New mortar is closely matched to the original mortar which matches the color of the brickwork. Then, a fine line of contrasting putty is placed down the center of the joint to give the appearance of fine joints. Tuck pointing is usually performed on old buildings or homes to repair damaged mortar joints in existing brickwork. Many times the bricks may be in good condition. However, in some cases, entire bricks, as well as the mortar, are repaired or replaced. Mentioned below are a few tuck pointing terms.

Pointing is the process that involves filling mortar joints during new brickwork construction. It also refers to the actual mortar joints, aka the spaces between bricks, within a finished brickwork wall.

Re-pointing is the process of removing damaged mortar from joints by replacing it with new mortar. This part of the process does not involve adding the thin line of putty that is part of the tuck pointing process.

The tuck pointing process involves removing deteriorated mortar from the brickwork joints by replacing it with new mortar closely matched to the color of existing brickwork. Once the mortar is replaced, thin lines of contrasting putty are placed down the center of the new joints. This gives the appearance of fine mortar joints. Though the tuck pointing and re-pointing terms are commonly interchanged, they are two different processes.


DIY Instructions for a quick fix brick repair project

Quick fixes for brickwork are often attempted by do-it-yourself, aka DIY, enthusiasts. Typically, quick fixes involve purchasing the necessary mortar mix, brushes, caulking tube, and applicator tool. Prepare the mortar joints using a hammer and chisel to remove any deteriorated mortar to a depth of less than an inch. It is suggested to use a ¼ to ¾ inch depth but deeper depths may be required. For DIY mortar projects, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves. Use firm pressure when applying the caulking tube. Avoid rust stains by using a synthetic brush instead of a wire brush. Before the hardening phase, most mortar repair products can be safely removed with a damp cloth.

However, to obtain optimum results for large projects, mortar repair should be performed by skilled experts. Whether the repair work involves interior or exterior brickwork, the ultimate goal is to achieve expert looking results. For large projects, hire a tuck pointing professional. DIY projects will cost more than $1 per square foot not including tool rental. Professional tuck pointing rates can cost between $9 to $15 dollars per square foot.

Hiring a Tuck Pointer

Hire a professional tuck pointer using recommendations and references. Check their credentials and ask for written estimates and a written contract. Check for licenses, bonding, and insurance. Ensure that they are reputable and qualified to perform the service. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Pest Control: Prevention is the Best Medicine

In some climates, avoiding pest problems in your home can be a year-round battle. Within most U.S. regions, all types of insects and pests can be found. Pests can thrive inside and outside of a home and are a constant nuisance. But during the winter season with frigid temperatures, in order to survive, insects go into a dormant state. They seek warm sheltered places both inside and outside. Not all of them will make it through the winter season. However, most of them survive until the warmer spring season weather.

Though insects do serve a purpose in the world, most people consider them to be bothersome pests. Another household pest, rodents can be a constant problem. During cold weather, they will make every effort to enter your home. Below are a few tips to prevent pest problems on a year-round basis. Whether you choose to use natural methods of pest control or to use chemicals, there are certain preventive steps that you can take to rid your home of pests.

Seal all entry points and replace worn weather seal or weather stripping. Add new or replace worn door sweeps.  Insects are attracted to water. Remove standing water inside and outside of your home.  Don’t leave tires in the yard where water can collect.  Inside your home, don’t allow trash to collect. Regularly empty your indoor trash receptacles.   Outside of the home, ensure that garbage bins are tightly covered and placed away from entry points.

Remove rotting wood from both inside and outside of your home. Place fireplace wood at least 25 feet away from the entrances to your home.  Seal around pipes and vents which are entry points for rodents and bugs. Seal all gaps, cracks, and crevices where pests can enter your home.

Keep food storage areas clean and all food sealed in containers. Clean the kitchen countertops and remove traces of sugar, grease, or oil. Bugs are attracted to grease and sugar so keep appliances clean.  Remove clutter, oily rags, and newspapers which are fire hazards and they attract pests. Clear out storage boxes or check them regularly to deter pests.   Check clothing, paper, furniture, and other items brought into your home. They may be carrying pests that will find a place to live inside your home.

Replace damaged screens and check the vents and other entrance points in your home. Check the attic vents and the chimney cap. Replace damaged caps and install screens to keep rodents such as bats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, or birds from nesting in your chimney. Fix damaged window screens and put screens over vents to keep out rodents.

For insect or rodent removal, most people use natural methods or chemical products to remove them from their homes. Don’t leave harmful chemicals within the reach of children or family pets.  You can purchase baited bug traps and mouse traps at most big box retail stores or hardware stores. Natural pest control is a safer alternative. Prevention is the best method to deter pests.

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