Repointing area of bricks on a Victorian Arched Porch

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Rosemary Anderson, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. Rosemary Anderson

    Rosemary Anderson New Member

    I would like to repoint some of the bricks on my Victorian Redbrick Porch. some of the gaps are very deep nearly to the depth of the bricks in some places but it is a double brick porch the inside is fine.
    Having looked this up on U tube it appears to be saying that in older properties the original Mortar would have been sand and lime not sand and cement? Using sand and cement could cause the bricks in the arch to crack. This has rather put my off trying to do this in case I get the mixture of cement/sand to water wrong.
    No one I have contacted seems interested in doing this job as it is quite a small job that is why I decided to have a go but should I leave it to the experts, if I can find one or have a go I am old but quite good a DIY any constructive advice would be gratefully received
     
  2. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    Buy premixed lime mortar bag.
    Cover the brick face with duck tape. Wang the mix in. Finish the joints (polish off smooth) remove tape.

    Feel like I'm repeating today.. Ha
     
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  3. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Screwfix Select

  4. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    Some places will do a pre mix as suggested above, but can also colour match within reason to a sample.
     
  5. Rosemary Anderson

    Rosemary Anderson New Member

    Thank you everyone for your help I will buy Lime Mortar and have ago!
     
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  6. GRH

    GRH Member

    Excellent decision! Take your time, don't rush - pointing is quite therapeutic.
     
  7. GRH

    GRH Member

    Sir, I must protest! This is a Victorian building we are talking about here. One does not 'wang the mix in', one 'repoints the brickwork with care and respect'. Wang is what one does with wonky new builds with 1,000 plus item snag lists. :)
     
  8. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    Ha.. Yeah.

    Tbh I've done loads and covering bricks with masonry masking tape or duck tape pays dividend big time. Looks amazing even if you are a bit messy. Bricks are spotlessly clean .
     
  9. Rosemary Anderson

    Rosemary Anderson New Member

    I contacted Lime- Mortars and received a very complex reply from them that had obviously been cut and pasted from their site and meant for people who had a lot more expertise than I have. It left me thoroughly confused as to the grade of Lime Mortar I needed. I might try to ring them and see if when they realise my lack of knowledge in the subject of lime mortars they might be able to give me a bit more advice ie the length of time it takes to cure, some of them seem to take a year and I have absolutely no idea what this means!
     
  10. GRH

    GRH Member

    You want NHL 3.5 (Natural Hydraulic Lime) some washed sharp sand, a mixing bucket, pointing or finger trowel and a hawk, to put the mix on, so you can slide it easily into the horizontal gaps and pack it in well.
    Mix is 1 part lime to 2.5 parts of sand. Put all the lime in the bucket and add 1 part sand and mix well. Then add the remainder and mix well. Add water slowly, mixing well all the time until you have a 'buttery' mix.
    Mist the bricks well with water, otherwise it may be sucked out of the mix.
    The pointing will be set hard enough come the end of the day using Hydraulic lime, which sets by reaction with water. Hydrated lime sets by action with the carbon dioxide in the air and does take longer.
    Your builders merchant should be able to supply all you need, and if they are nice will help you with all your questions. This page, and video on it, should answer your questions. It is not as scary as it seems - you can do this, fear not.
    https://www.roundtowerlime.com/post/guide-to-mixing-natural-hydrualic-lime-mortar
    Addendum. As you are a first-timer, I would recommend following Wayners excellent advice on taping up the bricks (obviously not over the mortar, of course).
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021
  11. GRH

    GRH Member

    Hmmm, I hadn't thought of using a tape of any sort - thanks; I have plenty of pointing to do so will follow this excellent advice.
     
  12. Rosemary Anderson

    Rosemary Anderson New Member

    Hi
    I have now received the premixed lime mortar, it came in 2 plastic bags in the tub but I think I will have to work in smaller quantities until I get the hang of it. I presume that I can mix 1 cup of lime with 2 1/2 cups the aggregate mix plus water to make the right consistency (you can tell I am used to baking and not a builder!)
    My neighbor is horrified that I am attempting this and watching eagerly for a great fail so I have to get it right!
    Rose
     
  13. GRH

    GRH Member

    You say pre-mixed lime mortar; if it is pre-mixed it should be ready to use, just work it over to 'revive' it - are there instructions with it?
     
  14. Rosemary Anderson

    Rosemary Anderson New Member

    Hi
    Obviously a fall at the first Hurdle!
    After long conversations with the supplier I bought what I thought was premixed as the larger bags where premixed but the smaller tubs which I thought I would start with hold 2 plastic bags which you have to mix together in the tub and add water 15kilos which I think will be too much for me until I get the hang of it!
    Rose
     
  15. GRH

    GRH Member

    So you have a bag of lime powder and a bag of sand?
     
  16. Rosemary Anderson

    Rosemary Anderson New Member

    Hi
    checked the website it says Sands & Aggregates and of course the lime.
    The other option is to mix all the lime and sand together without adding any water and then put some of it into a smaller container and add the water which would be the best way of dealing with this.
    As this was coming in a tub I thought it would be ready to use.
    Any idea how long it would be useable for if I mixed the whole lot with the water and then put it in the sealable tub and used small quantities at a time over a number of days?
    Rose
     
  17. GRH

    GRH Member

    It depends on the lime. If it is hydraulic (NHL 3.5, say) then adding water would make it set (that includes any water in the sand as well). If it is hydrated you would need to keep it away from air, as this sets by absorbing carbon dioxide. Personally, I would make up enough mix to point the area you can manage in one go and keep the rest dry until needed. Don't guesstimate the quantities when mixing, be accurate, you can't 'add one for the pot', lime is fussy and doesn't like it. Additionally, it does need a good mixing, the following is taken from this site: https://hfsmaterials.com/restoration-preservation-2/restoration-products2/lime-mortar-tips/
    " Mortar can be mixed by hand or in a modern cement mixer. Mix the mortar for 5 minutes, allow to rest for three minutes and re-mix for another three minutes. USE A TIMER."
    "The final consistency of the mortar should be that of brown sugar. To test for proper consistency you can do either of the following:
    • Grab a handful of mixed mortar and form it into a ball. Toss the ball into the air and let it land in your palm several times. The ball of mortar should just barely hold together without breaking apart but it should not leave very much (if any) residue on your skin.
    • Take a handful of mixed mortar and squeeze it in your palm. If the mortar readily oozes between your fingers you have mixed with too much water. If the mortar just starts to push between your fingers you have a good workable consistency.
    I think the 'brown sugar' referred to is not demerara but more like muscavado. I know this all sounds complicated and overwhelming, but really it's not, and you can do it - after all you have a neighbour to disappoint. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2021
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