How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs

Today we’re going to show you how to make brick mortar repairs. We’ll fix the crumbling mortar in this brick siding using a process called re-pointing  Be sure to wear leather gloves and safety glasses. The instructions in this video use mixture mortar, but you can also use quick-n-easy caulk tubes meant for outdoor mortar. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you have extensive cracks in your brick wall, it’s a good idea to rent a pneumatic chisel from your local independent home improvement retailer to speed up the process.



  1. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 1

    Chisel out the broken mortar to a depth of one inch. Shallower depths won’t last as long.

  2. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 2

    Clean out the area with a stiff bristled brush.

  3. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 3

    Clean the area further with an air compressor to remove any remaining dust.

  4. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 4

    Mix up your batch of repair mortar according to manufacturer’s instructions. At the right thickness, it should stick to the bottom of the trowel without falling.

  5. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 5

    Mist the area to keep the new mortar from drying out too quickly.

  6. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 6

    Place some fresh mortar along the length of the drywall taping knife, close to the side.

  7. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 7

    Hold the knife just beneath the join and use the tuck pointing trowel to push the mortar into the joint.

  8. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 8

    Once at the desired thickness, use a brick jointer to smooth and shape the joint. Try to mimic the look of the existing mortar.

  9. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 9

    Spray some more water on the repaired area. Do this for a couple of days.

  10. How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs - Step 10

    Cover the new are for a couple days to allow proper curing of the mortar.

Read Video Transcript

When the mortar in your brick siding starts to crumble, like you see here, it’s not something you should put off fixing. Gaps between the bricks can allow moisture to penetrate behind the wall, which can lead to all sorts of problems, like excessive moisture in your wall cavities and eventually, mold. While you could call a mason to fix the problem, it’s a relatively easy project to tackle yourself … and inexpensive too if you have the right tools and materials. And everything you need, including the advice, is just a short trip away to … you guessed it … your local independent home improvement retailer.

Today we’re going to fix the crumbling mortar in this brick siding using a process called repointing. First we’re going to remove the old cracked mortar by chiseling it out. Then we’re going to mix up a batch of new mortar and place it between the joints in a way even the ancient Romans, who invented the technique, would be proud of. Finally, we’ll smooth it out so you can’t tell that it was ever repaired in the first place. …. So let’s get started.

This ¼” cold chisel is the prefect tool to dig out the old mortar. To start chipping out the mortar, start in the middle of the joint and angle the chisel at about 30″. Then slowly chip away. Also be sure you’re wearing thick leather gloves and safety glasses for this step. As you continue chipping away at the mortar, increase your angle to dig deeper. Remember, we need to make sure the mortar is chiseled out to a depth of 1″. This is probably the most important step in the process and is the difference between a repointing job that will last for years, and a tuck-pointing patch job, where new mortar is added over the old cracked mortar without removing it first. No doubt, chiseling is hard work, and takes a lot of time. Lucky for us we caught the problem early, and only have a small section to do.

Pointing or tuckpointing trowels, as they are often called, come in different widths to match the width of the mortar joints between the brick. Be sure to pick up a couple different sizes close the width of your mortar joints.

Once we’ve chiseled to a depth of one inch, we’ll check it with this metal ruler. That should do the trick. The next critical step is to make sure the mortar channel is as clean as possible and that all dust and loose debris is swept out of the joint. We’ll use this stiff bristled brush to start cleaning out the joint. Then, a shot of air with a compressor will remove any remaining dust. Now the mortar will have a surface free of debris to which it can form a secure bond.

As you can see, chiseling and cleaning out mortar joints is hard work. If we had a house full of cracked mortar joints, we would consider renting a pneumatic chisel from our local independent home improvement retailer to speed the process along.

Now it’s time to mix up a batch of our repair mortar, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions. We’ll mix it up with our margin trowel in this bucket, adding water sparingly until we reach the desired consistency. That’s just about right. Once the mortar mix can stick to the bottom of our trowel without falling off, we know it will stick to our joint.

Before we start filling the joints with our mortar mix, we’ll mist the brick and the joints down to wet them slightly. This will help the mortar cure without drying out too fast.

To get the mortar into the joints takes a little practice. First, put some mortar along the length of the drywall taping knife, close to the side. You can also use a drywall hawk. Then, holding it up just beneath the joint, we’ll use our tuck pointing trowel to push the mortar into the joint. This is where you don’t want to get into a big hurry. Several thin layers of mortar spread out over several hours is better than pushing a big glob into the joint all at once. It only takes a few tries to get the technique down, and once you get the hang of it, it will seem easy for the rest of the project.

When we reach the desired thickness, we’ll use this brick jointer to smooth and shape the joint, trying to mimic the look of the existing joints as best we can. Like pointing trowels, brick jointers come in different sizes to match the thickness of your mortar joints. The concave shape it leaves behind helps shed water away from both the brick and the mortar joint itself, which will prolong the life of your brick siding.

While this is a tried-and-true method that has been used for centuries, there are some products available that come in both caulk tubes and squeeze tubes ready to apply to the joint. Just be sure to prep the joint the same way and read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

The last thing we need to do is re-mist the area and cover our work for a couple days to keep the joints moist, so they will cure properly. After re-misting the area with a spray bottle of water, this plastic trash bag taped over the area will do the trick. While the repair mortar mix we’re using may feel dry to the touch in a few hours, after repointing, it will take a good month for it to reach full strength.

There you have it. Now admit it … that was easier than you thought it would be, and it was kind of fun, too. The best part is now that we know the basics of repointing, we’ll be able to fix problems as they arise in the future and keep our brick siding looking great for years to come.

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21 responses to “How to Make Brick Mortar Repairs”

  1. The information was great! Instructions and tips were easy

  2. When chiseling away mortar, proceed to a depth of 1 inch and do not remove solid areas. Any deeper and you may be endangering the structure’s strength.

  3. jim gilly says:

    When doing flatwork (brick). Once the concrete base is placed and all the brick has been place thereon, the mortar is next. Typically the mortar is applied with a grout bag. The question is… can you apply the motor by brooming the dry mortar into the joints then apply light spray of water, allow to settle then sprinkle again?

  4. Makita says:

    Thanks for great guide. It helps me in my works.

  5. Thanks for doing a step-by-step guide walking through repairs. I’ve thought about learning how to fix some brick in my house before now, but it’s always been a little intimidating, but you made it seem a little more doable. Now I have some ideas that I’m excited to try! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Alex says:

    Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

  7. Brick repair companies many times have a $350 dollar minimum charge. I am a owner of a small masonry repair service. I think it is a good idea to try to make repair before calling a professional bricklayer. If you are able to follow instructions you should be able to be successful. Color may be a little off and jointing may be more challenging than described. If brick is cracking and joints are breaking there could be a issue that you may need to consider a professional bricklayer for advice.

  8. Give it a shot, if it doesn’t work out then call a professional. Could end up being the same price

  9. I found your blog to be very informative. I am greatly inspired by your posts and thinking of writing mine now. Thanks for being an inspiration to me as I was also trying to write blogs but was not getting the appropriate genre.

  10. george Cremer says:

    Great post – question: I want to repair the mortar on my front steps, I dont need a full bag of mortar for this – I was thinking of using Quickrete mortar repair – would you talk a little about these latex based mortar repairs and the difference between these and regular mortar?

  11. Diana Briden says:

    I cannot find a brick layer to repair 2-3 ft high fence. It was pushed over by vandals in a 4-5 ft area. It made a fairly clean break but is extremely heavy. Afraid of someone getting injured if I attempt it. Also concerned about how long it takes to dry and be solid again.

  12. Jeryl Finke says:

    The exterior brick on my home is not grouted along any of the inside corners.
    Should it be?
    If so, what is the best method and product to do so.

  13. Richard Guerrera says:

    My brick ranch has many areas missing the jointing. The joints look of a brown color. I can do the work but l need the skill of a mason how to get the proper color and strength. Then l can go about doing the repairs.advise what l should do. Thanks. Rich G.

  14. sandesh bukate says:

    Thanks it was a great information very useful on similar note for advanced information regarding this topic you can click here Thank you.

  15. Sue says:

    How do I patch the concrete below the brick..6 inch area below the Brick that wraps the house? And there are stress fractures from previous Foundation Repair and overwatering around the foundation.

  16. Sam Solo says:

    I can see why it would be important to fix the cracks in chimney bricks. Cracks could spread and hurt the foundation of the home. I’ll have to remember your tips so that I can always maintain a proper chimney.

  17. Carolyn Hughes says:

    I just repaired some small areas around the windows but the mortar I used doesn’t match.
    It sticks out like a sore thumb. Can I use a little exterior paint that matches up with the old mortar to touch up the new mortar so it is the same color? They areas repaired are short little sections of 3 or 4 inched in length about the windows. Will the exterior paint hold up and stick to the mortar?

  18. Michael Lee says:

    Making sure that bricks are in good standing is something that most do not think about. My wife and I have some deteriorating mortar and want to bring out a brick repair service. It seems like a lot of work for a one-man team.

  19. Gary K says:

    How do you match the existing mortar color?

  20. Tom Spry says:

    Keep up the great work! Thank you so much for sharing a great posts.

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