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Lime mortar / Type N


kurt
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Here's a little picture of what happens when one happens to "tuckpoint" w/ incompatible mortars. The underlying lime mortar was saturated, new Type N was laid over it, moisture was held into the wall, & resulting freeze/thaw blew the sucker apart in a couple seasons. It has become somewhat of a campaign for me; fine old masonry is being destroyed by the misapplication of modern mortars over the old original lime putty material. Anyone else have experience w/ this problem? If you do, let's talk.

This building is only a block away from where the Valentines Day Massacre occurred, for those inclined to be interested in such stuff.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif parapet deteriorationa.JPG

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif parpetcloseup.JPG

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Kurt,

I doubt your campaign will succeed. There are too many mud heads out there that don't give a damn about what happens to the brick after they've been paid.

We don't have a lot of brick residences around here, but we do have a lot of old brick chimneys. The condition in your second photo is rampant here. The fix is to grind it out and install still more type N. Job security and all that.

There used to be a local company that truely understood brick in all its nuances -- McElhennon Plastering. They were a family business from the old country, the old man had a brogue so thick you could cut it with a knife. Sadly, they're now out of business.

If I needed a decent tuck pointing job done, I’d hire a chimney sweep rather than a mason.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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In a world where there are still masons that say "masonary" I'm afraid that tuck point job will continue to be the status quo.

Kurt, I see the effects of improper mortars every time I drive down the main street of the historic village near where I live. The brick faces are being blown right off two of the buildings from the water freezing after it gets trapped in the mortar joint.

Of course we all know the correct way to fix this problem..parge it or cover it with Thorseal and paint it red....

When I was in my twenties, I had the privilege of working with a master craftsman who was in his eighties... not for pay, just to learn. I helped him (carried a lot of mud etc) build a stone home out of sedimentary rock common to our area. He explained how important it was to make the mortars compatible with the materials used and I suppose he piqued my interest in building science. I should thank him...I wonder how much it costs for long distance to the here after?

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

In a world where there are still masons that say "masonary" I'm afraid that tuck point job will continue to be the status quo.

Kurt, I see the effects of improper mortars every time I drive down the main street of the historic village near where I live. The brick faces are being blown right off two of the buildings from the water freezing after it gets trapped in the mortar joint.

Of course we all know the correct way to fix this problem..parge it or cover it with Thorseal and paint it red....

When I was in my twenties, I had the privilege of working with a master craftsman who was in his eighties... not for pay, just to learn. I helped him (carried a lot of mud etc) build a stone home out of sedimentary rock common to our area. He explained how important it was to make the mortars compatible with the materials used and I suppose he piqued my interest in building science. I should thank him...I wonder how much it costs for long distance to the here after?

The Thoroseal parge/red paint approach is frighteningly common here also, although we tend to just go w/ the plain Thoroseal. Yummm....

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A little drift, but close:

A few weeks ago on a three year old house, there appeared to be almost no mortar between stones on the limestone exterior on some walls and full mortar on other walls. I wrote up the missing mortar and recommended a qualified mason.

The next day I got a call from the agent who said she talked to the builder who said it was suppose to look like dry stack stones, and the stone was completely sealed on the backside. I asked why I could stick my pen completely through the wall.icon_speech_duh.gif She said she would get back to the builder.[:-boggled] I never did hear the final outcome.

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  • 5 years later...

Here's a little picture of what happens when one happens to "tuckpoint" w/ incompatible mortars. The underlying lime mortar was saturated, new Type N was laid over it, moisture was held into the wall, & resulting freeze/thaw blew the sucker apart in a couple seasons. It has become somewhat of a campaign for me; fine old masonry is being destroyed by the misapplication of modern mortars over the old original lime putty material. Anyone else have experience w/ this problem? If you do, let's talk.

This building is only a block away from where the Valentines Day Massacre occurred, for those inclined to be interested in such stuff.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif parapet deterioration 2 (WinCE).JPG

8.82 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif parpet deterioration closeup (WinCE).JPG

8.85 KB

kurt

couldnt load you examples by the massacre site

anything i ought to specify with a tuckpointer before work begins re mortar mix color, sand size, sand grade,. shoud i use natural or portland cement mortar? if natural, oyster shell or limestone source? etc... is a mortar analysis necessary? who does this work?

in you opinion, is the crack pattern development at a stage where there is cause for concern? where can you see the masonry being jacked up? which joints show problems?

what is the best way to tuckpoint these lintel gaps?

this is the tear out you reccommend

cheers from the frigid torch environs

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tn_200981882836_lintel2.jpg

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I got the pics fine.....(?)....

To answer some of the previous questions;

It really isn't bad right now, but it will progressively jack up the brick and accelerate the stairstep cracking pattern. When you get big stairsteps, you get big stairstep repairs that always look like crap. Since what you got looks like some nice work, why not keep it looking nice instead of looking like you waited too long?

It's not "tuckpointing". Tuckpointing is a 19th century decorative application on mortar joints, wherein a white "tuck" is applied into a previously struck wet joint. You're doing masonry repair; replacing lintels and rebuilding/pointing the wall. The term tuckpointing has been bastardized for approximately 110 years, starting right here in Chicago. I hate the term tuckpointing, because it means anyone saying it doesn't know what they are trying to do. Words mean things; I am fervently devoted to using the right ones.

Understand that "soft" mortar isn't necessarily bad. It provides the expansion capability that masonry walls need. Near as I can tell, the modern "expansion joints" don't do squat, no matter how many you install. When the entire wall can expand and contract, you eliminate the

stress that creates miles of hairline cracks that provide the capillary pathways for water to enter the wall.

The addition of lime in the mix provides the autogenous healing necessary for masonry to survive; as water moves through lime mortar, it carries molecules of lime with it that seal up all the little capillary pathways that exist naturally in any masonry wall. Avoid "bag mortar" from the big boxes.

New steel is not as good as old steel. I have no basis for that comment other than my immediate observations of thousands of lintels on a daily basis. The new stuff rusts wildly and the old stuff doesn't. I don't know why, but you know, I should find out.

When you install a new lintel, it is critical that you use flashing to isolate the (new crappy) steel from the water and corrosive masonry. Don't scrimp and use "garbage bag" plastic. Splurge and go for 40 mil self adhering stuff, and don't forget the end dams and interior wythe detailing.

I might take a northern Michigan vacation this fall and do a little windsurfing up off Point Betsie, then work my way up to Cross Village and Sturgeon Bay. Maybe I'll swing through Bellaire.

I think this may be the oldest thread to be brought back to life.......

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Oh lordy, it's a five year old thread. I don't know what I'm doing in there.

Lemme find some new pics; I've got thousands.

Or, better yet, lemme start a new thread if folks want to see something.

Mr. Bellaire was deep in the stacks on this one..........

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Oh lordy, it's a five year old thread. I don't know what I'm doing in there.

Lemme find some new pics; I've got thousands.

Or, better yet, lemme start a new thread if folks want to see something.

Mr. Bellaire was deep in the stacks on this one..........

When you find time to post some more pictures with explanations I would appreciate it Kurt - I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to this.

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When you find time to post some more pictures with explanations I would appreciate it Kurt - I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to this.

Okey dokey. Biz kinda picked up this week and next, so I'm busy.

I'll start a masonry thread here shortly.

I've got new, old, and restoration work being done the right way. I'll put those up when I get time.

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When you find time to post some more pictures with explanations I would appreciate it Kurt - I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to this.

Okey dokey. Biz kinda picked up this week and next, so I'm busy.

I'll start a masonry thread here shortly.

I've got new, old, and restoration work being done the right way. I'll put those up when I get time.

Tanks

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