Other Factors to Consider
Regardless of the color of the binder or colored additives,
the sand is the primary material that gives mortar its color.
A surprising variety of colors of sand may be found in a single
sample of historic mortar, and the different sizes of the grains
of sand or other materials, such as incompletely ground lime
or cement, play an important role in the texture of the repointing
Therefore, when specifying sand for repointing mortar, it may
be necessary to obtain sand from several sources and to combine
or screen them in order to approximate the range of sand colors
and grain sizes in the historic mortar sample.
Close examination of the historic masonry wall and the techniques
used in the original construction will assist in maintaining
the visual qualities of the building. Pointing styles and the
methods of producing them should be examined. It is important
to look at both the horizontal and the vertical joints to
determine the order in which they were tooled and whether they
were the same style.
Some late-19th and early-20th century buildings, for example,
have horizontal joints that were raked back while the vertical
joints were finished flush and stained to match the bricks,
thus creating the illusion of horizontal bands. Pointing styles
may also differ from one facade to another; front walls often
received greater attention to mortar detailing than side and
Tuckpointing is not true repointing but the application
of a raised joint or lime putty joint on top of flush mortar
joints. Penciling is a purely decorative, painted surface treatment
over a mortar joint, often in a contrasting color.
The masonry units should also be examined so that any replacement
units will match the historic masonry. Within a wall there may
be a wide range of colors, textures, and sizes, particularly
with hand-made brick or rough-cut, locally-quarried stone. Replacement
units should blend in with the full range of masonry units rather
than a single brick or stone.