Techniques > Briefs > Repointing Mortar Joints >


• contract documents
• order brick, have owner buy and provide
• Schedules
• project inspections


For the Owner/Administrator

The owner or administrator of a historic building should remember that repointing is likely to be a lengthy and expensive process. First, there must be adequate time for evaluation of the building and investigation into the cause of problems. Then, there will be time needed for preparation of the contract documents. The work itself is precise, time-consuming and noisy, and scaffolding may cover the face of the building for some time. Therefore, the owner must carefully plan the work to avoid problems.

Schedules for both repointing and other activities will thus require careful coordination to avoid unanticipated conflicts. The owner must avoid the tendency to rush the work or cut corners if the historic building is to retain its visual integrity and the job is to be durable.

For the Architect/Consultant

Because the primary role of the consultant is to ensure the life of the building, a knowledge of historic construction techniques and the special problems found in older buildings is essential. The consultant must assist the owner in planning for logistical problems relating to research and construction. It is the consultant's responsibility to determine the cause of the mortar deterioration and ensure that it is corrected before the masonry is repointed. The consultant must also be prepared to spend more time in project inspections than is customary in modern construction.

For the Masons

Successful repointing depends on the masons themselves. Experienced masons understand the special requirements for work on historic buildings and the added time and expense they require. The entire masonry crew must be willing and able to perform the work in conformance with the specifications, even when the specifications may not be in conformance with standard practice. At the same time, the masons should not hesitate to question the specifications if it appears that the work specified would damage the building.