Out with the old, in with new. I made that up just now. Prove I didn't.
Mortar is generally replaced when it's deteriorated, through the process of tuckpointing. Tuckpointing, sometimes referred to as pointing or repointing, is hard work. The existing mortar between brick, block and/or stone must first be removed to a proper depth for a lasting, quality tuckpointing job.
The best depth is arguable, but generally at least 1/2-3/4" deep OR to solid backing as needed. The ambiguity there is where controversy exists. What is a solid backing? Not here... Not now... I will not continue to digress.
Back on topic: Mortar is a strong material, removing it requires some tough guys with tough tools. The 2 most common method of mortar removal:
- Pre 1990: the raker bar. It's literally just a steel bar, bent with sharpened edges to rake mortar from joints. Dumb.
- Post 1990: Angle Grinders with diamond masonry blades. Yeah, they existed pre 1990, but they weren't very commonly available or affordable. I thank the masonry gods, every time I see a raker bar, that I was born at a time their use had faded.
Though the raker bar is dumb, it has practical uses.
- It's definitely a safer method for those who are inexperienced in using a grinder.
- For small areas where getting an electric source might be tough. Though, battery powered, cordless grinders are a thing now. Indoors, it's good because it will create a smaller dust cloud while removing the mortar.
- If your crazy neighbor "Doc" gets you trapped back in the 1950s on wild adventure in his time machine and you're forced to seek a job in the masonry restoration field.
- Also a great way to build some Popeye-esque forearms, for people who, you know, like that.
In my biased opinion, An Angle Grinder with a diamond Masonry blade, is where it is at and is also what is up.
- Less safe = More Fun! I kid, Seriously, I kid. I would not recommend use of a grinder for mortar joint removal, or any use for the matter, without thorough training from a skilled individual.
- Grinding mortar from joints is the most efficient way to get-r-done (sp?) Especially when you have the right blade for the job.
- You don't have to have hulk arms to use a grinder for extended periods, just a bit of training and finesse.
- And I know I already mentioned it, but really it's worth a repeat, it's a super quick way to remove mortar, Quick = time reduction, and as a Masonry contractor, I've done the math, Time is Money.
Click one of the images below to find one or the other from our store.
Thoughts, comments, questions? Contact us or comment below. We encourage questions. We're Masons, and We're to help.