May 16, 2010

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Tuckpointing Large Buildings

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Categories: tuckpointing
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In todays post we are going to talk about how to tuckpoint a large building.  Tuckpointing a large structure can be a daunting task and should only be attempted by people who have no fear of heights, because you can end up in some scary places especially along the lake where there are strong winds constantly.

For starters lets go over the equipment you will need, pending job size of course.  You will need a lot of scaffolding, a cherry picker type elevator system or a large jig lift.  Of the three a Jig lift is ideal because you can drive it to where yo need it raise up and down quickly and no set up is required like you would need with the other two systems.  You can rent jig lifts that go up 60 ft boom which is typically what you would need for most 4 story buildings, any more than that you will need to set up an exterior elevator system that attaches to roof and is then movable from the the roof, which can be very difficult at times if there is a lot of roof penetrations and the roof must be flat to set up off of.  The third option is scaffolding but this requires a large investment in equipment and a lot of labor to set it up and tear it down.

Lets assume your building is 4 stories or less so you will use the Jig Lift to get your work done, other equipment you will need is a mixer, heavy duty grinders with 3/8 diamond wheels, grout bags, tuckpointers and a striker or rake.  be sure to be well trained in the use of the lift and wear a safety harness so you don’t fall out of the basket.

Start by grinding out the joints as deep as you can with your grinder.  After you get a good size section ground out maybe a 10 foot square area mix up your mortar and get ready to fill your joints.  If you are using a grout bag mix your batch so it is a little on the runny side so it flows through your grout bag easily.  If you are not comfortable using a grout bag you can just use your tuckpointer and trowel.  If you use this method it will take much longer and make sure that your mortar is stiff and not runny at all.  Inject or push the mortar evenly into all the joints till they are all filled in the area that you are working, then after they set up a bit follow through with your striker or rake depending on the look you desire.  After you finish your joints follow through with a brush to remove any excess mortar and strike the joints one more time to finish them.  But just so you know striking is much better than raking because it seals the brick better and gives the face of your brick a flatter finish.

Repeat this process over and over till you complete the job. Be sure to grind all the joints because if not they will fail much sooner than area that you did grind and fill.  Tuckpointing can be a very long time consuming process but it must be done to maintain the integrity of your masonry walls.  If you are still unsure of what to do hire a mason tuckpointing contractor to complete the work for you.


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