I live in a 112-year-old brick house. Brick lasts a long time. Mortar does not. Most of my house’s tuck pointing is in great condition, but a few isolated spots are almost completely devoid of mortar. Small spots, but bothersome. And bound to become bigger spots if I don’t take care of them soon. So today I decided to take care of them.
I assumed that I would mix mortar for the repairs, but the prospect of carrying a 60-pound bag of dry mix inspired a change of heart. Scrounging around Home Depot’s cement aisle I stumbled upon Quikrete Mortar Repair. It’s sold in tubes for use in a caulking gun, but it’s not caulking. It’s a sanded acrylic designed to do the job of mortar, without the mess of mixing and applying the real stuff by hand.
The square applicator tip is supposed to make finishing the surface easier, and in fact it worked well. Although a wet finger did an equally nice job. Water is key to patching mortar, and with this stuff a wet sponge was extra helpful not only for smoothing the mortar as it cured but for wiping excess off the face of the bricks.
The 10-ounce tube cost me about $4; still a premium over dry mix. (It’s also available in a 5.5-ounce hand-squeezable size.) But for the handful of single-brick-sized repairs I needed to make, I was very thankful to avoid the setup and cleanup that mortar mix would have required. Not to mention the hassle of effectively getting the mortar from my unskilled hands into the open joints.
It is neither practical nor advisable to use Quikrete Mortar Repair to cover a large area of wall. The acrylic isn’t designed for structural tuck pointing so much as it is intended to fill in the gaps and keep water out, which is crucial if you want your brick wall to last a long time.