After some play time in a nearby park, the boys and I stopped by the hardware store to get the supplies I’ll need to tuckpoint the wingwall for the old back steps.
The thing I love about a good local hardware store is that I know the people there well enough to trust their advice. When I walked into the store today, I trotted straight up to a clerk I recognized and said, “I have some bricks that need tuckpointing and I have never done this before. What do I need to do the job?”
Rather than mix the mortar to a stiff consistency, the clerk suggested that I make the mortar mix more soupy so that it would be easier to force down into the deep cracks created by the stairs settling away from the house. This sounds like an excellent plan to me– in fact, I’m trying to think of some better ways to force the mortar deep into the gaps than just pressing it in with a piece of wood or a trowel. Some means of injection would really do the trick.
Whether I come up with any good ideas or not, I’ll try my hand at the tuckpointing during one of my toddler’s naps tomorrow.
UPDATE: Curse my insufficient research! I’m sure I that want to use a lime-based mortar because it will be more forgiving with the soft old bricks, but the materials I bought yesterday include portland cement. I’ll need to get back to the store to get some hydrated lime before attempting the repointing.