MASONRY POINTING - Any builders got an opinion on my wall?

Recently we hired builders to re-point our house sandstone front, instead they rendered over the gaps with think concrete lines, they are now whining because i won't pay the outstanding 25% of the final bill until it's been redone, despite other work not being completed as well.

Where can i get a "definition" of what pointing should be?, having done a bit of research all i can come up with is wikipedia which says this is a poor job, any other good references?
Also who would be best to contact for a survey in case this goes to court?, if i just hire a surveyors will this be classed as independant?
any ideas folks?
cheers
mdb

51 Comments

Have you got anything down in writing ie: that they were hired to re-point? if not it is your word against theirs. We had issues with a builder as well and unless the job description is stated in a contract then small courts don't usually side with the client or even bother with the case.
how much do you owe him and did he charge?
my sympathies are with you- there are so many cowboy builders out there. NO offense to proper builders on here!

Banned

show us a pic as really unclear what you are saying / what they did.

you certainly wouldnt point a wall with concrete!

Banned

I think this will expain what should be done.
Basically chisel out old and refill and finish.:thumbsup:

Sound mortar normally does not need to be removed from a building during the repointing process, although such a practice is common. New mortar can be designed to match the color and texture of existing mortar to avoid visual aberrations. The repointing process begins by removing damaged pointing to a depth equal to or slightly more than the width of the joint, or to the point where sound mortar is reached. Depths greater than 2-1/2" or 4 cm would be filled in several passes, allowing the mortar to cure for at least 24 hours. The joint profile would be as rectangular as possible as the new pointing mortar should be allowed ample opportunity to bond with the masonry unit.

Removal of old mortar between joints is done carefully to avoid damage to masonry units. On very old buildings with soft materials, such as under-fired brick, removal by hand is often the most effective to avoid damage. Hard Portland cement mortar is usually removed with a grinder or power circular masonry blade, taking care not to damage the masonry units. Vertical joints in most cases are always done by hand or with small power chisels.

Poor repointing work often raises the level of the mortar joint above the face of the masonry unit, which causes the mortar edge to feather. Such a process is aesthetically undesirable and can cause performance problems as a thin layer of mortar will quickly erode. In addition, depending on the nature of the mortar, mortar that rises above the level of the face of the masonry unit can participate in damaging the arris or corner of the masonry unit. In these cases, deteriorated mortar is often not removed to a sufficient depth.
Repointing materials
It is essential that the mortar used for repointing have similar performance characteristics to the original mortar used in a building. Such performance characteristics include permeability, compressive strength, and coefficient of thermal expansion. For instance, if a soft lime-based mortar was originally used, the most appropriate repointing mortar is likely to also contain a large amount of lime. The use of Portland cement mortar for repointing on older buildings with soft masonry units can cause significant damage due to physical incompatibilities.

Banned

RUDOLF;6047138

I think this will expain what should be done.Basically chisel out old and … I think this will expain what should be done.Basically chisel out old and refill and finish.:thumbsup:Sound mortar normally does not need to be removed from a building during the repointing process, although such a practice is common. New mortar can be designed to match the color and texture of existing mortar to avoid visual aberrations. The repointing process begins by removing damaged pointing to a depth equal to or slightly more than the width of the joint, or to the point where sound mortar is reached. Depths greater than 2-1/2" or 4 cm would be filled in several passes, allowing the mortar to cure for at least 24 hours. The joint profile would be as rectangular as possible as the new pointing mortar should be allowed ample opportunity to bond with the masonry unit.Removal of old mortar between joints is done carefully to avoid damage to masonry units. On very old buildings with soft materials, such as under-fired brick, removal by hand is often the most effective to avoid damage. Hard Portland cement mortar is usually removed with a grinder or power circular masonry blade, taking care not to damage the masonry units. Vertical joints in most cases are always done by hand or with small power chisels.Poor repointing work often raises the level of the mortar joint above the face of the masonry unit, which causes the mortar edge to feather. Such a process is aesthetically undesirable and can cause performance problems as a thin layer of mortar will quickly erode. In addition, depending on the nature of the mortar, mortar that rises above the level of the face of the masonry unit can participate in damaging the arris or corner of the masonry unit. In these cases, deteriorated mortar is often not removed to a sufficient depth.Repointing materialsIt is essential that the mortar used for repointing have similar performance characteristics to the original mortar used in a building. Such performance characteristics include permeability, compressive strength, and coefficient of thermal expansion. For instance, if a soft lime-based mortar was originally used, the most appropriate repointing mortar is likely to also contain a large amount of lime. The use of Portland cement mortar for repointing on older buildings with soft masonry units can cause significant damage due to physical incompatibilities.


never seen anyone chisel it out (though they probably do for old expensive masonry).

I just use a small grinder with a diamond edged mortar rake when doing my re-pointing

Banned

csiman;6047447

never seen anyone chisel it out (though they probably do for old … never seen anyone chisel it out (though they probably do for old expensive masonry).I just use a small grinder with a diamond edged mortar rake when doing my re-pointing



Hand chiseling is the profesional way and disc cutters for the modern lazy people.
Doing it by hand gets a better job done although takes longer.
Well thats what my Dad says
The house across the road from us was done by hand at start of this year and its relativly new, so age does not matter its being profesional.
Message from Sunny Kent coast

Banned

RUDOLF;6047691

Hand chiseling is the profesional way and disc cutters for the modern … Hand chiseling is the profesional way and disc cutters for the modern lazy people.Doing it by hand gets a better job done although takes longer.Well thats what my Dad says The house across the road from us was done by hand at start of this year and its relativly new, so age does not matter its being profesional.Message from Sunny Kent coast


Seen about 5 houses done over the last couple of years in my rd and they all do it with a grinder. A professional should be able to do that without messing up any stonework.

It would take forever to hand chisel the mortar on a detached house. A grinder does a better job too as its a uniform depth.

Its sunny here again too ;-)

Original Poster

well peeps, gonna post a pic so no laughing pls but original estimate from builder (in writing) outlines work as hack out and repoint, admittedly stone was in bad condition as had been previously rendered which was removed by myself but estimate also includes work to remove and replace damaged/weathered stone.
see what you guys think:oops:

members.lycos.co.uk/mad…JPG

not quite the traditional sandstone frontage i envisaged

Banned

maddogb;6048179

well peeps, gonna post a pic so no laughing pls but original estimate … well peeps, gonna post a pic so no laughing pls but original estimate from builder (in writing) outlines work as hack out and repoint, admittedly stone was in bad condition as had been previously rendered which was removed by myself but estimate also includes work to remove and replace damaged/weathered stone.see what you guys think:oops:http://www.members.lycos.co.uk/maddogbarber//house_pics/DSCF0013.JPGnot quite the traditional sandstone frontage i envisaged


is this a joke? :w00t:

seriously, thats the worst repointing job I have ever seen in my life.

Did they just render the whole lot and cut out the brick shapes? :-D

the mix looks far too hard so will probably just fall off after a cold snap!

I'd be embarrassed if that was mine and I'm not even a builder!

I'd want all my money back as that needs re-doing.

Oh dear, that is appalling.

Banned

also, you may well start to get a lot of damp problems as a wall is meant to be flat but that looks like there are now lots of lips for rainwater to sit and penetrate the sandstone.

if you cant get it rectified, at least coat the wall with thomsons ultra waterproofer!

Banned

change the title to "MASONRY POINTING - Any builders got an opinion on my wall?" to get a bit more interest / opinion

gonna save that pic cos it makes me chuckle every time I look at it - no offence btw

Original Poster

csiman;6048409

change the title to "MASONRY POINTING - Any builders got an opinion on my … change the title to "MASONRY POINTING - Any builders got an opinion on my wall?" to get a bit more interest / opiniongonna save that pic cos it makes me chuckle every time I look at it - no offence btw



cheers m8 have done that.

That is appalling work, i don't think ive ever seen pointing done that badly.
as mentioned by CSI man you could well see some damp issues caused by that due to the ledges and crevices created by the new "pointing".

Not fit for purpose really. Don't pay them the money.

Banned

Hope you dont mind but started a thread on screwfix forum (where all the pros hang out) for some professional opinions

Just register and view thread. great site for all DIY help.

screwfix.com/tal…854

Banned

Not a builder but that looks so very bad. I would get professional advice on this, that is going to seriously affect the value of your house.

that is just shocking! that is a really,really bad job even for a amateur wit no building knowledge. Stick to your guns and dont pay it.

Original Poster

csiman;6048625

Hope you dont mind but started a thread on screwfix forum (where all the … Hope you dont mind but started a thread on screwfix forum (where all the pros hang out) for some professional opinionsJust register and view thread. great site for all DIY help.http://www.screwfix.com/talk/thread.jspa?threadID=106854



no don't mind at all very good idea cheers dude.


lumoruk;6048627

Not a builder but that looks so very bad. I would get professional advice … Not a builder but that looks so very bad. I would get professional advice on this, that is going to seriously affect the value of your house.



yeah we were going to put if up for sale last year, it took them a good year to get round to doing this even with house price drops we've lost a fortune

pistol6000;6048751

that is just shocking! that is a really,really bad job even for a amateur … that is just shocking! that is a really,really bad job even for a amateur wit no building knowledge. Stick to your guns and dont pay it.



they have had about £9000 in stage payments already as there was other work to be done which they have messed up as well, they now want approx £4000, not a cat in hells chance..

id ask them for money back!! also check if thy are member of any building regulotary(sp) body, if you know what i mean. id also get an estate agent to value the property as is and then ask them to give you an estimation if the work was done properly. I bet theres a couple of grands difference.

Original Poster

pistol6000;6048847

id ask them for money back!! also check if thy are member of any building … id ask them for money back!! also check if thy are member of any building regulotary(sp) body, if you know what i mean. id also get an estate agent to value the property as is and then ask them to give you an estimation if the work was done properly. I bet theres a couple of grands difference.



if i thought they were worth suing i would, still investigating this but don't want to spend a fortune on legal fees that i won't get back,
We did ask in a letter if they were members of FMB or similar and would consider having them arbitrate, but they just ignored this.

Banned

maddogb;6049032

if i thought they were worth suing i would, still investigating this but … if i thought they were worth suing i would, still investigating this but don't want to spend a fortune on legal fees that i won't get back,We did ask in a letter if they were members of FMB or similar and would consider having them arbitrate, but they just ignored this.


have to ask but where on earth did these muppets get recommended to you from?

its obviously their first job as its completely wrong! :w00t:

what was the other £9000 work they did :?

the repointing should have been about £500

Banned

pro response from screwfix

Re: Masonry Pointing - Is this a really bad job?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 1:52 PM ]http://www.screwfix.com/sfd/i/tkimages/reply-16x16.gif]Reply
that pointing is only gonna erode the bricks further the best scenario is to render it now at least ul get a good key


]Big Jumbo

Posts: 293
Registered: Feb 1, 2009 Re: Masonry Pointing - Is this a really bad job?
Posted: Aug 18, 2009 3:35 PM ]http://www.screwfix.com/sfd/i/tkimages/reply-16x16.gif]Reply
Absolute mess, very poor quality workmanship. Even if the client had requested this particular style it is still wrong.
They should have gone with a smooth pointing, raked it back and brush finished it.

One problem is that this sort of stonework is random coursed. This style of pointing is best when used where joints are at 90 deg. and the joint is fine.
Another is the mess round all the openings and yet another is that it is not weather-struck allowing water to run to the stone instead of away from it.

Banned

maddogb;6048179

well peeps, gonna post a pic so no laughing pls but original estimate … well peeps, gonna post a pic so no laughing pls but original estimate from builder (in writing) outlines work as hack out and repoint, admittedly stone was in bad condition as had been previously rendered which was removed by myself but estimate also includes work to remove and replace damaged/weathered stone.see what you guys think:oops:http://www.members.lycos.co.uk/maddogbarber//house_pics/DSCF0013.JPGnot quite the traditional sandstone frontage i envisaged




:w00t: WTF is that:oops:

Think R/ Traders myself.contact Matt BBC

Banned

RUDOLF;6050595

:w00t: WTF is that:oops:Think R/ Traders myself.contact Matt BBC


+1

this would make a great rogue traders story :thumbsup:

God knows why they have done ribbon pointing especially when it's outside and on random coursed stone, to start with it's twice as much work and as has been said the water doesn't drain off it easily.

They should have used flush pointing on that wall or weather pointing if you want that type of style and it should be a lot thinnner.

Original Poster

yeah seen that on screwfix, problem is these guys still think they did a good job and are puzzled as to why i won't pay them the rest of the money??
What i really need is an entirely independent expert to say "you muppets it's a mess", truly though i don't think they will believe him either..

that is really hard work to do and i have seen it on random stone work houses before (even repaired some of one) and can look nice. god only knows why the builders went ahead and did it like this tho unless your wires were crossed about what you wanted. did you not see how they were doing it before it was completed ?

I think if it went to court and any judge saw those pictures it would be unlikely that you would lose out.
If they think they did a good job based on that I think it already says they are not a member of any trade organisation. I really hope you have not paid cash for any of the work you have had done. If I were you I would start top keep details of any future contact you have with them either by writing or phone. Writing would probably be better.
You will need to get the 'pointing' work done again. It looks like the house has been covered with plasticine. Think for yourself what your reaction would be if you were looking for a house to buy and you saw one that looked like that. Rouge Traders sounds like a good idea IMO

I'm no builder but that looks awful. There's no way I'd be paying for a job like that on my house.
Looks like somebody has made a cardboard cut-out of brick shapes and stuck it on your wall.

Original Poster

leemole101;6051771

that is really hard work to do and i have seen it on random stone work … that is really hard work to do and i have seen it on random stone work houses before (even repaired some of one) and can look nice. god only knows why the builders went ahead and did it like this tho unless your wires were crossed about what you wanted. did you not see how they were doing it before it was completed ?



tbh we had so many other things on our minds and scaffolding/tarpaulin prevented us from seeing the "big picture"

WoolyM;6051993

I think if it went to court and any judge saw those pictures it would be … I think if it went to court and any judge saw those pictures it would be unlikely that you would lose out. If they think they did a good job based on that I think it already says they are not a member of any trade organisation. I really hope you have not paid cash for any of the work you have had done. If I were you I would start top keep details of any future contact you have with them either by writing or phone. Writing would probably be better. You will need to get the 'pointing' work done again. It looks like the house has been covered with plasticine. Think for yourself what your reaction would be if you were looking for a house to buy and you saw one that looked like that. Rouge Traders sounds like a good idea IMO



after our complaints about other work went unheeded and there had been no attempt to rectify we were then presented with a final bill, i then insisted on everything going in writing (waste of time) will dig out my 1st complaint letter and the response tomorrow "watch this space"
we knew from other quotes the front was likely to take 6 weeks plus work, they had the scaffold down in 2 weeks 11 til 4 days, the day the scaffold and tarp came down i was so distraught couldn't even speak properly with out seeing red mist..oh and it was all cheque payment

Banned

sorry for chuckling at your predicament, I hope you can laugh about it in a year or two those photos are just hilarious. Have you been to a CAB yet?

I've had a look at your photos and can only conclude that the "builders" have tried to carry out "weatherstruck and cut" pointing.

Weatherstruck and cut pointing should be slightly indented at the top of the mortar joint (1 maybe 2 mm) and then protrude by approx 2 to 3 mm at the bottom of the joint.
http://www.brick.org.uk/_media/_images/_mortar-joint-profiles/Joint-profiles.jpg

This style of pointing is great when applied correctly to uniform brickwork, but doesnt work as well with random stonework.

As others have mentioned,flush jointing would have been preferable for this type of masonry.

Check this link for more info: brick.org.uk/mor…tml

Hold out paying them,or better still,tell them to rake that crap out again and flush joint it.

Good luck.

M.B.C

i shouldnt laff:w00t::w00t::w00t::w00t::giggle:

Original Poster

lumoruk;6054287

sorry for chuckling at your predicament, I hope you can laugh about it in … sorry for chuckling at your predicament, I hope you can laugh about it in a year or two those photos are just hilarious. Have you been to a CAB yet?



csamual;6054974

i shouldnt laff



I'm attributing my own laughter to hysteria


Monkeybumcheeks;6054779

I've had a look at your photos and can only conclude that the "builders" … I've had a look at your photos and can only conclude that the "builders" have tried to carry out "weatherstruck and cut" pointing.Weatherstruck and cut pointing should be slightly indented at the top of the mortar joint (1 maybe 2 mm) and then protrude by approx 2 to 3 mm at the bottom of the joint.This style of pointing is great when applied correctly to uniform brickwork, but doesnt work as well with random stonework.As others have mentioned,flush jointing would have been preferable for this type of masonry.Check this link for more info: http://www.brick.org.uk/mortar-joint-profiles.htmlHold out paying them,or better still,tell them to rake that crap out again and flush joint it.Good luck.M.B.C



nice info cheers for that, hopefully if i can gather enough info it will be enought to demonstrate the lack "reasonable care and skill" requirement for the sale of goods and services act to force them to redo it or at least get someone capable of redoing it..

Monkeybumcheeks;6054779

I've had a look at your photos and can only conclude that the "builders" … I've had a look at your photos and can only conclude that the "builders" have tried to carry out "weatherstruck and cut" pointing.




It's ribbon pointing they have done, not weather pointing and it looks like it's far too wide. The silly thing is the pointing they have done is the most labour intensive type to do.:thumbsup:

I've been out of the building game nearly 20 years - but I've never heard of ribbon pointing.
I'm not doubting its existence or how labour intensive it is though...... just a shame that it looks so bad.

Monkeybumcheeks;6055807

I've been out of the building game nearly 20 years - but I've never heard … I've been out of the building game nearly 20 years - but I've never heard of ribbon pointing.I'm not doubting its existence or how labour intensive it is though...... just a shame that it looks so bad.




I agree with you, it looks awful, my dad was a stone mason and I emailed him the picture link and he was really shocked with it

Original Poster

After some research it appears he has done this for a reason my guess is whilst it may be intensive as far as the pointing it has saved him several weeks work raking out the old lime pointing and grinding the stone to allow room to fit in flush pointing or weather struck which considering the poor state of the wall would have been much more hard work, in essence a rushed job.
I now know all this but need to be able to put this over in arbitration or court more forcibly than just "because i say so" so will need plenty or reference.
The ribbon pointing mentioned doesn't seem to be covered or explained in an authoritative manner anywhere i can find..

So they didnt even rake the existing joint out ? ? ?

That is incredibly shoddy.

maddogb;6055861

After some research it appears he has done this for a reason my guess is … After some research it appears he has done this for a reason my guess is whilst it may be intensive as far as the pointing it has saved him several weeks work raking out the old lime pointing and grinding the stone to allow room to fit in flush pointing or weather struck which considering the poor state of the wall would have been much more hard work, in essence a rushed job.



If that's the case the fact that the old motar hasn't been raked out is probably enough for your case.


maddogb;6055861

I now know all this but need to be able to put this over in arbitration … I now know all this but need to be able to put this over in arbitration or court more forcibly than just "because i say so" so will need plenty or reference.The ribbon pointing mentioned doesn't seem to be covered or explained in an authoritative manner anywhere i can find..



My dad is the expert not me but I've found a few links for you. They seen to agree with not using that type of pointing as it looks too agressive and the stone should dominate the wall not the pointing.

helpwithmasonry.com/how…ng/

northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/re-…ing

]http//bo…=10

The last one is an excerpt from Understanding housing defects By Duncan Marshall, Derek Worthing, Roger Heath and looks useful
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