Pointing and repointing brickwork and stonework can be a very time consuming task and although it may look easy it takes a bit of experience and patience to get a finish that compliments the brickwork to its full potential.
We would advise to take the joints to 10mm minimum and then follow up by using a wire brush to remove any loose dust.
Mixing the ideal mortar for the job is crucial to the application and the end result.
The mortar mixture can be made from straight cement: fine sand mixture using 1 to 6 ratio. At this point you can add dry hydrate which gives the mixture less tendency to shrink during setting and will also aid in working with the mortar mixture. If you wish to add dry hydrate, you would need to work on the ratio of cement 1 dry hydrate 1 fine sand 6. There are mortar dyes available if you are trying to match an existing pointing.
When working the mixture into the joints we recommend wetting the joints so as to minimalise the absorption of moisture into the bricks.
Using the edge of the trowel, press the mortar into the joint leaving the mortar protruding from the brickwork/stonework.
From the mortar left protruding the bricks, there are a number of different styles you can apply to the mortar.
This style of pointing is as the name explains and sits flush with the face of the brickwork, which is created by wiping over the finished pointing with the trowel.
In weathered pointing the mortar slopes outward from the upper brick to the one below. This pointing method is suitable for all brickwork, and as the name explains this method of pointing is best suited for bad weather conditions. To achieve this finish you need to complete the flush pointing method to remove any excess mortar and then using the edge of the trowel, press in the upper edges creating a slope in the mortar. Mortar will most probably protrude the brickwork at the bottom of the slope and can be cut flush using the trowel edge. To create a smooth finish you can use a smooth strip of metal bent at the end and run across the mortar, alternatively you can purchase a tool called a frenchman. Just before the mortar completely dries, lightly brush it across its top to brush away any odd scraps of mortar.
Bucket handle / Half round pointing
Fill the joint flush with the surface as per the flush pointing method above, then strike the joint to achieve the desired finish. There is a shaped tool available, called a brick jointer, but it can be done with the rounded end of a tube and then moved across the mortar when still wet. Using this tool, tend to the vertical joints before making long, continuous joints along the horizontal joints.
This finish is similar to bucket handle pointing, but is a deeper hollow finish without the curve. Raked pointing is unsuitable for exposed walls, because the angles are not appropriate to deflect rain. Using a special tool called a chariot, run along the wet mortar. As in the bucket handle pointing, rake out the vertical joints first and then make long, continuous strokes along the horizontal.
'V' joint pointing
Again similar to the hollow pointing finish. This method differs by creating a definite line in the middle of the mortar joint. This style of pointing compliments new brickwork and again allows rain to easily run off the face of your brickwork.