building valuations


My property has been repointed

in a cement mortar, what can I do?


If you need help and advice with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, engineers reports, defects reports, including things such as wall cracks, repointing, mortar, dampness, lateral dampness, wet rot, dry rot, woodworm, condensation, foundation problems, etc, please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with a building surveyor.


My property has been repointed in cement mortar, what can I do?


Cement Repointing We suggest that you allow time to take its course and the cement mortar will gradually loosen and then, using a soft brush, it can be removed. We recommend this in all but the worst of cases, as this allows the cement mortar to come out with minimal damage to the brick.

Cement Repointing


Cement repointing that has been repointed again! However, in some cases, where the face of the brick is deteriorating badly it is worth removing the cement mortar as soon as possible. It is preferable to take this as with a hammer and chisel, or bolster, although builders will much prefer to use an angle grinder, which, whilst being quicker, can cause damage to the brick, particularly on the perpendicular ends (known in the building trade as the perp ends) and these are the vertical pointing joints between the bricks.

A cement repointing has been repointed again, unfortunately two wrongs don't make a right!


Cement mortar coming away to a lead flashing

Even if the builder does show you how neatly he can carry out the work we would only recommend that as a last resort he carries this out on the horizontal pointing and we certainly would keep an eye on him when he is carrying out the work. We recommend many cups of tea and reassurance that he doesn't have to break any records in removing the pointing.

We then advise repointing in an appropriate lime mortar. We say appropriate as there is usually different mixes for different areas, e.g. non-hydraulic lime, known as lime putty, is ideal for repointing soft bricks and internal plaster and can be bought ready mixed and looks a bit like a thick yoghurt.

Cement mortar coming away to a lead flashing

Then there is hydraulic lime, which comes as a powder and has various ratings, from the weakest, which is NHL2, to the strongest, which is NHL5, with the middle being NHL3.5. These are known as the grade and can be used for pointing of harder bricks, exposed areas or external renders and sometimes it is recommended for winter work, although we personally would suggest that you wait until the summer before carrying out any work.


Cement pointing and dampness

The brickwork is really in a bad condition, what can I do about it?

Example of cement repointing

There are a few choices:

•  This first choice we would recommend (although it is far easier to say than do, having tried to do it) is to remove the brick and turn it round and use the other face.

•  Alternatively, use a closely matched brick, although we personally don't like it because we don't think it looks very good. You could actually mix up a lime mortar mix with brick dust or a colour to try and match up with the brick.

Cement repointing to the front of a property
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Matching of the pointing

Weathered pointing to chimney which needs repointing in a correct mortar One problem that can occur, and is frequently seen, is where the repointing that is carried out is either carried out poorly, in that it is not in the joints properly, or it is carried out in the wrong colour mortar. We always recommend that you get your bricklayer to show you a sample of his work and how well he can match the mortar. This is a dry match of the mortar, not a wet match! We know this sounds strange that you will be trying to match the wet mortar, but we have seen it on several occasions, where when it dries out it is a completely different colour.

Weathered pointing to a chimney, needs repointing in the correct mortar


A cement mortar flashing which will eventually let water in Once you are happy with the quality of the builder's work, and that the dry match matches the brickwork, then you can let them loose on the wall, on the understanding that the pointing must match. It is very important that they should realise that lime mortar pointing is a two stage process; with the initial filling of the joint, for want of a better term, the second return and the tidying up of the joint.
Cement mortar flashing; only a matter of time before this cracks and allows water in


You may be interested in our other articles about issues with walls including cracking to walls:


Structural Cracking

How, in our experience, Insurance Companies deal with Cracks in Properties

Cracks in my Wall

Wall Tie Problems

Cavity Wall Problems

Repairing Cracks

Structural Reports

Estimating Building Costs

Cracking to my plaster

Deteriorating brickwork cement repointing

Please see our section on:

Information on Engineers Reports

Specific Defects Reports

Dampness Articles

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, dilapidations, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.

If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site .

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

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