Types of Pointing in Brick Masonry Construction

Types of Pointing in Brick Masonry Construction

Pointing is a crucial aspect of brick or stone masonry construction, as it not only enhances the appearance of the structure but also ensures its durability and longevity. The process involves finishing the mortar joints to a specific depth and filling them with high-quality mortar in desired shapes.

In this blog post, we will explore the different types of pointing methods used in construction and their unique characteristics.

A. Mortar for Pointing Work

Before delving into the various pointing techniques, it’s essential to understand the types of mortar used for the pointing work:

  1. Lime Mortar of 1:2 Lime mortar is a traditional and time-tested material for pointing work. It consists of one part fat lime and two parts sand or surkhi (brick dust). Lime mortar provides a certain level of flexibility, making it suitable for older or historic buildings, as it accommodates minor movements without cracking.
  2. Cement Mortar of 1:3 Cement mortar is a modern alternative to lime mortar. It comprises one part cement and three parts sand. Cement mortar offers excellent strength and durability, making it ideal for new constructions and areas with higher structural demands.

B. Preparation of Surface for Pointing

To ensure a proper pointing application, the surface preparation is critical:

All the joints in the masonry are carefully raked down to a depth of 20mm while the mortar is still soft. This process helps in creating a clean and stable base for the pointing material.

The joints and the masonry surface are thoroughly cleaned of any debris or loose material.

The prepared surface is then wetted thoroughly, which prevents the rapid drying of the fresh pointing mortar.

C. Methods of Pointing

After preparing the surface, the pointing mortar is applied in the joints using a small trowel. The fresh mortar should be pressed firmly to establish a strong bond with the existing interior mortar. Let’s explore the different methods of pointing:

1. Flush Pointing

In this method, the mortar is pressed hard into the raked joints and finished flush with the edges of the masonry units. Although it may not offer the most aesthetically pleasing appearance, flush pointing is highly durable, as it minimizes space for dust and water to enter the joints.

2. Recessed Pointing

With this technique, the mortar is set back by 5mm or more from the edges of the masonry. The face of the pointing is kept vertical using a suitable tool, resulting in a neat and visually appealing appearance.

3. Beaded Pointing

Beaded pointing involves the use of a steel or iron tool with a concave edge. This creates a bead-like profile in the pointing, which looks attractive but may be more susceptible to damage compared to other methods.

4. Struck Pointing

A modification of flush pointing, struck pointing features an inclined face, with its upper edge pressed 10mm inside the face. This design facilitates the easy drainage of water, enhancing its weather-resistance.

5. Rubbed, Keyed, or Grooved Pointing

Another modification of flush pointing, this method involves creating a groove at the midpoint of the pointing using a specialized tool. This groove enhances the appearance of the pointing.

6. Tuck Pointing

Tuck pointing starts with pressing mortar into the raked joint, finishing it flush with the face. While the mortar is still fresh, a narrow channel or groove is cut into the center, and it’s then filled with white cement putty, projecting slightly beyond the joint’s face. This creates a visually striking effect.

7. V-Pointing

In V-pointing, a V-groove is formed in the flush-finishing face, adding an interesting visual element to the masonry.

8. Weathered Pointing

Weathered pointing involves creating a projection in the form of a V-shape. This design helps channel water away from the joint, minimizing the risk of water penetration.

Pointing is a vital aspect of masonry construction that not only enhances the visual appeal but also ensures the durability and weather-resistance of the structure. The choice of pointing method depends on factors like the type of mortar, the architectural style, and the desired aesthetics.

By understanding the various types of pointing, masons and construction professionals can select the most appropriate technique for their specific project, ensuring a beautiful and long-lasting result.

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