Repointing By Professionals
Celebrating over 30 Years Of Excellence and Innovation Established in 1983
One of the most labour- intensive operations in many refurbishment contracts is the raking out and repointing of brickwork.
Anybody who has been involved in any large-scale operation of this kind will confirm that quality control, at all stages, is vital. The process is time-consuming, laborious, dirty and hardly one which inspires the average site operative to creative heights.
When it was first suggested that the whole process could be mechanised, sceptics doubted that any company could change one of the industry’s habits of a lifetime. Builders have been traditionally perverse in accepting changes in their methods of working. The rule of thumb seems to be: “the dirtier and slower it is, the longer we should hang onto it” – witness, for example, the time that it has taken contractors to recognise the value of the flexible plastic rubbish chute.
The all-British Gun-Point mechanised repointing operation has confounded its critics and established a nationwide licensees of 30 specially-trained mobile teams. The system has also been widely taken up by local authorities, which are notoriously cautious about adopting new methods. The key attractions to them appear to be its quality control and speed.
Both the raking out preparatory work and the delivery and insertion of the new mortar are done by electrically-powered tools and pumps. Even the debris and dust from the raking back is vacuumed by a special dust extraction motor to form a clean recess.
According to Gun-Point, the need for masonry repointing usually arises when a building is about 40 years old. In the case of Britain’s local authority housing stock, therefore, this means that there are well over one million council homes that will require attention.
Many of these are large, traditionally-built housing estates of the inter-war period, such as over 250 houses being fully repointed for the New Forest Council or for the 250 houses Hyde Martlet housing, Gun-Point was able to meet the client’s specification of an 20mm depth in mortar that was impossible to rake by hand; the depth gauges on Gun-Point’s special raking tools ensured this depth was achieved consistently. The mortar pump and gun then repointed with a gauged mortar based on local sands to match the original colour.
More recently constructed properties also have their share of defective mortar problems. Gun-Point’s technology is ideal for being able to rake hard cement mortar, as well as tackling deep pointing. Six pre-war houses and four bungalows in Ditchling, Sussex were plagued by mortar bees. The properties had been repointed only five years previously but as a shallow rake had been used, the bees burrowed around it causing serious damage.