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What is Repointing?

Last Updated Jan 22, 2013 · Written by Rob Schneider

Repointing is the process of repairing damaged mortar in brick work, masonry or roof tiling. Broken, cracked or otherwise damaged mortar is the primary entry point for moisture into the home. Once inside, the moisture continues to do damage, so repointing is a necessary part of home maintenance.

Repointing Roof Tiles

Ridge tiles (also called capping tiles) are the most important tiles on the roof. As the "first line of defence" against water, ridge tiles must be cemented into place and "pointing" applied to the exposed edges of the tiles. Traditionally, repointing was done with a sand and cement mixture, but today, flexible repointing materials are used that minimise the problems of shrinkage and cracking that commonly occur with cement. These repointing materials are sold at most large hardware stores and repointing is a viable DIY project, but only if you know what you are doing and take the proper safety precautions.

Safety precautions are of paramount importance. When working on a sloping roof, there is a high risk of falling. Once you have slipped, there is nothing to prevent gaining momentum and falling from the roof unless you tie yourself off against a secure surface such as a chimney. There is also danger to those who are on the ground. Roof repair specialists recommend roping off the danger areas at ground level before commencing work.

After you have taken the proper safety precautions, it's not enough to mix a small amount of repointing compound and repair the most visible damage. If repointing is needed on one tile, it is probably needed on others as well, and other problems may also become apparent. When a roof repair specialist does repointing, they follow a step-by-step procedure that includes:
  • Checking for loose tiles. If a tile becomes loose, it needs to be rebedded. This involves carefully removing the tile; removing the old bedding; preparing the roof and tile for rebedding; and applying mortar and rebedding the tile.
  • Inspecting each tile in turn, using a probe to check for loose cement. When it is found, the loose material must be thoroughly removed and the cavity cleaned.
  • Professional repointing services usually recommend doing a thorough repointing job rather than doing spot repointing. To do this, after cleaning the surface of the roof, they begin at the bottom and work their way up, neatly smoothing their repointing compound as they go.
Does repointing still sound like a viable DIY project? Before you decide, get free quotes from repointing experts using the Get Quotes service. You may be surprised by how fast, efficient and inexpensive their services can be. When comparing your quotes, make sure that all the roof repair specialists who send you quotes are licensed, insured and have a proven track record. If all these are equal, then choose the cheapest quote or the one you feel will do the best job for your needs. 
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