Tuck Pointing A Porch

 
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:02 PM   #1
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Tuck Pointing A Porch


I hope I can get some help here, even though I'm a homeowner who should be in the DIY section. I'll give you guys some of my background. I remodeled my first home. I did electrical, plumbing, roofing, drywall and trim on that home. I designed my second home from scratch, starting with sketches, and finishing up with CAD drawings. I took some classes in construction. I snooped jobs underway until I understood every step. That was 1991. Then I hired the contractor from hell. Excavator says he was on crack. I don't know, but it seems possible.

I became general contractor for the job, starting with footers. The builder was supposed to build a weather tight shell for me and I was to take it from there. I ended up firing him when the footers were in. It was a cost plus percentage job. The footer invoice he presented for payment was written in his own writing. It was supposed to be a subcontract submitted for payment as cost plus. I found out the concrete guy was unable to read or write. The builder was supposed to supervise. He let the excavator dig the hole two foot too deep!

I drove up at lunch time to discover the roof of the excavator below ground level. He was beating up his loader tracks on fractured rock and he wanted to stop because he was destroying his loader. The contractor had told him he had just another foot to go. He asked what to do now??? I told him there is not much more to do than to make the hole level, because you can't put it back. Rodney, the GC, was nowhere to be found.

Footers were out of square. A string would have shown that right away before they were poured. I should have checked before they poured them.

I told the builder, Rodney, I wanted four inches of CR6 gravel delivered and spread over the basement with a bobcat before the foundation walls went up on the footers. He went on vacation for Christmas. December 26th, the mason showed up delivering scaffold, block and sand to build ten foot walls the inspector would have failed for unapposed fill. Rodney never discussed the extra two foot height with the mason. I paid the mason $1000 to close that contract. I had poured concrete foundation walls poured to stand the unbalanced fill. When Rodney got back from vacation, I fired him and paid off his subs.

Fast forward, I took the job over in entirety. Really, when a job is off to this bad a start, you can't find anyone to take it over for you. It's the middle of winter. Every freeze/thaw is causing the excavation to cave in more. I had no connections in the trade and those still in business were going bankrupt, just like today. That was Bush housing recession #1. I found a damn good Carpentry crew and a pretty good mason. Korrel framing crew has built a lot of stuff here and it is all first class. Meushaw retired from the biz, or I would bring him back to do this repair.

I did all the electrical, interior trim, interior doors, paint, kitchen, and all the nasty jobs that don't fit anyone else's list. I took an evening short course in Masonry. I laid eight courses of block where the foundation guy didn't understand the drawings. It looked pretty decent.

The house is now 17 years since the front porch went in. The joints have cracked. Water is infiltrating, freezing and heaving. This is all laid over a solid 6" concrete pad and built up 18" or so with solid blocks. There is some sand inside the steps. I don't know how much they used, or if they isolated the pavers from the block substrate.

I started cutting out the really bad joints. As I got into it, I found that really, all the joints had failed at the bond to the pavers. I cut the joints out as deep as a 4-1/2" diamond wheel can reach on a Milwaukee grinder. I still have to do many of the head joints.

My plan is to tuck point this with a latex additive and then seal the entire job. I guess technically this is grouting, but this brick is porous, so it can't be grouted in like tiles. And it requires a grapevine tooling. I've matched the mortar, thanks to finding the loose sand under the steps. I had to drive 75 miles to find the same color sand. We had to screen the junk out of it too. The brown/orange masonry sand isn't around here. The light color sand doesn't match up. The mortar is C105. A sample I did looks pretty darn close.

I have a pretty general notion of what is involved in tuck pointing. I want this job tightly sealed without mud all over the face of the brick. I gather I should lay in 1/3" or so at a time and let it set up a bit the repeat that process for the next two layers so there isn't much shrinkage. I looked on youtube for examples. Holy cow! One guy is laying in mud with his bare hands. Another thinks his finger is for tooling joints. There is more mud on the brick face than in the joints. He thinks acid wash is the remedy for bad work. Masons who did this house didn't need much acid to clean the faces. It seems like a contradiction to me "seal a chimney" and then ruin the seal with heavy acid washing. I afraid to hire anyone for this work. I have a few trowels, a 3/8" pointing trowel and the grapevine tool for finish tooling.

I'm looking for advice how to tuck point this in a way that will tightly seal the joints right at the top brick edges without smearing any on the face. In other words, I want to know how to avoid having the mud curl over the brick edge and cause a dry bond right at the top of the brick where it counts for keeping weather out. Am I better off using a bag or a manual grout caulk gun to fill the joints, or should I work off of a trowel? Is the grouting caulk gun just a toy, or does it work? This is not production work for pay. It takes whatever time it takes me. It's about 8 x 20 feet worth. But I do have to replace the heat pump before fall, so I need to get this done.

Directions on the mortar say to tumble it for five minutes. The directions are pretty detailed. Can I mix this in a mortar pan, or does it really require that much mixing and tumbling to get lasting results?
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:28 AM   #2
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


I have always made a dry pack pointing mix and used a hawk with out the handle right next to the joints. Pack in at different lifts. and head back. once you have done the pointing, i go back and lightly mist the area a few times. poinitng should be just wet enough to ball up, like gauigng a tile floor. leaves little or no mess if you are careful.

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:24 PM   #3
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


Gatorate,


Finish grinding the head joints. Clean everything with the water hose. Pull out the wheel barrow and add 9 shovels of sand that you screened and 1 half bag c105 mortar. Chop up the mortar dry in the wheel barrow and add water slowly mix with a hoe to the look of soft melting ice cream. Relay any loose brick. Get a grout bag and soak it wet. Fill the grout bag and fill the joints half full with half of the load from the wheelbarrow. Go back with a tuckpointer or slicker large enough to fit in all the joints and pack tightly. Take the rest of the load from the wheelbarrow and grout flush with the top of the brick. Let the mortar dry to look of stiff mashed potatoes. Only joint the work that is ready. Let jointed work dry till crumbily and cut excess off with the edge of a trowel.

Mix up the remaining half bag, wet down the unfilled pavers and start again. Always keep the brick damp with water that you are working on. At the end of the day sweep up the dried mortar with a soft horse hair brush. Once complete on repointing all work wait 7 days and clean with Prosoco Sure Klean 600. Wait till all masonry is completely dry and seal with Prosoco Siloxane PD in a pump up sprayer following instructions on label. These methods will prove great results as long as you don't joint the work to early.

Prosoco.com will fill you in on the right products if the pavers are something else other than clay. I think the root of all your trouble is poor craftmenship on the builder.

Last edited by eoffmasonry; 08-29-2008 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:53 PM   #4
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


Diy?
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:59 PM   #5
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


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Originally Posted by tkle View Post
Diy?

Hmmm. All I read was, "I'm a HO and shouldn't be posting here BUT...." blah, blah, blah for three pages.
Buddy, that's what DIYchatroom.com is for - although, it looks like others took pity on you...

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Old 08-29-2008, 09:24 PM   #6
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


Quote:
Originally Posted by BuiltByMAC View Post
Hmmm. All I read was, "I'm a HO and shouldn't be posting here BUT...." blah, blah, blah for three pages.
Buddy, that's what DIYchatroom.com is for - although, it looks like others took pity on you...

Mac
Didn't miss much. He blamed everybody from the contractor to the President.
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


Eeoffmasonry and eekie34, thanks very much for your help.

Quote:
Hmmm. All I read was, "I'm a HO and shouldn't be posting here BUT...." blah, blah, blah for three pages.
Buddy, that's what DIYchatroom.com is for - although, it looks like others took pity on you...

Mac
Mac, I gave my background as an introduction of myself so folks would understand I have construction and contractor skills. I'm sorry it rubs you the wrong way. You could have just clicked past and read a different thread, but for some reason you felt the need to make unhelpful remarks.

Quote:
Didn't miss much. He blamed everybody from the contractor to the President.


Actually, I blamed the first contractor for getting the job off to a really bad start. He cost me a lot of money when he excavated two foot too deep. I was complimentary of my framing crew and mason. I was very satisfied with my electrician and finish carpenter.

Quote:
Gatorate,

Once complete on repointing all work wait 7 days and clean with Prosoco Sure Klean 600. Wait till all masonry is completely dry and seal with Prosoco Siloxane PD in a pump up sprayer following instructions on label. These methods will prove great results as long as you don't joint the work to early.

Prosoco.com will fill you in on the right products if the pavers are something else other than clay. I think the root of all your trouble is poor craftmenship on the builder.
How does Sure Klean 600 compare with muriatic acid for this cleaning?

I planned on sealing with Siloxane PD and already have it on hand. I also have a gallon of Flex-con acrylic admix. I hope this will improve the bond and let the joints give enough to withstand the weather. Is this a wise choice? I think part of the problem is this patio was constructed in the hot August sun and the bricks were dry. Mortar bonded tightly to some pavers but peels away easily from others when the center of the joint is sliced open with the diamond blade. I probably caused problems too, because several years ago the deck was green and black with mold and mildew, so I washed it with acid. It's also seventeen years old work.

While testing the mortar color, I pointed up one bull nose. The mortar tends to fall out where the nose extends forward of the riser. Is there anything special I would do here, other than to build up slower in shallow lifts?
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:30 AM   #8
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


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... I'm sorry it rubs you the wrong way. You could have just clicked past and read a different thread, but for some reason you felt the need to make unhelpful remarks.
Ya know, and I usually do just click right on past these "Hep me, hep, I'm justa poor HO" threads, 'cause there's so many of them littering up this site...but I was in a surly mood last night and the lottery came up on your thread.

It rubs me the wrong way 'cause you can't read directions. Like the dude rollin' into the express grocery checkout lane w/ a freakin' basketful, like the ol' lady driving 52 mph in the fast lane, you're just another person who feels the rules don't apply to you.

You'll get your answer (apparently) , then you'll go back to your project, never to actually contribute to this site. This is not the Help Desk at Home Depot. Once again, DIYchatroom.com is the place for all your "donno how ta do this" questions.

but I digress...

Mac
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:46 AM   #9
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


Yet you are not a contractor.
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:33 PM   #10
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


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Yet you are not a contractor.

And yet, I know more about contracting than you.
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuiltByMAC View Post

You'll get your answer (apparently) , then you'll go back to your project, never to actually contribute to this site.This is not the Help Desk at Home Depot. Once again, DIYchatroom.com is the place for all your "donno how ta do this" questions.

but I digress...

Mac
I just finished contributing to this site in the HVAC forum on a topic you are likely clueless about. Do you know when your HVAC sub is doing the job correctly or leaving behind a problem? Maybe I know more than you think. Maybe pressure washing decks makes you a contractor? I could have posed my question, in the DIY page, but I wanted to hear answers from professional masonry contractors. Clearly that is not you, since you contributed nothing.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:06 PM   #12
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


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And yet, I know more about contracting than you.
what?
because you took some night classes,and built your own home,you know more than someone who has done it forever?get friggin real.you sound like the people i worked for a couple years ago.they decided to build a new home.hired a local contractor,who is very good.then hired the best subs in the area.but still not a one of the subs knew anything!they knew more than any of us,because they looked it up on the internet.
there is not one sub who will return to that house,for any amount of money.even the GC's brother,who is his partner will return.

do us all a favor and post in the diy forums.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:38 PM   #13
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


Quote:
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Maybe I know more than you think.
... I could have posed my question, in the DIY page, but I wanted to hear answers from professional masonry contractors.
It doesn't really concern me how much you know, or don't. You were only interested in getting an answer to your problem (for free) and didn't post elsewhere until you were called out.

You still don't understand that that is not the purpose of contractortalk.com. We don't sit around just waiting to answer some n00b's questions.

Professional contractors hang out in DIYchatroom.com specifically to answer DIY questions.

Mac
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:23 PM   #14
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Re: Tuck Pointing A Porch


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