Can This Shoddy Mortar Job Be Fixed? - Masonry - Contractor Talk

Can This Shoddy Mortar Job Be Fixed?

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Old Yesterday, 11:02 AM   #1
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Can This Shoddy Mortar Job Be Fixed?

I'm responsible for facilities improvements and exterior maintenance at my general contracting firm. Our facility is 100,000 square feet. The office part of it is about to be remodeled in full and expanded, but there's a section of the property that is remaining untouched because it's mostly used for equipment and materials warehousing. However, the exterior of it has some unsightly blemishes that will only look worse when the rest of the facility is updated. The building is 100+ years old, and like the other historic buildings in our area, is red brick. Some years ago (before my time...I'm told it was maybe 10 years ago), a masonry contractor was hired to repair some crumbling mortar and brick on one of the exterior walls. They didn't exactly do a bang up job in my opinion and the opinion of others here. They used pure white mortar not only for the joints but also to fill damaged spots in the actual brick. I'm actually surprised that after 10 years, weather and biological growth haven't reduced the whiteness significantly. Anyway, we have two options:
  1. Paint over the brick, which we don't really want to do because the rest of the businesses in the area have kept the bare red brick look for historical reasons.
  2. Somehow fix the shoddy patch job so that it looks more uniform (like the wall to its right...see picture)

I'd really like to pursue the second option, but if it's something that's going to be super labor intensive with a cost that is an order of magnitude higher than painting, we may have to just paint it. Wanting to know if anyone has had success with any relatively cost-effective methods to achieve this?

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Old Yesterday, 03:00 PM   #2
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Re: Can This Shoddy Mortar Job Be Fixed?

Saw-cut and re-point the entire facade...certainly more than a paint job, but would you rather have it done right as opposed to marrying into a lifelong struggle of maintaining a coating which will only harbor more moisture upon failure, (which it eventually will) and promote further decay and potential moisture intrusion?

From my seat here, I'd estimate the work to be in the 25/30K range which would include power washing, dustless saw-cutting and re-point and appropriate breathable penetrating sealer upon cure.


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Old Today, 02:52 PM   #3
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Re: Can This Shoddy Mortar Job Be Fixed?

It looks large enough, and in good enough shape, that you need to get the existing mortar analyzed to find out what it is. Then you can develop a plan to ensure the structural integrity of the building. Painting should be the last option, if considered at all.
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Old Today, 07:35 PM   #4
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Re: Can This Shoddy Mortar Job Be Fixed?

I'd really like to pursue the second option, but if it's something that's going to be super labor intensive with a cost that is an order of magnitude higher than painting, we may have to just paint it.
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Old Today, 07:41 PM   #5
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Re: Can This Shoddy Mortar Job Be Fixed?

A very long life stain? the idea is just to stain mortar mostly....

Might not be any cheaper then repointing...

Since the end of pollution in the USA, in particular the emission of Sulfur being reduce to a tiny fraction of its peak. Masonry walls will Never again be as deeply stained as those from the Pre EPA era ever again.

Stop being so anal about a cosmetic issue, embrace the error as a "scar"/tuition that lead to your company's greater wisdom pool regarding masonry repairs for future use....
I might be an Idiot, but I know things that You don't: Please wait till after you get my know-how to insult me....
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