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Country Discussion Topics
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Mortar gaps in stone foundation
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Tom A    Posted 03-11-2003 at 03:52:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]
My 100+ year old barn has a stone foundation. In places, the old mortar has fallen out, or else been dug out by rodents and whatever. I periodically go through with mortar and a trowell and push mortar into the gaps and holes to fill them up.

The problem is, it seems that half the mortar winds up on the floor before I'm through. I've been thinking that maybe something like a big cookie press or caulking gun affair might help squeeze in the mortar with less waste. Anybody know of such a thing, or have any other ideas?

I really love this old barn and want to pass it along to another generation, but I ain't rich enough to hire somebody.

thanks,
Tom


Amanda Peake    Posted 05-27-2008 at 15:30:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I bought a rowhome built in 1913, and over the years, previous owners had painted the outside brick. I am having the paint removed, and the bricks cleaned and repointed, but I want to have "squeeze" joints like the house my parents built in the 60's. Will this be possible?


Stan ETenn    Posted 03-11-2003 at 15:09:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
It's a naturally messy job. Adding a little cement to your mortor mix makes a stickier mix. Also makes a harder set. My family called'em tug pointers. Lay your trowell of mud upside down,flat,next to the joint or crack and push a little in at a time. When you do it right you still end up with a mess. Lay down plastic or rags or cardboard to catch your spillage. It sets up as the roughest stone you'll ever get against. If you've ever crawled under a house your knees will tell you this!


thanks to all!!    Posted 03-11-2003 at 12:10:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
I appreciate all the good info here: I knew I could count on that from you guys.

Only problem is that now I got one more thing for "the list" :-)

thanks again,
Tom A


Duke Black    Posted 03-11-2003 at 10:24:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Lot of good answers below.I think Ludwig mentioned cemet which would be better with stone.If your not a pro mason don,t be afraid to get some heavy rubber gloves.Push it in the cracks with your hands then use a wide tuck pointer and push it in till you can't get any more in.They make different size tuck pointers 3/4 wide for stone work i would think.If you need a smaller one use a stick or you can make the size you need out of wood.Preperation is key see post below and make the mix rich and sticky on the stiff side.Do not use that ready mix junk they sale in HD if you want good job.


mark    Posted 03-11-2003 at 08:37:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
i'm a mason when I POINT UP MIX YOUR MORTOR 3 PARTS SAND 1 PART MORTOR MIX MIX TO A COOKIE DOUGH TYPE CONSITENCE. CLEAN JOINT TO BE REPAIRED GET RID OF LOOSE MORTOR ETC. WET AREA TO BE REPAIRED THEN APPLY MORTOR WITH TROWEL HELD UP SIDE DOWN USING A 3/8" SLICKER AND PACK IN REAL GOOD WITH SLICKER IF DONE RIGHT WITH GOOD MORTOR JOINTS SHOULD HOLD UP AT LEAST 25 YEARS.

MARK


DeadCarp    Posted 03-11-2003 at 08:18:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yep, grout bags are about foot and a half long, thin-enough canvas that you can twist the tail as you go, and have a kinda tin cone shoved into the front end. If you make one, be sure the tail is wider than a full shovel. We use one when we chink logs at the cabin.(we force mortar thru tacked-on expanded-metal strips) Maybe you could pack some expanded-metal into some of the flimsy cracks to help hold the grout together. Main thing is to fill as much depth as you can.



PatM    Posted 03-11-2003 at 06:23:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
I was a brick mason for a long time. Are you using a tuck point trowel? It's a lot smaller than brick trowel. You use by loading the back of the brick trowel, and then sliding the mud into the joint and packing the mud tight. If you don't fill the joint, and pack it to ensure that the mud bonds to the stone water and frost will push it out real quick. You shoula also clean out the joints really well. You could use an air compressor, or a water hose. It also helps if the stone and old mortar are damp, no big drops or puddles though.

Yep, it's called a grout bag. Mortar needs to be "rich and thin" compared to what you'd use to lay brick or stone. Rich means that you use more cement and lime than in a regular mix, thin means enough water to make it not so hard to squeeze out.

A good sticky mix would be 1 part portland cement and 1/2 to 1 part hydrated lime and anywhere from 1 to 3 parts clean sharp mason's sand by volume. (Make a few test batches to get one that works for you.) Don't mix up more than you can use in about an hour. You could substitute silica sand, it's finer than mason's sand and will squeeze out easier (it will make the mortar whiter than regular sand). The regular sand mix will work well with the tuckpoint trowel.

Make sure that you "tuck" the mortar in well after you squeeze it in the joint.

You might want to consider a latex modified cement.


Ludwig    Posted 03-11-2003 at 05:30:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've fixed holes in a brick wall before with some stuff in caulk tubes, can't remember what it was called, "Mortar fix" or something. Mostly latex stuff, held real good. Only got to be a problem when the mortar around it fell out.


Lazy Al    Posted 03-11-2003 at 04:34:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
The cookie bag thing works good . You can get one
where they sell the cultured stone and mix some
bonding agent in it like acryl 60
They make a auto one, run by air , but their pricey
Al


Fawteen    Posted 03-11-2003 at 04:23:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
I ain't no mason by any stretch of the imagination, but I suspect part of your problem may be the consistency of the mortar you're using. Try mixing it up a bit stiffer.

Keeping the stones pointed up is critical, as it keeps water from seeping in, freezing and trashing the entire wall.


Red Dave    Posted 03-11-2003 at 05:27:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm not a mason, but I've seen one use something like you describe once. Don't know if it was homemade or not.
Around here you gotta keep the stone walls pointed to keep the copperheads from crawling in and setting up housekeeping.


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