Pointing vs. Re-Pointing: Which Is Right for Your Brickwork?

Brickwork is a beautiful, durable and popular building material that can last for many years. However, even with proper maintenance, the mortar between the bricks can wear down and become damaged over time. This can lead to water penetration, structural instability and a host of other problems. To address these issues, many homeowners turn to pointing and re-pointing. But which is right for your brickwork? In this blog post, we will explore the differences between pointing and re-pointing and help you decide which is best for your needs.

What Is Pointing?

Pointing is the process of repairing or replacing the mortar joints between bricks. Over time, the mortar joints can crack, crumble, or even fall out completely, leaving gaps that can allow water to seep into the building. Pointing involves removing the damaged mortar and replacing it with fresh mortar, creating a strong and stable bond between the bricks.

There are different types of pointing, including flush, recessed and weathered pointing. Each type has its own benefits and can be used in different situations. Flush pointing is the most common type of pointing and involves filling the joint flush with the surface of the brick. Recessed pointing is when the mortar joint is set back slightly from the brick face, creating a shadow effect. Weathered pointing is used to create a sloping joint, which helps to shed water away from the wall.

When Is Pointing Required?

Pointing is usually required when the mortar joints between bricks have started to deteriorate. This can be caused by weathering, age or poor construction. Signs that your brickwork may need pointing include:

  • Cracked or missing mortar joints
  • Loose bricks
  • Water seepage
  • Uneven brickwork

What Is Re-Pointing?

Re-pointing is a more extensive process than pointing. It involves removing the old, damaged mortar and replacing it with new mortar, similar to pointing. However, re-pointing also involves removing a portion of the existing brickwork, typically around 10-12mm, to ensure that the new mortar can bond properly with the bricks.

Re-pointing is more expensive and time-consuming than pointing, but it can be necessary in cases where the mortar has deteriorated significantly, or where the bricks themselves are damaged or unstable. Re-pointing can also be done for aesthetic reasons, to improve the appearance of the brickwork.

When Is Re-Pointing Required?

Re-pointing is usually required when the mortar joints between the bricks have deteriorated to a point where they can no longer be repaired by simple pointing. Signs that your brickwork may need re-pointing include:

  • Deep cracks in the mortar joints
  • Missing mortar
  • Loose or unstable bricks
  • Water penetration into the building
  • Bulging or leaning walls

Choosing between Pointing and Re-Pointing

When deciding whether to choose pointing or re-pointing, there are a few things to consider. If your brickwork only has a few damaged or missing mortar joints, pointing may be sufficient. However, if the mortar joints are significantly deteriorated or the bricks themselves are damaged, re-pointing may be necessary.

It is also important to consider the age and condition of your building. If your building is older or has a historic significance, re-pointing may be necessary to maintain its structural integrity and preserve its character.


Whether you choose pointing or re-pointing, it is important to have the work done by a professional with experience in brickwork restoration. Properly executed pointing and re-pointing can help to ensure the longevity and structural integrity of your building. If you are unsure whether your brickwork requires pointing or re-pointing, contact us today for advice.