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What is Tuckpointing?


Just about every violations list for an older home includes the need for tuckpointing. Yet, few people who are told to do this repair seem to know just what tuckpointing is, much less how to do it.
Well, tuckpointing is just a fancy word for replacing the mortar that has fallen out from around your bricks.- usually in the foundation, chimney, or porch steps.

It’s important to get this repair finished before winter, when ice conspires to tear your bricks further apart or as soon as spring comes.steps ready for tuckpoint and repair Mortar the main ingredient in tuckpointing, is the cement-type product that is used between bricks to hold them together and keep the weather out.

Over the years, it becomes soft or “rotten.” It then starts to fall out, a little at a time.

  • The first step is to determine which areas need repair. Walk around your house and look for places where the mortar is missing, powdering, or not level with the rest of the mortar between the bricks. These are the areas that need work.
  • Next, take an old screwdriver or smaller chisel and scrape out the loose mortar. If the remaining mortar still seems to be crumbling, you can stabilize it by applying a solution of one part concrete bonding additive to one part warm water. Brush it on with a “cheap” paintbrush the night before you start the work.

Before you begin tuckpointing, thoroughly soak the areas you are going to be repairing with a hose. (If you don’t get the bricks really wet, the water in the new mortar you put in will be sucked into the surrounding brickwork, leaving the mortar without adequate moisture to set properly.)

  • take a sample of the old mortar joint to a masonry materials store and they will be able to help you match the color as close as possible, you may have to mix the colored portland cement and sand in a ratio of 2:1 (2 portions of sand:1 of cement) You can mix it in any kind of container – a wheelbarrow, a pail, an old dishpan. (Just wash it out thoroughly when you’re done to remove the leftover mortar.)
  • Add water to the mix with a mason’s trowel, hoe or shovel to an oatmeal-like consistency: creamy, but not drippy.

Don’t mix a lot at one time, especially when you’re first learning to tuckpoint. When the mortar starts getting too stiff to use, throw it out. Don’t add water to it to try making it thinner again – you’ll create an improper mix, and the mortar will lose some of its for tuckpointingThe main tools you’ll be using are a hawk and a tuckpointing trowel. A hawk is a flat board,
about 12” square, with a handle attached to the bottom. It’s used to carry some of the mortar right to the spot to be tuckpointed. (You can easily make your own hawk out of some spare wood pieces.) A bricklayer’s trowel (with a triangular blade) can be helpful in transferring a small amount of mortar from the container in which you’ve mixed it to the hawk. A tuckpointing trowel (sometimes called a joint trowel) is a flat piece of metal, approximately 1/2” wide, bent to fit into the brick joints.

If you place the hawk tightly against the wall you are working on, and right at the bottom of the joint, you can slide the mortar into the joint with the tuckpointing trowel for a nice, neat job.

  • Pack the mortar in as much as you can. After it sets up for about ten minutes, you can then go over it again with the trowel to smooth it over. (This process is called “tooling.”) Since the depth of the mortar between the bricks can vary from house to house, according to the bricklaying style used, you’ll want to make sure that the replacement mortar matches the “look” of the original mortar around it.

Probably the most common question about tuckpointing is how to remove mortar that gets on the front of the bricks. No matter how careful you are, some is bound to get where it shouldn’t. And, once it dries, it will be there forever.steps repaired (You’ve probably seen a house with the foundation bricks slopped up with mortar – not attractive at all!) A simple cleaning with a medium-stiff brush and a solution of one part muriatic acid to two parts water will remove that slopped mortar before it hardens, and will help to blend the color of the new mortar with the original.

Although this solution is an acid, you don’t have to be afraid of it. Just use rubber gloves and take care to avoid breathing in the fumes.

This is the only cleaning solution that will work to clean up the excess mortar With a little care and this follow-up cleaning, your tuckpointing job can look as good as a professional’s. It’s a job that almost anyone can do – it doesn’t require much physical labor and it doesn’t all have to be done at one time – but it will go a long way in preserving the brickwork of your house.

you may watch the video here

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Making a bathroom with shower accessibility

Let’s talk about shower accessibility

foldable benchUsing a rolling shower seat or fixed shower seat in the shower can accommodate some users. Shower seat should be at the height of 17” to 19”. A small stool or plastic chair can allow the bather to sit while taking a shower and can be removed for users who don’t use the seat to shower.
the Teak Shower Seat With Drop Down Legs is another option that we use a lot.
Installing tub controls near the front edge will avoid a long reach.
Installing grab bars in all bathing areas. For a tub- two bars should be installed on the sidewall at standing and sitting range. For a shower-all three walls in roll-in shower should have grab bars and two walls should have grab bars in a transfer shower. Coordinate the controls to be near grab bars when possible.shower head and handle 2
A nonslip floor is one of the most important things to address in the shower to prevent falls. A textured tile or a slatted wood tray over a concrete floor can provide a nonslip floor.
Installing anti-scald mixing valves to maintain a safe water temperature and volume when there are water pressure changes will prevent burns. Limit the temperature in the tub and shower to 120 degrees.
Consider the placement of items that a user will want to reach such as hair care, bathing products, soap, washcloth, etc. Adequate storage and accessible placement for all products so they do not fall into the floor and are easily reachable for all users should be addressed.
Installing shower controls where operator can use them without getting wet. Also, installing a handheld shower head that can accommodate a seated bather. Install one with at least a 60” hose.

Important links

Teak Foldable Bench


Before-and-After Fireplace Makeover

fireplace before finishingon this post we want to share how to do an inexpensive Fireplace makeover of a red brick fireplace to provide a visual lift to the living room to complement the new decorating style.

in this particular case we were looking to match the color of the mirror.

Here are the steps we followed to refinish this fireplace

  •  light sanding with 220 grit sand paper
  • clean up dust with lacquer thinner (wear protective gear)
  • apply a coat of bonding primer (let it cure for 24 hrs at least)
  • apply paint with new color (two Coats)

Sometimes a fireplace simply needs a thorough cleaning and a little maintenance to give it an updated, fresh look.
for the brick area we used a similar process fireplace after finishing


  • repair cracks
  • clean bricks
  • apply a coat of primer and then apply a fresh coat of paint to your red brick fireplace to provide a new look.
    Light-colored paint tends to make a fireplace stand out and look larger. Conversely, dark-colored paint can make an oversize fireplace appear smaller. After cleaning the bricks, apply a paint primer formulated especially for brick. Allow the primer to dry before brushing on an interior latex paint over the fireplace bricks. Apply a second coat of paint after the first coat is dry. Use a high-temperature firebox paint to make the firebox look clean and new.

colors used on this project:

  • BEHR BASE:750 GENTLE RAIN (SATIN) for bricks
  • MCCORMICK MISSION BROWN 205040 (satin) for woodwork

Wine Rack and Pantry

In this post, we are going to share how we help our client create the best use for the space under the steps in his living room.

After listening his needs and desires we started by:


  • Drafting a sketch:pantry and winerack sketch-idea
  • Once the sketch was approved and some ideas were taken from images from websites like Pinterest and, we proceded with a quote, and started on demolition and preparation of the area for work.lance-pantry-storage-before-2

    wine-rack-and-pantry-space during demolition

    Drywall demolition, and preparation

After all of the demolition and preparations were made, we began to build the cabinets in our shop and schedule another day for installation (depending on complexity and due to the fact there may be troubles) in this case, we had to move an electric outlet and cut back some wall space to make room for our 12” deep wine rack. It might take more than 2 or 3 visits to finish the job, but in the end, the result was fantastic.


Shelves built in the pantry

wine rack

Wine rack under steps