Can You Do Tuckpointing in Winter?
It’s the dead of winter, and you’ve noticed that your brick and mortar haven’t fared well in the frigid temperatures. Your masonry, which looked fine a few months ago, is suddenly crumbling, cracked, and dirty. After some research, you learn that you might need tuckpointing in winter. But is now the right time?
Your Guide to Tuckpointing in Winter
Your brick goes through a lot in the winter. It may look fine from the outside, but every time the temperature dramatically drops or rises—something that happens all too often in the unpredictable St. Louis winter—your brick can crack and crumble. Unfortunately, the winter weather conditions that damage your masonry work can also make repairs difficult or impossible.
So, what’s the best course of action when you need tuckpointing in winter? It all depends on the severity of damage and current weather conditions.
What’s the Right Temperature for Pointing Brickwork?
If you’ve ever noticed a tuckpointing crew in your neighborhood, it was probably during the spring or summer. That’s because the ideal tuckpointing temperature is between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature should stay above freezing for 24 hours before your tuckpointing job. It’s also important that the weather stays above 40 degrees with no precipitation for the next 72 hours to ensure mortar sets properly.
What Happens to Mortar in Below-Freezing Temperatures?
Why does temperature matter so much during the tuckpointing process? Freezing and damp conditions can ruin the integrity of your brickwork. If you want your repairs to last for years to come, the temperature has to be just right. Here’s why:
- Mortar develops strength as it dries: Your mortar needs to dry at a controlled rate—neither too fast nor slow—to develop strength. Rainy and cold conditions can slow down the drying process and weaken your mortar joints, and windy conditions can cause mortar to become brittle as it dries too quickly.
- Freezing can cause expansion: Mortar is a mix of binding materials and water. If you lay mortar in cold weather, that water can freeze and expand, creating cracks. Those cracks will remain once the mortar dries.
Even if you lay bricks on a warm day in winter, overnight frost damage can interfere with the drying process and ruin your repairs. However, if your brickwork is so damaged that you need tuckpointing in winter, there are a few ways to protect newly laid brick from frost.
How To Protect New Brickwork From Frost
While you should generally avoid tuckpointing in winter, there are some instances where it would cause more damage to wait. If that’s the case, your tuckpointing contractor should take these steps to protect your new brickwork:
- Storing materials in a dry, warm area: Before your tuckpointing contractor starts laying new brick and mortar, they should check to make sure materials aren’t wet or frozen.
- Heating brick, sand, and water: If it’s really cold out, your tuckpointing contractor might have to increase the heat of sand and water before mixing it into mortar. Additionally, they might heat each brick before laying it to prevent mortar from freezing upon contact.
- Mixing additives into mortar: Certain additives can make mortar more resistant to frost. Your tuckpointing contractor might use a cold-weather additive for small jobs to prevent freezing.
- Using protective covers: After laying bricks in cold weather, it’s critical to protect them while the mortar dries. Your contractor should cover their work in protective tarps or use a heated enclosure, depending on the size of the job.
When Should You Wait?
If you can wait to schedule your tuckpointing job in the spring or summer, you should. Not sure if you need urgent repairs? Contact a tuckpointing expert in your area for a consultation. A reputable contractor can assess your brick and decide if you need tuckpointing in winter.
Are You Looking for High-Quality Tuckpointing Work in St. Louis?
Learn how Approved Home Improvements guarantees safety, quality, and consistency during every project.
Turn to Approved for Tuckpointing in St. Louis
Do you need tuckpointing for your St. Louis home or business? If you’re looking for an experienced contractor that provides high-quality work regardless of the season, choose Approved Home Improvements. We’ve been using a proven process for nearly four decades to ensure your new brickwork looks great, matches your existing structures, and, most importantly—lasts for years to come.
You never have to worry about faulty or low-quality work when you choose Approved. We offer a one-year warranty to make sure you’re happy with your new brickwork. Plus, our initial consultation is completely free.
Ready to learn if you need tuckpointing in winter? Get in touch to schedule a visit or learn more about our chimney services.