If old mortar has cracked or deteriorated, get advice from a structural engineer about whether it is a sign of serious structural problems or simply due to age. If age-related deterioration is the cause, mortar can be repointed or "stitched" (a technique involving special "stitching rods" and an epoxy resin). If the problem is more serious, follow your engineer's advice before attempting to tackle it.

Step 1

Remove the Old Mortar

Use a joint raker to remove any loose, crumbly bits of old mortar until you reach sound material (Image 1).

Use a two-pound hammer and chisel to "peck" out the more obstinate, solid chunks of mortar from between the bricks (Image 2).

Dust out the old mortar joints to remove all debris (Image 3).

Step 2

Clean Out Remaining Mortar with Wire Brush

Clean Out Remaining Mortar with Wire Brush

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wet the Bricks and Joints

Use a spray to wet the bricks and mortar joints. This stops bricks from soaking up the new mortar and ensures that it will adhere.

Step 3

Apply the New Mortar

Use a pointing trowel and a brick jointer to press new mortar into place (Image 1). Use the jointer to mimic the profile of existing mortar joints.

Use a dry brush to remove excess mortar from the joints (Image 2).