The Difference Between Repointing and Tuckpointing

Pointing is the process where you fill in the mortar joints between your masonry in the construction process. It is necessary to get all of your different masonry components to adhere and form into a single wall or structure. Obviously, this is a critical process for the construction of new structures, but no matter how great of a job of pointing is done that mortar isn’t going to last forever. When the mortar starts to erode and wear down, there are two processes that can be done to preserve the safety, beauty, and integrity of the structure: repointing and tuckpointing.

  • Repointing is a process where the old mortar is removed and new mortar is placed back into the space between the masonry.
  • Tuckpointing is a similar process that uses two different colors of mortar: one that matches the color of the masonry, and a thinner line that uses a contrasting color for the spacing line.

In many circles, people use the terms “repointing” and “tuckpointing” interchangeably, but the final aesthetic is notably different between the two. As such, it’s important to make an educated decision on which process you want for a masonry restoration project.

The “Look” of Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing results in a far sharper look for your masonry. The narrower lines, which are referred to as fillets, help create an illusion that the bricks or stones have sharp edges that result in straight lines, resulting in a look of perfection. In a perfect tuckpointing job, a person will be unable to discern the difference between the masonry and color-matched mortar unless they examine it very closely. This process helps replicate the look of far finer and more expensive masonry materials at a much-reduced cost.

The “Look” of Repointing

Repointing isn’t done to replicate the look of anything. Essentially, what you see is what you get with repointing. The mortar between bricks creates a softer and imperfect look along the edges of your masonry. When working with historic buildings, as we do at Abstract Masonry, we usually are doing repointing to preserve the existing masonry materials and reseal the mortar joints so that those original materials are saved.