Removing Pointing


For removing pointing, you will need:

  • piece of wood shaped to fit the joints
  • medium weight hammer
  • scutch
  • plugging chisel
  • hacksaw blade for removing loose mortar from narrow joints
  • brush for removing loose mortar

scutch with replaceable, double-edged bit

plugging chisel

plugging chisel


No materials are required for this task.

How to Do It

If the mortar is lime-based, use the wood stick to scratch out the mortar.

If you have to remove cement-based mortar, most experts advise against the use of an electric grinder. The grinder is quick and cheap but any operator error will cause a cut in the brickwork. One option is to use the grinder to make a cut in the centre of the mortar to weaken it for natural erosion to occur, or to make the use of a scutch easier. Another option is to use an electric drill with hammer action and a 6mm bit. Drill straight into the mortar keeping the holes about 6mm apart. Complete the task with a a scutch (or 'masons scutch holder').

If the mortar is cement-based and you want a purely manula process, use the scutch to weaken the mortar. Hit it sharply with a hammer along the centre line of the cement joint. Then carefully chop it out with a sharp plugging chisel.The manual process using a scutch or chisel can cope with variations in the courses more easily.

use plugging chisel along the pointing

use plugging chisel along the pointing

You can also use a hacksaw blade to remove loose pointing from narrow gaps.

The depth of the cut should be at least twice the width of the joint.

Use a brush to remove loose mortar or sand and finally flush them out with an ordinary garden hose.