Common pointing techniques on historical buildings in Ireland
Flush and brush pointing
Mortar is generously applied to make it flush with the facing brick. Once applied the mortar is brushed leaving an un smooth finish. Brushing the excess mortar creates a more rough joint with more texture. The uneven pointing adds character to the building.
The mortar is generously applied but partially recessed in an angle of 45°. This creates a shadow effect emphaising the horizontal line of the bricks. It is also employed to allow water to run off the bricks.
Tuck pointing is a technique commonly used during the 18th and 19th centuries to give the impression of a neat and precise mortar joint. Mortar joints were often relatively wide owing to the unevenness of hand-made brick. Tuck pointing disguised the width of these joints with the use of brick coloured mortar. During the latter part of the19th century, the use of more uniform machine-made bricks meant that neat joints were easily formed and a flush or slightly recessed joint was most commonly used.
Nowadays, tuck pointing is often used when a building is being repointed as a way of disguising repairs and to give a neat finish to weathered brickwork.
English tuck pointing is achieved by pointing the joint flush with the brick face using a brick-coloured mortar. A groove is then cut along the centre of the joint and a thin strip of white lime mortar tucked into the centre groove.
Irish tuck pointing or more commonly known as Irish wigging was a pointing method employed uniquely in Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is achieved by applying brick-coloured mortar over the brick and the joints while leaving the ‘tuck’, a thin strip of white lime mortar, exposed in the centre of the joint. The application of brick coloured mortar in this way is known as wigging and it is this that gives the appearance of a neat joint.