Avoiding Common Mistakes During Roof Repointing

September 1, 2023

Roofer installs a skylight on the new roof

A roof, often considered the crown of any building, is a protective barrier against the many elements of nature. It stands tall against rain, snow, hail, and the blazing sun to ensure the inhabitants remain safe and comfortable. As time passes, even the sturdiest roofs need maintenance to stay in top shape.

One of the most crucial maintenance tasks is roof repointing, which involves renewing the external part of mortar joints, enhancing the roof’s visual appeal, and bolstering its water-resistant properties. Like many home improvement tasks, repointing has its challenges. Even a slight oversight can lead to major issues, demanding more time, effort, and money for rectifications.

This comprehensive guide aims to educate readers about these pitfalls. Read on to learn more.

Understanding The Importance Of Proper Roof Repointing

Before diving into the common mistakes, knowing the importance of proper roof repointing is crucial. As mentioned, a roof is one of the most critical parts of a building. It shields inhabitants from external elements, ensures comfort, and adds to structural integrity. When repointing is done incorrectly, it can lead to leaks, structural damages, and hefty repair costs.

To mitigate these risks, it's advisable to seek guidance from industry experts. This is where expert advice, such as that provided by SM Roof Services and other similar service providers, becomes invaluable. They can help explain the significance of a job well done. For instance, they can advise that appropriate repointing can be beneficial in extending your roof’s life, reducing energy costs, and protecting your home from pests.

Common Mistakes During Roof Repointing

To maximize the benefits of roof repointing and avoid any potential pitfalls, it's important to be aware of common mistakes during the process. Some of these include:

  1. Choosing The Wrong Mortar Mix

One of the most prevalent mistakes is choosing the wrong mortar mix. Every building, depending on its age and the materials used, requires a specific type of mortar. Using a mix that doesn’t match the original can result in accelerated deterioration.

Moreover, the consistency of the mortar mix is equally important. A mixture that’s too dry will not adhere correctly, while an overly wet mix can lead to sagging. Hence, striking the right balance with the mix can ensure longevity.

2. Ignoring Weather Conditions

Repointing isn’t a task you want to undertake during any weather condition. For instance, extreme temperatures can cause the mortar to dry too quickly or freeze. This can compromise the bond it forms with the bricks. As such, it’s advisable to work during mild, dry weather.

Additionally, repointing under rainy conditions can wash away the mortar before it sets, leading to a weak joint.

3. Overlooking Proper Tool Use

While repointing, using the right tools can make a vast difference between a successful and a poor job. For example, using a trowel that’s too big or small can impact the efficiency and accuracy of the task. A trowel should fit comfortably in the hand and align with the width of the joint being repointed.

Another common mistake is skipping joint rakers. These items can help remove old mortar efficiently. Not using them can result in uneven removal, causing the new one to adhere poorly.

4. Not Cleaning The Joints Adequately

For the new mortar to bond correctly, the old one must be removed to a certain depth, typically 2-3 times the width of the joint. However, merely raking out the old mortar isn’t enough. The joints need a thorough cleaning to remove any residual dust or debris.

5. Applying Mortar Too Thickly Or Thinly

The depth and thickness of mortar are critical. Applying it too thickly can result in cracks during drying, which can allow water to ingress. Conversely, a thin layer lacks the needed strength and can erode easily. Both these mistakes undermine the repointing's purpose.

6. Failing To Match Mortar Color

Aesthetics play a role in repointing, especially for historical or older buildings. Using a mortar color that doesn’t match the original can lead to a patchy appearance. It’s always a good idea to test a small section first to ensure the colors align.

7. Rushing The Curing Process

Mortar takes time to cure, and rushing this process can compromise its strength. For example, some try to speed up the drying process using chemical accelerants. These can weaken the mortar, leading to reduced lifespan.

Moreover, not moistening the mortar can also impact the curing process. Mortar should be kept moist for at least a few days after application. This can ensure it cures properly and achieves its maximum strength.

8. Neglecting Safety Precautions

Safety should always be a priority during any construction or renovation, including roof repointing. This entails wearing protective gear like safety goggles, gloves, and dust masks to guard against debris and dust.

Moreover, it's crucial to ensure ladder safety by making sure it's stable and correctly positioned.


While roof repointing may appear as a simple task, its importance in preserving the health and appearance of a building is paramount. By avoiding these common mistakes and ensuring that each step is executed with precision and care, one can ensure the longevity of the roof and the safety of the inhabitants.



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