Hello, do you have brickwork or ridge tiles that need repointing? You could pay someone to do it, but with a bit of work you can do it yourself quite easily. Read my guide to learn how!
How to repoint your roof ridge tiles / brickwork with mortar
How to mix and use mortar to repoint your roof ridge tiles or your brickwork. Not too tough and something that can save you good money!
How to mix mortar for pointing
To mix the mortar, then get building sand and cement. I'd recommend red sand in most cases as if you use yellow then the final mix often ends up white. You also need to use some plasticiser, this makes the mix easier and smoother to point and also stops it from cracking.
I use a three to one mix usually. Three parts sand to one part cement. If you're using a barrow or a board to mix, then it's usually easier to mix up dry, to make sure that all of the powder is mixed, then slowly add the water and plasticiser afterwards. Have your trowel handy so you can check the consistency of the mix. You want to be able to smooth it with the trowel and have it not look gritty or crack as you're smoothing. If it is gritty, add a little cement, if it's sloppy, add a bit of sand. Idealyl you mix it so it's smooth and thick enough to not run down the brickwork or mortar.
If you're pointing brickwork, then make sure that you put something down under where the brickwork is, as you will be spilling some. If you put a dust sheet down first then it won't be a problem.
The first thing to do before you start mixing any mortar is prepare where it's going to go. If you're looking at brickwork, then you need to grind out all of the old mortar before you start. To do this get a 4 inch grinder, some eye protection and I'd recommend hearing protection too. Get the grinder in there and get about an inch deep into the chase. Take your time when you're grinding to make sure that you follow the mortar and don't start grinding bricks.
After you've ran the grinder through the chase, get an old screwdriver or something similar and run it through the chase to check for loose mortar. If there is any, then rake it out. After that use a handbrush to sweep any dust out of there.
I like to use a normal pointing trowel to point brickwork. Make sure it's clean. The easiest way to do is to make a triangle shape up the side of the bucket, then get a small slug like amount on the edge of the trowel. Work this into the chase, don't slide it sideways too much, just put in vertically, before smoothing it sideways.
There isn't much to say about the technique of pointing it in, once you've started smoothing it in you just need to make sure that you take your time while you're getting the hang of it. If you get any on the brickwork, then use a wet sponge and handbrush to get it off. The best bet is to practice somewhere that isn't really in full view until you get the hang of it.
If you spill any on the ground, make sure you sweep it up and then hose it down really well. If you don't and it goes onto the drive, then it will be a lot harder to clean up once it's dried.
Repointing / rebedding ridge tiles
To get on your roof and do your ridge tiles you're going to need a crawler ladder. You simply hook that over the ridge tiles then walk up it. It is not particularly difficult but make sure it is solidly hooked on before you commit your life to it! I would definitely recommend having a friend there to help before you step onto the roof, it makes things a whole lot easier having someone pass you the buckets etc.
If you're rebedding or repointing your roof ridge tiles, you need to again make sure you clean the old mortar off properly. I can't really recommend pointing over the top of old mortar with ridge tiles, after a while it always comes off and slides down the roof. Far better is to take the old tiles off completely then clean them down with a hammer and brush. When you start putting the new mortar down, you don't need to fill the underside of the ridge tile completely, just put a good bed down where the edges of the tiles go, sit them on top and build up a big amount between the tiles. If you use some broken up pieces of tile, then you can help to build up the mortar between the tiles.
Don't bother pointing the mortar until you've got most of them bedded down. You need to check from the ground, or get someone to check for you that you've got them all at the same level before you start pointing. If any are too low or high, you can then adjust with a tap, or a bit more mortar underneath. Once they are all down and level, then you can point them.
I would recommend using gloves as if you get lots of mortar on your hands over several hours, then it will really crack them and dry them out.
Something to think of is an exit after you've put the ridge tiles down. If you are working backwards and sitting on the ridge as you go, then obviously once the ridge tiles are down you won't be able to sit on them. Just bear this in mind. Most people do an awkward straddle/squat for the last couple. Not easy on your legs though..
Ridge tiles can be rebedded fairly easily if the roof access is good. If not, then get the right kit. If you've got a crawler ladder you can usually manage, if it is looking like scaffold is needed, get one rather than risk your life..
You can do it, just take your time and not only can you do just as good a job as the pros, you'll save a lot of cash. If in doubt or if you're scared of ladders, then of course get some roofers in to do the job, but at least you now know what to expect them to do.
Rain Defence Roofing are roofers based in Nottingham. They specialise in flat roofing, using EPDM rubber flat roof membrane.