|Tools needed to remove WMJs. (Brick Hammer is shown,|
but any hammer to pop down on your chisel will do.)
From my end, it's clear that there is a lot of interest in the topic of Weeping Mortar Joints. There are some that hold WMJs in favorable regard and believe they should be appreciated as an architectural element. As I've mentioned before (see The Weeping Joints at The Fire House) when complemented effectively, I'm totally sold on how they can contribute to the exterior facade. However, when they've been painted with the exterior brick, I think the result is less-than-impressive. When I had weeping joints on the project we call The Fire House (before), most of my visitors believed strongly that I had no choice but to deal with them in some way. I agreed.
There is more than one way to skin a cat. I've found that if you have a unique issue it's possible to get five different suggested solutions from five people. They all may be right and they may not. When you're the one making the decision it's up to you to listen, sort through what you've been told, and draw on your own knowledge base to move forward as you choose. The WMJs at The Fire House (during) was an example of something that inspired a diverse variety of advice. One person strongly recommended that I hire a masonry crew to chisel away the oozing joints, grind out the mortar, and then tuckpoint replacement material back in to create more traditional looking joints. Another visitor recommended that I find someone with a jackhammer and get out of the way. A few thought I should simply get used to how the home looked because they knew of no viable options for me. And another man got more specific and unloaded his seemingly costly and time-consuming advice for me to attach wire fabric to the brick and then apply stucco. As I mentioned in my February post on this topic, it was pretty simple and I just chipped the WMJs all off myself by hand, a remedy that eluded the curious folks stopping by.
Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time.
I didn't try to chip all the weeping joints off in one day or even a weekend. The exterior walls were between nine and ten feet high. I broke that height in half and started moving my way around the house a day at a time and one 5' x 5' section at a time. Some evenings I chipped away after work for 20 or 30 minutes and there was a day or two on the weekends when I did twenty-five square feet in the morning and the same sized section before dark. It was not difficult or strenuous and there was an immediate pay-off because of how the work impacted the exterior look so profoundly. Once the WMJs were gone, the joints then had a jagged look that differed from typical/traditional ones finished during construction with a jointer, but they looked good. Better stated, within the painted brick exterior of The Fire House (after), they looked right and if a visitor didn't know any different, they likely assumed that the way it appeared was the way the brick facade had always been.