On To The Brick
With the foundation that the porch will cover fully repointed, I've moved on to the brick above it. And there's a LOT of brick to repoint, and a lot of brick that's in really bad shape. I'm actually off to a slow start because a fair number of bricks, after a little mortar removal, more or less fall right out of the wall. I've had to reset a couple dozen bricks, which takes a little bit of time and has really slowed down the repointing effort.
The overall plan, before I can start building the porch, is to repoint this area shown in blue:
Right now I'm tackling the area in red, then I'll move the scaffolding into the corner and get after the area in green:
I began at the bottom of the brick wall, right above the basement window, and what started out like this:
Quickly turned into this:
Those arches over the basement windows, for one reason or another, seem to all be in pretty rough shape, and they're not super simple to rebuild because the bricks sit on a little bit of an angle and that's just enough to add an extra little challenge to the equation. I got this one put back together decently and while I wish I had cut a brick or two a little better, I have so much work ahead of me that getting hung up on perfectionist nonsense isn't in the cards.
The repointing work is most efficiently accomplished by working horizontally so before I worked my way too far up the wall, I went around the corner and addressed the beam pocket leftover from the original porch construction. There'd always been a hole in the wall (that's what a beam pocket is), but the inner wythe behind it was trash, and some of the outer wythe bricks around it were busted or falling apart.
See all those little black dots in the debris pile in the hole in the wall? That's mouse poop. I cleaned out the hole and popped a few inner wythe bricks free, and started rebuilding all of it.
When resetting bricks, I try to reset a couple, then work in another area, and come back to reset a couple more. Some of these spots are really difficult to squeeze bricks into, and the inner wythe is about impossible to get mortar into easily so the idea is to let a couple freshly mortared bricks setup for a little bit before I add on and risk having something move if I bump into it with a brick, jointer, etc.
And of course in thise case, I started raking out mortar to the left and 6 more bricks came right out of the wall.
I wound up removing the inner wythe bricks behind the 6 outer wythe bricks that came out of the wall so I could reset them as well. A porch ledge has to get attached to this wall, and I can't do that if I'm trying to anchor anything to loose brick. I fought the mosquitos and darkness last night to get the inner wythe rebuilt and the outer 6 bricks back in the wall, but it all turned out good enough.
Tonight (Friday) after work I finished rebuilding the beam pocket, and did a little more pointing.
It's not perfect - maybe a B, B+? - but the brick in the above pic will get covered by a ledger and, ultimately, the porch, so the goal was primarily getting things solid, relatively decent in appearance, and leaving me in a good position to get after it tomorrow because it's supposed to rain on Sunday.
The work is oddly satisfying, but maaaaaaaan...I'm ready to make some sawdust.
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