It’s an annoying fact that when we look at something our eyes are drawn to the mistakes, so bad pointing—uneven fill, smudged lines—always stands out a mile. You can’t beat crisp, clean pointing for a truly professional look and, as here at London Stone we provide some of the best pointing products on the market, we thought it only fair to help you get the best out of them.
First off—preparation. Wherever possible, we strongly recommend pre-sealing natural stone, especially if you’re laying sawn paving. It’s much easier to clean over-spill off stone that’s been sealed.
If you intend to use gun-point mortar or sand and cement pointing on, for example, sandstone that hasn’t been sealed, however, you can still guard against problems by damping the stone down. Don’t soak it, but make it obviously damp. Dry stone will absorb water from the mortar and this can lead to picture-framing that won’t clean away. A damp stone won’t suck in mix from the compound.
Once pointing is underway, the single most important approach is to ensure you don’t put in too much product at any one time. Whether you’re using gun-point mortar, sand and cement, sweep-in mortar or grout, as soon as you apply the product it’s starting to go off, to cure.
This makes it extremely important that you only apply product to the area you have the time to work with—that’s around 3m2 in 30 minutes. Start filling in too many joints, and you’ll find that when you go back to strike the mortar, you won’t be able to create a smooth finish because it will already have started to harden.
During summer, when the weather is warmer, product may go off quicker, so pay attention to the behaviour of the mortar and reduce your working area until you see how it’s reacting.
It’s true that brush-in mortar is more forgiving, because you can top up joints even after they’ve hardened and the material will bond with itself. However, no one wants to make a second site visit if you can avoid it, so it’s important to keep an eye on the slump of brush-in mortar—something that’s less likely to happen with trowel-in and gunable products. Top up deep joints and hollows and smooth off so you won’t need to come back.
Finally—and we’ve said it before!—clean up as you work. It’s infinitely easier, whether you’re laying Natural Stone or Porcelain to clean off the product before it’s started to go off. Be nice to yourself—wipe it away before it starts to harden!
And it really is as simple as that. The key is preparation and not trying to get ahead of yourself. Follow these basic rules, whether you’re pointing with Larsen Gun-Point Mortar, GftK Sweep-In Mortar, Ardex Grout, or sand and cement, and you’re immediately several steps closer to a truly a professional finish.
If you have any other questions about our pointing products, then give us a call or click on the Live Chat at the top of this page.