Pointing up Mortar
One of the more common jobs that we get during the spring is repairing brick mortar or "pointing" up mortar. Over time the mortar in the brick can become damaged from the elements, expanding and contracting with temperature etc. There are several different methods to repair the mortar. I will cover two of the most common.
Prepping the area is very important. You want to make sure that you remove as much of the damaged mortar as possible. You can do this by chiseling the mortar out and I recommend using a wire brush to get rid of any lose material.
The first method is to get some mortar. Most comes in powder form that must be mixed. If you are using this type of mortar, make sure that you mix it properly to get the correct consistency or there is premixed which saves you the trouble of mixing and normally comes in a more convenient size.
After mixing your mortar, simply take your trow and apply small amounts of mortar into the gaps between the bricks or over the cracks etc. Once you have filled the gaps etc, make sure you take your trow and smooth out the mortar to match.
The other method is to use a mortar caulk. Depending on where your issue is and how bad the damaged area is this may be the better option. Simply apply the mortar caulk with a caulking gun and smooth over when finished.
There you have it. Two options for a Quick Fix for a common problem. Good luck!!!
Sometimes DIY Costs More Money
We all like to save money and, sometimes, taking on a home repair project yourself sounds like a big money saver.
That's why it helps to hire a professional. Someone who knows how to make the repair without causing extra damage and leaves a job that adds value to your home.
If you wanna try some home repairs on your own, I'll help you know what you'll need to get started and how to do it yourself.
Replace an Electrical Outlet
What you'll need:
1. Turn the electrical power to the outlet off at the circuit breaker and test that the electricity to the outlet is OFF using your tester. (Circuit breakers are commonly in the basement or garage. Each breaker should be labeled so you know which one controls various outlets and electrical units. If yours isn't labeled, take a few minutes to do that as you search for the correct circuit that controls the outlet you're replacing).
ELECTRICITY IS DANGEROUS AND CAN CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING INJURY or DEATH.
2. You may lose lights in the room where you're replacing the outlet, so use an alternate lighting source.
3. Carefully remove the cover plate from the outlet. Test that the electrical current is OFF to the outlet again.
4. An outlet is held into the outlet box by 2 screws. Remove these and carefully extract the broken outlet from the wall being sure not to disconnect existing wires.
5. Take a picture of the way wires are connected to the outlet currently. Most outlets involve a ground wire (which is thinner and may be bare or grey), a live wire (which is normally black), and a return wire (which is normally white). Be sure you can identify these wires in your picture. If the outlet provides power to another outlet on the same circuit, you may find pairs of white, black, and grey wires.
6. Carefully remove the wires from the existing outlet after loosening the screws that hold them in place.
7. Place the wires in your new outlet using the exact same configuration as in your picture. If necessary, you may have to form a small hook at the end of the wire using pliers. Wrap the wire hook clockwise around the screw post so that it is wrapped tighter as you tighten the screw. Ensure the bare wires don't touch after all wires are attached to the new outlet.
8. Attach the new outlet to the outlet box with the screws provided.
9. Replace the outlet cover.
10. Turn the circuit back on and test your outlet. If the outlet doesn't work properly, you may have to repeat these steps to find a loose wire or one that wasn't connected properly.
Scott Shelton, owner of Quick Fixed Handyman Services
Founder, Quick Fixes Handyman