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What is a mortar rake used for?

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The process of removing mortar from between brick / stonework and adding in new mortar is called repointing. The process of removing mortar from between brick/stonework and adding in new mortar is called ‘repointing’.
As a building ages the mortar between the bricks or stones starts to crumble and wear. As the mortar begins to disappear the inside of the building can suffer from damp as the moisture which is normally prevented from seeping into the structure of the building is allowed to do so with the absence of mortar. As a building ages, the mortar between the bricks or stones starts to crumble and wear. As the mortar begins to disappear, the inside of the building can suffer from damp, as the moisture which is normally prevented from seeping into the structure of the building is allowed to do so with the absence of mortar.
Sometimes mortar can be mixed badly and it starts to crumble prematurely. Or, the mortar could be made with too much cement and as a result the mortar will not be moist enough and will take the moisture from the surrounding bricks / stones. This makes the bricks crumble - weakening the the structure of the building over time. Sometimes, mortar can be mixed badly and it starts to crumble prematurely, or, the mortar could be made with too much cement. As a result, the mortar will not be moist enough and will take the moisture from the surrounding bricks/stones, causing them to crumble and weakening the structure of the building over time.
Deciding on which tool to use when removing mortar will depend on A - the Area / Amount of mortar you will be removing, B - the Blend of mortar you will be removing and C - the Choice of power tools you already have available. Deciding on which tool to use when removing mortar will depend on the following:

  1. The area and amount of mortar you will be removing
  2. The blend of mortar you will be removing
  3. The power tools you already have available

1. The area and amount of mortar you will be removing

A - the Area / Amount of mortar you will be removing will help you decide which type of tool you will be using. If you only need to remove a small area of mortar a hand - powered tool maybe most beneficial as it is the cheapest option and easiest to use. However, if you need to remove a larger area of mortar you may find it more helpful to use a power tool with a mortar rake attachment as the power tool will be able to rake through the mortar at a faster pace than you would be able to do by hand. Thinking about the area and amount of mortar you will be removing will help you decide which type of tool to use.

If you need to remove a large area of mortar, you may find it more helpful to use a power tool with a mortar rake attachment as the power tool will be able to rake through the mortar at a faster pace than you would be able to do by hand.

2. The blend of mortar you will be removing

B - The Blend of mortar you're removing will affect which tool you use. Although a hand - powered tool may be easy to use on lime - based mortar - as it will crumble easily when raked - a cement based mortar mix may be much harder to rake through and require the strength provided by a power tool to be raked efficiently. The blend of mortar you are removing will affect which tool you use.

Although a hand-powered tool may be easy to use on lime-based mortar (as it will crumble easily when raked), a cement-based mortar mix may be much harder to rake through by hand and so will require the strength provided by a power tool.

3. The power tools you already have available

C - the Choice of power tools you have available may decide your choice in mortar rake attachments. Rather than using power tools such as angle grinders with grinding discs, or SDS Plus Drills with masonry drill bits in -  it is advisable to use a mortar rake attachment because mortar rakes are designed specifically for removing the mortar between stones and bricks. A mortar rake is designed so as unlike a blade it does not overcut the brickwork but works in the channels between the stones / bricks. The choice of power tools you have available may decide your choice in mortar rake attachments.

Rather than using power tools such as angle grinders with grinding discs, or SDS plus drills with masonry drill bits in, it is advisable to use a mortar rake attachment as they are designed specifically for the removal of mortar between stones and bricks.

Using a mortar rake is advisable when mortar raking because the tool is crafted for that specific job. Unlike using other power tool combinations this accessory rakes out mortar between the joint beds and 'perps' (perpendicular angles) Unlike other power tool combinations, a mortar rake cuts/grinds out mortar between the joint beds (horizontals) and ‘perps’ (perpendicular angles – verticals)