How much repointing should I expect in a day?

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    How much repointing should I expect in a day?

    Hi. I have purchased a large period red-brick house, where the entire exterior is in dire need of repointing. I had someone lined up, but they've got stuck a another project and have recommended an experienced semi-retired chap, who is slightly cheaper, but probably also a bit slower. He wants to be paid on a daily rate which is fine by me. But because I've never hired someone to do pointing before, I have no idea how much to expect him to achieve in a day. Given how large the house is, if he's unreasonably slow, by the end it could have cost me many thousands more, and taken months longer to complete. Can anyone advise me what to expect in a day, in terms of square metres re-pointed? In fairness, I should point out that it's in a conservation area and the pointing is a bit more fancy than usual, with lime mortar and elements of tuck pointing at the front. I need some kind of yardstick to know what to expect. Thanks. MR.

    #2
    it depends on how fast/ slow he works. It is quite painstaking to do it really well, particularly if he pins in with stones any deep cavities. Assuming he buys coarse stuff all ready to use after a bit of working up, I wouldn't expect more than an about 5 sq metres a day. You want a really good job done, no lime 'snots' on the face of the bricks.

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      #3
      Hi. Thanks for the response. You clearly know more about it than me. Not sure what coarse stuff you mean, or what lime 'snots' are, but I will be sure to look it up. But you say I cannot expect more than 5 m2 per day, given the complexity. If only! He has so far worked 2 1/2 days and re-pointed less than 2 square meters and he hasn't even been doing the tuck pointing bit. Even allowing for the fact that half the first day was wasted getting materials and experimenting with different pointing finishes, I am worried that I'll be broke before the house is finished, if I can't up the daily meterage!

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        #4
        Did you not ask how long he expects the works to take? That would at least give you an indication of how long and cost it would be. I'm assuming you don't need to repoint the whole house.

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          #5
          Rookie error, I know. I normally ask that sort of thing straightaway. He is such a charming, chatty old fox, that I found myself hiring him before I'd even asked that question. I did have the sense to say, that I'd employ him for a few days, and then take stock to see how fast it was progressing, and then I'd know if it was going to be economic for me to continue, given the size of the job. And, YES, the whole huge (10 bed) house needs repointing! But getting advice from this website on what would be a typical amount achieved in a day, was my way of 'taking stock' after a few days. Thanks.

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            #6
            I would find out if with the size of the house he needs to have scaffolding. And if he does make him pay for it I once had a bricklayer erect a building and I was paying for the scaffolding. It cost me a fortune as if it rained for two days he would not turn up, then cleared off on holiday, and all the time I was paying rent on the scaffolding.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Marcus Read View Post
              Hi. I have purchased a large period red-brick house, where the entire exterior is in dire need of repointing. I had someone lined up, but they've got stuck a another project and have recommended an experienced semi-retired chap, who is slightly cheaper, but probably also a bit slower. He wants to be paid on a daily rate which is fine by me. But because I've never hired someone to do pointing before, I have no idea how much to expect him to achieve in a day. Given how large the house is, if he's unreasonably slow, by the end it could have cost me many thousands more, and taken months longer to complete. Can anyone advise me what to expect in a day, in terms of square metres re-pointed? In fairness, I should point out that it's in a conservation area and the pointing is a bit more fancy than usual, with lime mortar and elements of tuck pointing at the front. I need some kind of yardstick to know what to expect. Thanks. MR.
              In hindsight, Because rules have changed, is there not some regulation where an employee is not supposed to work off a ladder and scaffolding has to be used. If you are being asked to pay him on a day rate will he not become an employee. If he falls off the ladder would the H&S say you are his employer. Perhaps pay a bit more and get someone who has a business and its their responsibility to provide access.
              You can always make an anonymous phone call to the H&S to check.

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                #8
                This is coarse stuff :=

                https://roseofjericho.co.uk/product/...-coarse-stuff/

                "Snots" are what lumps of mortar are called by brick people to describe bits of mortar that falls where it shouldn't on the face of the property. Building work, most especially traditional building using historic skills that are almost lost is very expensive. I have a guy on the books doing this work all year round and allowing for all the costs of employing someone he is on equivalent of £30/hour. It probably is more expensive to employ people on a day rate but the quality is likely to be better and the aggro factor lower. It doesn't surprise me that the rate of progress has been slow. Sometimes it is amazing how slow it can be. Stand around and watch for a while.

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                  #9
                  I just looked again, and see that my thread has attracted further helpful and interesting posts. Thanks to those who responded. As an amateur, with no expertise, who is engaging an expert with a lifetime of expertise, on a temporary basis, to do work at my own home, at times, on days, and at rates dictated by him, it would seem strange if the law treated him as my employee. Otherwise, wouldn't the guy who services my boiler also become my employee? But, in any event, I'm currently referring to ground-level pointing. There is no suggestion of anybody working off a ladder. Once we get above ground level (years from now at current progress!) it will be done properly with reputable scaffolders.

                  Thanks also for the post from flyingfreehold cautioning how long pointing can take. I have however since spoken to bricklayers, and found cost guides online, and I can reasonably expect around 5m2 per day... or a cost of £20 to £30 per square meter (depending on what you read). Even allowing for the neat re-pointing required, I have just paid £350 for 2 m2 re-pointing, over 2 1/2 days, which works out at 0.8 metres per day, or £175 per square metre, which is not something I can afford to continue.

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                    #10
                    I am heartened that my estimate of around 5 m2 a day has been borne out by others. Tell him you want him to speed up a bit. Lime pointing does take longer than portland cement work, but it will be better for the house as the moisture wicked up from the foundations can exhale through the pointing rather than cause interstitial dampness which will be horrible inside and probably blow the face off the bricks. Now is the perfect time of year for pointing, no more frost so it won't get ice crystals and crack overnight and not too warm so that the top layer dries too quickly and shrinks. Ask him to try to speed up. If the work is as good as I expect it will give you a lot of pleasure long after you've forgotten the cost

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