How To Use An Angle Grinder To Remove Mortar – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you looking to remove old, deteriorated mortar from your bricks or stones?

Tuckpointing can be a tough job, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done efficiently and effectively.

One of the best tools for the job is an angle grinder with a diamond masonry blade.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps of using an angle grinder to remove mortar, including safety precautions and tips for getting the job done quickly and easily.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a professional masonry contractor, this guide will help you achieve a quality tuckpointing job.

So grab your angle grinder and let’s get started!

How To Use An Angle Grinder To Remove Mortar

Step 1: Safety First

Before you begin, it’s important to take safety precautions. Clamp the blade in a vise or to your workbench with hand clamps. Orient the grinder and adjust the blade guard to deflect sparks from your face and body. Wear protective gear such as safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from flying debris and dust.

Step 2: Align the Grinding Wheel

Align the grinding wheel with the angle on the blade. This will ensure that you remove the mortar evenly and at the correct angle.

Step 3: Start Grinding

Start the grinder and move the grinding wheel steadily across the blade while applying light pressure. Be sure to work in small sections at a time, moving the grinder back and forth until all of the old mortar has been removed.

Step 4: Clean Up

Once you’ve removed all of the old mortar, use a brush or vacuum to clean up any dust or debris left behind.

Safety Precautions Before Using An Angle Grinder

Using an angle grinder can be a dangerous task, so it’s important to take safety precautions before getting started. The first and most important safety measure is to wear the proper personal protective equipment. This includes a full-face mask, hand gloves, eye and hearing protection, suitable attire, natural fiber clothing, and an apron if needed. Avoid wearing loose clothing and tying long hair.

When using an angle grinder, it’s crucial to use the correct speed setting. Starting with the low speed setting and gradually increasing it as needed is recommended. Avoid using a speed that’s faster than the maximum Rotations Per Minute (RPM) specified by the manufacturer as it may create pieces of sharp shrapnel that shoot violently into the air.

Before starting to grind, it’s important to do a risk assessment of the workspace to ensure that hazards have been controlled. Inform other workers in the area that the angle grinder will be operating, tidy away slip and trip hazards, ensure there are no flammable substances in the area, and make sure the workspace is well-ventilated to prevent dust and vapour from becoming breathing hazards.

When grinding, always use two hands to operate the grinder. One hand should grip the handle and dead-man switch (if provided), while the other hand supports the weight of the tool. Allow the grinder to ‘run up’ to operating speed before applying it to the job. Hold the grinder against the workpiece with minimum pressure so that the disc does not ‘grab’ and cause it to kickback. Never bump the grinder onto the object or let the disc hit any other object while grinding.

Keep the grinding disc at a 15 to 30-degree angle to the object and ensure that the workpiece is held firmly either as part of a larger item or in a bench vice. Where possible, keep the work at waist height during grinding. Adopt a comfortable stance with feet apart so you feel well-balanced and ensure you have a clear view of the job. Never use a grinder between your legs while sitting on the floor.

Stop at regular intervals for a short break to rest your hands and arms. Never put a grinder down until the disc stops rotating, remove the plug from the power point before changing discs, and never use a cutting disc for grinding or a grinding disc for cutting.

Choosing The Right Diamond Masonry Blade For The Job

When it comes to choosing the right diamond masonry blade for the job, there are a few things to consider. Not all diamond blades are created equal, and selecting the right one can make all the difference in the success of your project.

First, consider the material you will be cutting. If you will be cutting through very dense, abrasive materials like concrete and asphalt, you will need a diamond blade specifically designed for those materials. Look for blades with a hard bond, as they are better suited for cutting through hard, dense materials. On the other hand, if you will be cutting through softer materials like brick or limestone, a blade with a soft bond may be more appropriate.

Next, consider the size and shape of the blade. Blades come in various sizes and shapes to accommodate different tools and cutting needs. Make sure to choose a blade that is compatible with your angle grinder or other cutting tool.

Lastly, pay attention to the quality of the blade. A high-quality diamond blade will last longer and perform better than a lower-quality one. Look for blades with evenly distributed diamond particles and a sturdy metal matrix.

By considering these factors when choosing your diamond masonry blade, you can ensure that you have the right tool for the job and achieve the best possible results.

Preparing Your Workspace For Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is a necessary process for repairing deteriorated, broken, or missing mortar. Before beginning the tuckpointing process, it’s important to prepare your workspace.

Step 1: Clean the Work Area

Before you begin tuckpointing, make sure to clean the work area thoroughly. Use a masonry brush or high-pressure air nozzle to brush dust and debris from the ground-out mortar joints. This will ensure that the new mortar adheres properly and lasts longer.

Step 2: Protect Surrounding Areas

To prevent damage to surrounding areas, cover any nearby surfaces such as windows or doors with plastic sheeting or drop cloths. This will protect them from dust and debris created during the tuckpointing process.

Step 3: Set Up Equipment

Set up all necessary equipment such as scaffolding, ladders, and walk boards in a safe and secure manner. Make sure they are out of the way and do not obstruct any customer paths or areas.

Step 4: Dry Cleanups

Dry cleanups occur at the end of every working day. Debris is collected, organized, and set aside in 5-gallon buckets until being hauled away. Wet cleanups are addressed after dry cleanups as needed.

Step 5: Final Clean Up

Once the tuckpointing process is complete, inspect the completed project and thoroughly clean the work area. The job site should be cleaned and all work-related debris should leave the premises.

By following these steps to prepare your workspace for tuckpointing, you can ensure a successful and mess-free completion of your project.

Tips For Efficient And Effective Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is a task that requires precision and patience. Here are some tips to make the process more efficient and effective:

1. Choose the Right Equipment

Make sure you have the correct equipment before you start tuckpointing. You will need an angle or tuckpoint-specific grinder, chisel, tuckpointer blade, hammer, hammer drill, mortar gun, trowel, safety goggles, earplugs, hose, brush, and mortar mix. Using the appropriate equipment will make the job easier and safer.

2. Use a Diamond-Tipped Blade

When using a grinder to remove brick mortar, it’s important to use a diamond-tipped blade. These blades can remove a quarter-inch of mortar with each pass through the joint. They are angled at 45 degrees on the edges to improve how they cut through old mortar. Higher quality blades will give you more even surfaces and get the removal done faster.

3. Work in Small Sections

To ensure that you remove the old mortar evenly and at the correct angle, work in small sections at a time. This will also help you avoid damaging the surrounding bricks.

4. Keep Your Tools Clean

Keep your tools clean throughout the process to ensure that they work efficiently. Use a brush or vacuum to clean up any dust or debris left behind after removing the old mortar.

5. Wear Protective Gear

Wear protective gear such as safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from flying debris and dust. This is especially important when using a grinder to remove old mortar.

6. Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions

Always use and maintain your tools according to your manufacturer’s instructions. This will help ensure that they work properly and safely.

By following these tips, you can efficiently and effectively remove old mortar using an angle grinder. Remember to take safety precautions and work carefully to avoid damaging the surrounding bricks.

Cleaning Up After Tuckpointing Is Complete

After tuckpointing is complete, it’s important to clean up the area to ensure a polished and professional finish. The following steps will help you clean up after tuckpointing is complete:

Step 1: Vacuum the Area

Use a vacuum to remove any dust or debris left behind from the tuckpointing process. This will ensure that the area is clean and ready for the next step.

Step 2: Wipe Down the Area

Using a wet rag or high-pressure air nozzle, wipe down the area to remove any remaining dust or debris. This will help to ensure that the new mortar adheres properly.

Step 3: Inspect the Area

Inspect the area to ensure that all loose debris has been removed. Check for any cracks or gaps in the mortar and make any necessary repairs.

Step 4: Apply Lime Putty or Sealant

To protect the new mortar from weathering, apply lime putty or a sealant to the joints. This will help to ensure that the new mortar lasts for years to come.

Step 5: Cut Away Excess Residue

Using a chisel or grinder, cut away any excess residue left behind from the tuckpointing process. This will help to ensure a clean and polished finish.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your tuckpointing project is completed successfully and that your brickwork looks great for years to come.