Category Archives: foundation

UPDATE: Tuckpointing Map

Just updated my google map. its not 100% compleate but with over 35 examples in the Ithaca, NY area and few outside it’s not so bad. What has been excluded is the many examples found under porches and paint in Ithaca, NY. Those examples really stain the eye. The map also does not include places where evidence is not aparent but architecturally would make sense to have tuckpointing. This is based on the facade and time of construction. There are other building in Ithaca, NY that more than likely had Tuckpointing (Bordman House) but were only repointed last century.

Tuckpointing Examples and where to find them

Tuckpointing: Women’s interfaith institute

While on a small trip to Women’s Rights National Historic Park, I couldn’t help myself and had to take a closer look at the church next door, located at 140 fall street, Seneca falls, NY.

While poking around I was approached by a woman working in the flower beds, who introduced herself as Allison Stokes, Founding Director of the Institute. She explained that the church caught on fire a number of years ago and suffered less from fire damage and more water damage from firefighters dousing the flames via a hole in the new roof.

The church itself was built in 1871 and has all the hallmarks of traditional Tuckpointing. The ribbons are almost all gone except in sheltered areas but interestingly on the façade a distinct cleaner area can be seen. This cleaner area follows a near plumb line on the face of some brick, indicating that the head joints or perp ribbons were laid directly on the face of the brick. Another interesting feature is that a few parts of the stopping mortar are vivid. However, this is only in isolated areas. Further investigation would be needed to determine the exact tuckpointing methods employed here.  Never the less it would look excellent restored to its former glory.

Tuckpointing: Brick chimney at 409 E. Buffalo

Even when masonry is not the focus of buildings architecture, the necessity of a chimney provides an opportunity for high quality details to be carried out. In this case Tuckpointing was well executed on the brick chimney. While this expression of the masonry craft is a little tarnished, details are still well preserved on under the eaves, where protection from the elements is greatest. Take note that on the face of the chimney with the greatest exposures; the tuckpointing is nearly completely gone, leaving behind only the unifying red colorwash. This gives a muted appearance and an undoubtable suggestion that perhaps the best approach to “fixing” this artwork is to simply paint it red, as was once done in the past to the section above the roof line. Such practices can accelerate decay by causing excess moisture to be trapped in the masonry units (i.e. Brick) and lead to spalling and of course peeling paint.

Also not if you zoom in closely, there a small amount of tuckpointing on the stone Foundation

Tuckpointing: Stone Foundation at 412 State St.

The work done on this foundation is far from being in great condition or of the highest caliber. However, that doesn’t mean it should get a mention and be recorded. Here some photos from the west facing elevation of the foundation. It should be noted that there was nothing noticeably preserved on the east side. However, there is clear evidence of black stopping mortar that has weathered relatively well.


Tuckpointing: Stone Foundation at 420 Seneca St.

This is a great example of tuckpointing, in that it was done to what might be relegated today as an unworthy section of the house. Looking at the entire area of exposed stone it’s amazing that the time and effort would have been put into such a small area. With only a few square feet exposed directly to the street to be seen by pedestrians and much of the surface area exposed to the neighboring house, it exemplifies the perfection sought out by builders and the expectations owners had of craftsmanship.

What’s also great about this example is the cross section that can be seen on the exposed and worn corner, showing the beaded joint profile.

Tuckpointing: N. Plain St. and Seneca St.

Here is an example of some Tuckpointing done on the stone foundation of an INHS owned building at the corner of N. Plain St. and Seneca St.

While it might not obvious at first this work was meant to simulate well cut Ashlar stonework. What is interesting here is use of a straightedge to produce crisp 90° angles and sharp straight ribbons. Also, the work done here is not a crisp bead as in other examples but more of a true flat ribbon, which is more akin to tuckpointing associated with brickwork.

With this level of decay only a small portion of the original article is left behind and is clearly in need of a repointing campaign, and should be finished in a true tuckpointed finish.

Tuckpointing and bonus foundation: Rochester, NY

On a recent visit to Rochester, NY I noticed this gem of a building. While at first sight it may appear ordinary in its joint profile, further examination under the porch showed evidence of a well done tuckpoint joint, that has faded. there is also some evidence of a colorwash or stain that was applied to the brickwork and stopping mortar and has since faded. Alternatively this could be evidence that the red stopping mortar incorporated a red pigment which has almost completely faded. Only the proper sampling and examination of one of these mortar joints could offer some complete answer.


Also notice the pictures of a limestone foundation with a black beaded joint profile. This building is located behind the tuckpointed prick building. In fact you can see the rear of the building in the last photo.