• Get at least three quotes and compare prices.
• Ask for references and call them.
• Consider a company’s reputation and years of service.
• Verify the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured as appropriate.
• Ask if the contractor belongs to any professional organizations. Look for these logos and BBB logo on the company’s Web site and other promotional material.
• Find out what type of mortar mix will be used? This may be especially important if restoration work is involved.
• Inquire about any preparation that is needed. Make sure the cleaner used is appropriate for your masonry. You don’t want anything damaged by water or abrasive blasting.
• Determine if cold or hot weather will affect your masonry project? Tuckpointing is not recommended during winter since the cold weather can damage the mortar.
• Ask how the joints will be prepared for the new mortar?
• Ask about the use of power tools, which can damage masonry. Loose mortar should be raked out by hand and brushed, then watered down. This allows the new mortar to retain moisture as it cures.
• Inquire about the style of tuckpointing used? Concave, flat, European? Ask the tuck pointer to explain the difference.
• Check to see if contractor will clean up after the job?
• Get a written contract detailing the work. Don’t sign anything until all blanks are completed. And, make sure warranties and guarantees are included.
• Never pay in full upfront. A legitimate, trustworthy contractor won’t do business that way.
Remember, when properly done, tuckpointing will provide a strong waterproof mortar joint matching the original appearance of the mortar joints. It will also help extend the life of the building and provide waterproof protection to the building’s interior.
BBB can help you choose a tuck pointer by providing a list of BBB Accredited contractors and Business Profiles on ones you're considering. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.