If you're the type of person who likes to do home repairs yourself, and you have noticed that the rear wall needs to be re-pointed, then you can handle it yourself. It's not as difficult a process as you might expect. It's mainly a lot of chiseling and mortar work. However, you will need to get the right supplies. Without proper tools, you will not be able to remove the old mortar, nor will you be able to reach it. Here's a breakdown on what you will need.
Cold Steel Chisel
You should use a handheld chisel instead of a power tool. You want to be precise. When you are re-pointing, you don't want to remove too much of the old mortar. If you use a hand chisel, you will have much more control. You can tap out the old mortar slowly and stop when you get deep enough.
You need a hammer to strike the chisel. Choose a masonry hammer. This hammer will also help you if you need to free out some stuck pieces of mortar. The reserve of a masonry hammer will have a sharp, angled edge. A regular hammer designed for nails will have a reverse side that is designed for pulling nails. It is not sharp or angled enough to be used to disgorge stuck bits of mortar. This is why you need to get a masonry hammer.
Handheld Whisk Broom
You want a small broom to dust out the joints. Once you have removed the large chunks of mortar, you need to clean out any of the dust and small debris that is left over in the groves before applying fresh mortar.
After you have the mortar ready (you can get a premixed tub at a hardware store or find a recipe online) you need to apply it to the joints. Don't try and use a putty knife or a paint scrapper. You want a pointing trowel. These have the exact shape required to let you fill in the cracks, and you can be sure that the fresh mortar doesn't stick to the brick facade. If the exterior bricks get dirty with mortar, you will need to clean them, which will risk everything getting wet.
To be comfortable working on the wall (especially the second story) you need to rent a scaffold. It's dangerous to work with chisel and hammer while up on a ladder, not to mention very tiresome. You will constantly have to get down off the ladder, re-position it, and climb back up to resume your work. The easier way is to just set up a scaffolding with a deck. Then you can bring your tools up onto the deck and walk back and forth and work comfortably.
When choosing a scaffolding set, make sure you choose one with a rail guard. This will protect you from stepping backwards and falling off the platform. Also, you should ask the company if there are scaffolding sets available with heavy duty wheels that will let you move it back and forth. This way you don't have to worry about dissembling the scaffolding if you feel like moving it around your backyard.
When I decided to go into business for myself as a construction contractor, I had no idea how many licenses, permits, and contractual agreements I was going to have to have. The process was confusing and I always worried that I was missing something. Now that my business is flourishing, I wanted to take time to give back to others and help some new business owners to get their start. The best way for me to do that is with this site where I can share tips and information about the supplies, resources, and other details involved in launching your own industrial construction business.