The windowsills at Pig Row are in a sorry state. They are a mix of 1950s concrete with added nails! Then at some point in the 1980s it was tiled and then again in the noughties a sheet of fake ceramic tiles; the kind you can wipe down easily but in reality collect condensation and drip down your wall. The walls being an ugly mix of horsehair, black concrete and more nails; yes, it's the S&M of DIY. So, where do you start with walls and sills so monumentally botched?
Masks! No, we're not going all Phantom, think more Frank Spencer. A good mask will keep the worst of the horsehair dust out though your snot will still end up grey and gritty. You need to rake out the joints, which should be easy with old mortar. Our's is all crumbly so raking out is more like Russian roulette of which piece of stone wobbles first, which brings us to a bit of common sense when doing any pointing, especially around windows. Do small sections of a metre square (3x3 foot approx.) this means you can rake out and point on the same day. We use a mortar mix of 1 cement, 1 lime, 4 sand. It slowly dries and turns grey over time, to go darker have 3 sand to 1 of lime and cement. Let it set before moving on.
We use a pointing trowel, this is long and thin (we should take a photo here and show you but we're not near the kitchen. We're in the garden shed and the ubiquitous Pennine weather, rain, abounds. So you will have to visualise a long thin trowel...can you see it? Good, let's move on) to fill in the joints after thirty minutes we brush off the excess with a soft brush and voila! A finished section of wall! We even added more stone at the top to raise the windowsill back to its original level and soon we will show you how to make stone windowsills, when it stops raining.