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I started a re-pointing project in my basement, but it was way more work than I had anticipated, so I haven't continued in about six months. However, now that i'm looking at mortar I originally tucked, it appears to be patchy, as if some of the lime is bleeding to the surface.

brick - field stone joint above grade brick (the bright white color is from the previous person's attempt to fix the cracks with what I believe to be cement that was too hard.)

What is actually happening? and why? If it should be avoided, how can I do so?

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Inconsistencies in water mix can cause variations. Most likely efflorescence. Try cleaning with muriatic acid as per label instructions. – OrganicLawnDIY Apr 30 '14 at 14:22
@OrganicLawnDIY doh - just returned a bottle of that after my tiling job. Should other acids for gout (I have a 1/2 bottle leftover of the DuPont stuff) work? – virtualxtc Apr 30 '14 at 17:31
Not sure which DuPont product you have. Read the label and see. You can also try straight distilled white vinegar. – OrganicLawnDIY Apr 30 '14 at 17:59
I think it may be due to the fact I was trying to keep the joints wet while tucking but it was really hard to do constantly as the stone really sucked up the moisture quickly. Further, I might have forgot to turn off the dehumidifier during one round of tucking... – virtualxtc May 1 '14 at 1:43

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