Chimney masonry repair matters.
Masonry is often perceived as very durable and sometimes believed to be indestructible. It is NOT! The chimney sticks up at the top of the roof, above all other parts of the home. It is exposed to harsh elements such as snow and rain that freeze and thaw, causing deterioration. A quality chimney cover (chase top) and a waterproofing treatment can avoid expensive repairs.
In nearly every case of chimney damage, fixing the brick is only part of the process. Finding what caused the problem will prevent having to rebuild your chimney again within a few years.
Types of Chimney Masonry Repair
Tuckpointing is the process of removing mortar joints in between the bricks and installing new mortar. If the bricks are loose, this process is not the best option and re-building will be needed.
Brick spalling is when the face of the bricks are falling apart. This is usually caused by moisture penetrating the bricks and may be caused from the exterior or interior (such as a bad furnace liner). Typically if you have spalling, a rebuild will be needed.
Old Chicago Brick
Old Chicago brick is brick reclaimed from demolition sites. These bricks are natural clay bricks, made in the Chicago area from the late 1800’s until the early 1970’s. Today’s new bricks cannot match the color, texture or character of these antique bricks. For this reason, we usually will need to do a total rebuild. We can get bricks that are close, but we will never get a perfect match.
Most chimney repairs are needed because something went wrong at the top. In many cases, the crown/wash became cracked or separated, allowing water into the bricks.
Cracked Crown/Wash/Cement Cap
This is poured concrete or a piece of mortar on top of the chimney to prevent water from infiltrating into the chimney stack, by sealing off the hole between the outer wall and flue liner. Chimney crowns must be sloped away from the flue to direct the water down the bricks. If your crown cracks or breaks apart, water will seep into the chimney stack causing extensive and expensive damage.