May 3, 2010


Chimney Problems and Repair

A chimneyis probably one of the most ignored and poorly maintained structures on a home mainly because of lack of access and most people have a fear of heights.  Things to watch for if your chimney is having problems is crumbling mortar joints, cracked or broken brick, a cracked or missing crown on top of the chimney, a leaning chimney(which is really bad) and water damage inside your home around the chimney.  You should contact a chimney repair or mason contractor to fix your chimney problems. 

 But if you are up to the challenge here is what you will need to do, first depending on how bad it is most chimney problems can be fixed with a little chimney tuckpointing.  You will first need a good grinder, not a cheap $20 on either, buy a Dewalt or Hitatchi for about $120.00 then you will also need to purchase a good diamond 4 inch wheel to go on it, they will run you about $65.00.  You will also need a 3/8 or a 1/2 inch tuckpointer,a groat bag, a few 5 gallon pails, wheel barrow, hoe, ladder, and possible scaffolding, shovel, striking iron and a masons trowel.

Start by grinding out every mortar joint as deep as you can get the blade in, be sure to wear safety glasses and a mask if not you will regret it later.  After all the joints have been ground out take your brush and clean out all the joints thoroughly.  Next you will need to mix your mortar, after it is mixed it is easiest to use a grout bag to fill the joints, which resembles a large cake decorating bag if you don’t know what one is.  Be sure your mortar mix is fluid enough to flow through bag but not too wet where it has no body or else you will have a huge mess on your hands.  Depending on temperature you have to check your joints frequently to see if they are ready to be struck with a striking iron or a rake.  After you have struck or raked your joints brush them down to remove loose mortar and clean up the chimney. 

Next check the concrete cap, if it is cracked then it should be replaced and a new one should be poured in its place that is at least 4 inches thick.  you can accomplish this by building a form out of 2×4’s and 2×6’s.  If you make your wood just a tiny bit smaller than what is needed you can tighten the form up to the chimney without drilling any holes into it, otherwise you will need a masonry bit and masonry screws to firmly attach the form to the top of the chimney.  Mix up your concrete mix and pour it into your form tapping it lightly all over to eliminate air bubbles.  After it sets pull form and fill any holes that may be apparent.

 After that task is completed check the chimney  flashing and be sure it is installed correctly and is hole and crack free or it may need to be caulked up or replaced.  Then clean up your roof with a broom or hose but if using water try not to spray your chimney till its dry.  That’s pretty much how a brick tuckpointing job is done for an existing chimney, if you are unsure of any of the above task you really should have a mason contractor do the work for you.

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