MASONRY REPAIR .pdf
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Summary: Many factors affect the integrity of a chimney, including the
shifting of land and the inclement weather. Masonry repair may be needed,
particularly for deterioration due to weather.
The chimney was beautiful. It served the fireplace. When oil got expensive,
it served the woodstove.
However, the elements have taken their toll. The heat varied, put a strain on
the mortar, and now it might be time for masonry repair.
A Chimney’s Weight
A brick or stone chimney weighs6-7tons. When a home is built or a fireplace
added, be concerned about the chimney’s foundation and for its balance and
Land moves. Everywhere a chimney is built, the earth is shifting. Changes in
temperature, moisture, and the settling of the home can all affect a
chimney’s stability. Eventually, masonry loosens, rocks or bricks fall away,
and there can be personal injury or property damage.
The Chimney’s Enemy
Your chimney’s most dangerous enemy may simply be water. An unsealed
chimney asks for trouble. Water enters porous brick and damaged mortar.
Chimneys with metal components weaken, rust, and corrode. Here are some
Damper assemblies, iron
accessories, and doors rust.
Walls, ceilings, and adjacent wood may rot. Other brickwork may
Access doors, heating ducts, exposed mortar, and hearths are
Flue lining systems may be compromised.
Weak masonry could result in chimney collapse.
The mixture of water and creosote causes the place to stink!
Caps and Crowns
If water is the culprit, then places that admit water should be a focus for
A chimney cap (rain cover) is a simple fix. Let’s face it, a six-inch
opening (flue) in a downpour is going to admit water or snow to your
chimney system. If that system is open, there will be water on your
floors. A chimney cap will keep out the varmints (birds, squirrels,
raccoons, restricting their ability to build nests and redirect smoke back
into your home. If you haven’t yet acquired a full coverage chimney cap,
please consider it.
A chimney crown should be installed as the top masonry element on
your chimney. It seals the space between the flue liner(s) and the edge of
the chimney. It’s slanted toward the ground and has a drip edge (at least
two inches to a side) to allow water run-off. Done well, and the exterior
of the chimney is spared an excess of water erosion.
Mortar joints provide many entry points for water. Done properly,
there are no joint with gaps—at least when it is new. However, over time,
weather erodes the mortar, takes off the hard surface, and exposes an
absorbent undersurface. When that happens, water pools, eventually
working its way into the interior of the chimney. A good masonry repair
will cut into the mortar joint, point in some fresh mortar, and be finished
with a concave surface that will resist penetration.
Flashing may have to be repaired or replaced. Water deflectors may
need to be installed, particularly where the chimney exits a steep roof.
Finally, add a waterproofing agent.
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