Homes built with a brick chimney are getting less and less common these days. It’s not that chimneys are no longer being used, it’s that they are often constructed using more efficient materials. It’s also not that bricks are less efficient or not highly durable, it’s just that bricks are more difficult to work with when constructing the chimney and when they need to be repaired.
Due to dwindling popularity of brick chimneys, not enough masons are familiar with the trade. So homeowners with traditional brick chimneys are being forced to search for chimney repair how to articles on the internet and elsewhere.
How to Repair Brick Chimney Mortar
As you might already know, bricks are held together with a material called mortar. Unfortunately, mortar is often less durable than the bricks used in construction. As such, you’ll notice that the reason brick chimneys fail is because the mortar holding the bricks together has been damaged.
Unfortunately, repairing a brick chimney is actually a bit more difficult than it may look. The process uses a construction technique called tuckpointing. This involves removing damaged mortar from the brick joints and replacing it with new mortar. To make it a little easier, we’ve set up this guide of chimney repair how to tips!
The repairs usually begin with a thorough inspection of the chimney. The brick mason will check for areas where the mortar has failed and needs to be removed. During this process, you’ll notice the mason chipping away at brick joints with old mortar.
It may seem like the mason is simply creating more work, but the chipping process is needed to make sure that all the loose mortar is identified and removed.
Once all the loose mortar has been removed, the mason will carefully apply new mortar taking care not to get any mortar in places where it doesn’t need to be. Mortar may be soft to work with, but when it hardens, it can be difficult to remove. In most cases, acid needs to be used to remove hardened mortar and this can be time consuming.
Brick Replacement Chimney Repair How to Tips
Perhaps the most difficult part of repairing a brick chimney is replacing the damaged bricks. Bricks need to be replaced when they’ve been cracked or have loosened or completely fallen out due to aging mortar.
The process of replacing a brick is to first remove any mortar and brick left in the brick joint. Even though mortar may have failed, it can still be tough and difficult to remove. In fact, you’ll likely need a chisel to slowly chip away the old mortar.
Once you’ve cleaned the area from old mortar, you’ll need to measure the size of the brick required. Most bricks are in the standard size, but in some places bricks with odd sizes were used. If you need to replace those bricks, you’ll need to carefully cut a standard sized brick into the odd size that the chimney needs.
Now that you have the right size, it’s only a matter of inserting the new brick in the joint with new mortar.
As you might be able to tell, repairing a brick chimney is not only difficult, but also time consuming and a bit dangerous as well. You’ll need special masonry skills that could take time to develop. If you don’t have the time to develop those skills, it would be best to hire the services of a professional mason instead of relying on the information provided in this chimney repair how to guide.
Affordable Tuckpointing Pros have teams of highly skilled brick masons that can repair your brick chimney at an affordable cost. So instead of wasting time and risking life and limb, call our professional brick masons to do a perfect repair job on your chimney.