Chimney Rebuilding vs. Chimney Repointing
The Western New York and Finger Lakes region winter weather can be harsh on masonry chimneys. The constant exposure to rain, snow, and ice can eventually cause bricks and mortar to crack, chip, flake, and crumble, exposing gaps in the mortar joints.
As the chimney’s structural integrity declines, it is in danger of leaning or collapsing. It is also unsafe to use your fireplace or heating stove in this condition due to the increased risk of fire and exposure to toxic fumes. After conducting a thorough chimney inspection, our highly trained chimney professionals may recommend chimney repointing or rebuilding so that all of your attached heating appliances will operate safely and efficiently.
Chimney repointing is a restorative process that replaces the decaying mortar with new mortar material to strengthen the chimney’s structural integrity. It also helps prevent moisture from seeping through the exposed mortar joints where it can cause extensive damage to interior components.
During the repointing process, a skilled chimney mason scoops out the damaged or decayed mortar joints and fills them back in with new mortar. It’s a simple and effective but labor-intensive process. So, chimney repointing is best suited for minor masonry repairs that typically involve a small portion of the chimney. When multiple sections of the chimney need masonry repair, a partial or complete rebuild may be necessary to restore its structural integrity.
What About Tuckpointing?
Chimney tuckpointing is similar to repointing except that the new bonding material is color-matched to your existing masonry giving your chimney a stunning, like-new appearance.
In some cases, the masonry damage is so extensive that it makes chimney repointing impractical. In these cases, a partial or complete chimney rebuild may be the most effective option for restoring the chimney to a structurally safe and sound condition.
A partial chimney rebuilding is typically recommended when the masonry damage is limited to the top section or small chimneys that don’t require scaffolding. The damaged bricks are removed and replaced with new bricks and mortar. A partial chimney rebuild may also require rebuilding the chimney crown and installing a new chimney cap.
Roofline and up rebuild
For more extensive masonry damage that is limited to the upper portion of the chimney, a roofline and up rebuild can save the chimney. The chimney mason tears the damaged masonry down to the roofline and is rebuilt brick by brick per state and local building codes. The flashing will be preserved if it is in good condition. Otherwise, it will be removed, and new chimney flashing will be installed.
Sometimes, the masonry or structural damage is so severe that the only option is to rebuild the chimney completely per local building codes and regulations. This extensive process involves tearing down the entire chimney structure and rebuilding it. The smoke chamber, firebox, and hearth can often be preserved unless water damage is present.
Once masonry repairs are complete, waterproofing the chimney will help protect the exterior masonry from future water damage. We use a water-based, vapor-permeable sealant that repels moisture while allowing the masonry to release any internal moisture. Using the wrong waterproofing solution can trap moisture and damage the masonry.
Maintaining Your Chimney
Annual chimney inspections and regular cleanings are the best way to prolong the life of your chimney. It is also vital in detecting early signs of water damage that can lead to chimney repointing or rebuilding like efflorescence, spalling, mold, and rust.
Our certified chimney professionals have provided folks in Buffalo, Rochester, and surrounding communities in Western New York with top-quality chimney services for over 20 years. Call Felgemacher Masonry & Chimney at 716-710-7330 or 585-450-3850 to schedule an appointment today! You can also contact us online