Is your chimney starting to show its age? One of the most common signs of chimney wear and tear is the crumbling away of the mortar joints between the bricks. This crumbling is a sign of water damage, and if left unchecked, it can allow water to seep into your chimney and weaken the overall structure of your chimney. There is a simple masonry technique, called tuckpointing, that can shore up your chimney and restore its aesthetic appeal.
Tuckpointing, sometimes call repointing, involves removing crumbling mortar and replacing it. First, special tools are used to scrape the old mortar down to a uniform depth. Then a layer of grout that matches the brick is smoothed into place. Finally, a groove is carved out in the grout, and a contrasting color of grout is applied. That firms up the chimney structure and provides a neat and clean appearance to the outside of the chimney.
Why is tuckpointing necessary?
Mortar has a relatively short shelf life when compared to your chimney’s masonry. While quality bricks can last a century, mortar usually only lasts for about 25 years. Mortar is porous and will absorb moisture over time. When temperatures drop and the water inside the mortar freezes and expands, the mortar cracks and crumbles. This degrades the overall look of your chimney and weakens your chimney structure. Without tuckpointing, the chimney structure can degrade to the point of collapse, and rather than a quick and simple masonry repair like tuckpointing, homeowners are left with an expensive chimney rebuild.
How can you preserve chimney masonry?
Once chimney’s masonry has been restored with tuckpointing, preventing water from penetrating your chimney can preserve the masonry. All chimneys should be topped with a sturdy chimney cap to keep water from flowing freely down the chimney. Chimney crowns and chase covers should be kept in good repair to prevent water from running down the exterior walls of the chimney. It is often recommended that crickets, metal tent-like structures, are installed around the base of chimneys to divert rainwater from the chimney. A waterproofing application can keep water from penetrating chimney masonry. The waterproofing agents block moisture from entering chimney masonry while allowing the chimney to breathe and release any moisture already trapped in the masonry.
Does Environmental Chimney Service tuckpoint chimneys?
Absolutely! If you are concerned about your chimney’s crumbling mortar joints and believe tuckpointing may be the answer, call Environmental Chimney Service to schedule an appointment today! One of our technicians can inspect your chimney and advise you on the right course of action to restore your chimney’s masonry. We also can inspect your chimney’s cap, crown and flashing, and repair them if needed, and we can waterproof your chimney to prevent further damage!