As we are in a time period of the year where many homeowners start to turn their eyes toward potential Spring projects, perhaps one of the things that might make sense for folks to look at is the condition of their brick chimneys.
Chimney maintenance is something that is often unintentionally neglected.
After all, they are made out of brick, right?
Shouldn’t they be maintenance-free???
This, unfortunately, could not be further from the truth.
If we were just referring to the bricks, yes, they themselves certainly could last decades without really needing anything at all done to them.
The challenge with brick chimneys though is not necessarily with the bricks themselves, but the mortar that holds them all together.
Weather-exposed mortar typically will last about 25 years before it starts to break down.
Obviously, the more weather that is able to consistently reach the mortar on any particular side of the chimney, the more accelerated the wearing process for that more weather-exposed mortar.
To combat this, the process of “Tuckpointing” or “Re-Pointing” as it is often referred to, needs to be undertaken.
The way re-pointing is done is basically the old mortar is “ground” or “routed” into to a depth that is uniform and then re-mortared through a mortaring process (typically by a skilled mason) that enables the mortar in between the bricks to become stabilized.
- Re-pointing really is a procedure that is crucial to ensuring the longest life of the chimney possible.
- Re-pointing aids in preventing water from entering the chimney structure while stabilizing any weaknesses within the chimney.
Yes, it is a bit of an investment to re-point your chimney.
Re-pointing your chimney, however, is FAR more cost effective than completely tearing down and re-building your chimney which is EXACTLY what can happen if the mortar joints are allowed to decay to the point of no return!