If you notice that your chimney is beginning to deteriorate but the bricks are still good, chimney repointing may be the right solution. Chimney repointing (called tuckpointing sometimes) is the process of replacing the outer part of the mortar that holds the bricks of the chimney in place. In other words, it is the process of renewing the external part of the mortar joints. The primary focus of repointing is on the outer layer of the mortar because it is exposed to the rain and snow causing the mortar to crack.
One of the main purposes of repointing is to prevent water leaks, which allows you to save thousands of dollars that you would pay for rebuilding the chimney. In addition, it makes the chimney look fresh and new while also making it safer, more stable, and stronger.
Signs That Your Chimney Needs to Be Repointed
Here is a list of signs indicating that repointing is necessary:
- Mortar has changed color. If mortar has become weathered or started deteriorating, it may change color. If you notice that mortar is a different color than it used to be, it is a cause for concern. You need to hire a chimney inspector, who will evaluate the bricks of your chimney and determine whether repointing is your best solution.
- Flaking mortar. If the mortar is old and weak, it can start falling off. It is a sign that the mortar cannot stay together anymore and is not able to hold the pieces of a chimney together.
- Rusty damper and fireboxes. If there is an excess of moisture, dampers and fireboxes can rust. Often that means that there is water in a chimney. If you noticed that your firebox or damper looks rusty, it is time to schedule a chimney inspection to find out what exactly is going on.
- Cracks. Both small and large cracks are not good because they can let water enter a chimney causing damage. Moreover, even the smallest cracks can threaten the chimney structure. If you see cracks in your chimney, schedule an inspection as soon as possible.
- Damaged wallpaper. Because of excessive moisture in your chimney, the surrounding wallpaper can get damaged and yellow.
- Spalling brickwork. It is also caused by moisture that is disrupting the brick structure. Chimney repointing is needed immediately in order to reduce the risk of a collapse.
If you ignore these signs and delay repointing the chimney’s mortar, the bricks will become loose. If this happens, they will need to be rebuilt. Moreover, the mortar between the bricks may begin to degrade, which will cause water to seep between the bricks and causing them even more.
What Happens During the Process of Chimney Repointing?
The process begins with the removal of the damaged mortar. The depth removed is usually a bit more than or equal to the width of the joint. If a house is old, repointing is applied by means of the hand to prevent damage.
How Often Repointing Is Needed?
If repointing has done correctly, a chimney should not need further repointing for at least 30 years.
Can You Repoint Your Chimney Yourself?
Some people decide to do repointing themselves in order to save the costs of hiring a professional. However, unless you are really familiar with the process of this chimney repair, it is not recommended to do it yourself. It is better to hire professional providing chimney services, who will be able to maintain the functionally and beauty of your chimney.