Masonry Chimney Repointing, Tuckpointing & Spalling
Masonry chimneys are built to last — all are made out of a combination of brick, mortar, concrete, stone, cast iron and other strong materials that add up to a functional, beautiful and durable part of your home. But the effects of precipitation and the swelling and shrinking that comes with continuous temperature change will take their toll on even the best-constructed chimneys, resulting in deteriorating mortar and brick, chipping and flaking concrete and other issues. When those issues arise, you’ll need the help of qualified, experienced technicians to bring your chimney back to looking — and functioning — like new.
What is repointing/tuckpointing?
Chimney repointing is the detailed, painstaking process of removing deteriorated mortar from a masonry chimney or wall’s joints and replacing it with new mortar that matches both the look and functional needs of the original construction.
What is spalling?
If you see chipping, flaking and crumbling concrete on or around your chimney, what you’re seeing is spalling concrete. Once again, water is most often the culprit here — if rain or melted snow and ice seep into your concrete, it can then freeze underneath the top layer, resulting in pressure that causes the spalling.
It’s important to repair deteriorating mortar and concrete, and hire an experienced technician to do it
Think of deteriorating joints, bricks and concrete as chinks in your chimney’s armor. With those areas unprotected, water can much more easily invade and cause much deeper, more costly damage. So repairing issues as soon as possible is key to keeping your chimney functioning for a long time to come, and saving yourself from more expensive repairs — even rebuilds — in the future.
Hiring an experienced technician to do the work is just as important as the work itself. It may look simple to replace mortar in a joint, but there are complex considerations that go into the choice of materials and the methods of repair that affect both the look of the work and its ability to function and last. This is especially true of historic homes, like the ones in our area.
Improper repointing can detract from the appearance of a chimney, but more importantly, it can result in further, dangerous damage to historic masonry. There are big differences in the materials used today and those used in historic masonry work — modern brick, since it’s fired at a much higher temperature, is much harder than historic brick; modern mortar materials are more rigid and less water permeable than the lime mortar used in many historic homes. When materials are used or combined incorrectly, the integrity of the structure can be compromised — the materials need to work together in the right way, allowing for expansion and contraction in the right degrees, allowing or preventing water absorption in the right places. If that isn’t taken into consideration, further damage can result.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep technicians have the experience to know the right materials and techniques for your historic home. We’ve been building and repairing chimneys for more than 30 years, so whether you have a historic home or newer home in need of chimney repointing or concrete repair, we can do the job so it looks great and lasts.
If you’ve noticed deterioration or spalling — or want an experienced Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep technician to make sure your chimney is in top shape — give us a call today!
Regular chimney inspections may reveal that your chimney crown needs to be repaired. This work should be done by a trained, certified technician to prevent further damage and to insure you won’t need this masonry repair again anytime soon! The team at Billy Sweet is ready to help.