16 Dec Chimney Rebuilding vs Chimney Repointing: What’s the Difference?
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The difference between chimney rebuilding and repointing is simple. Chimney rebuilding involves completely removing the existing brick, stonework, mortar joints, and so on, down to the bare chimney base. Lay the new bricks with lime mortar according to original specifications or modern-day state-of-the-art construction methods including concrete fireplaces when applicable.
Repointing only requires removing the old thinnest layer of debris from the face of your masonry surface down to a bright finish line. Use tuckpointing tools for flatwork or power trowels for curved work. Tuckpointing does not remove any brick, stone, or mortar joints. But simply removes the old mortar joint material and replaces it with a new one.
This is a very common practice. It is the process of repairing the mortar joints between individual bricks or stones in a masonry structure. Over time, weathering and decay can cause these joints to crack and crumble, leading to water infiltration, frost damage, and structural failure. Fortunately, this is a simple and cost-effective repair procedure.
Chimney repointing is an important part of maintaining your chimney. The technique allows for the renewal or maintenance of mason’s external mortar joints. It gets worn over time with excessive use and elements such as rainwater seeping into them continuously.
As you may already know by now, a dirty masonry duty will not only damage its appearance. But also cause structural problems to develop due to lack of stability when left unchecked. Make sure to do regular inspections every six months at least!
Another preventative measure that you should do every once in a while, is waterproofing. This will protect the chimney’s foundation and masonry from any water damage that might occur in the future.
The cost of a waterproofing product is often a crucial factor in deciding whether or not it will work for your needs. For example, one major brand costs fairly little but lasts only a short amount of time. Sun exposure breaks down its composition and makes them unavailable to do its duty as hoped.
Polysiloxanes and silane-based products allow water to pass through, but not moisture. At the same time, you waterproof your house with an electrostatic charge that will work better when trapped inside. These amazing ingredients keep outside forces from overcoming its barrier. Make it a durable solution for any masonry problem!
Chimney Repointing vs Chimney Tuckpointing
Although experts use these two terms often interchangeably, chimney repointing and tuckpointing are two different things. Chimney repointing is the process of repairing the mortar joints between individual bricks or stones in a masonry structure. Chimney tuckpointing is the duty of removing the old mortar joint material and replacing it with a new one.
When you are only experiencing minor damage to your mortar joints, such as chipping or cracking, chimney tuckpointing may become a more appropriate solution than repointing. Tuckpointing is a less invasive and more affordable option than rebuilding your chimney from scratch. But with severely damaged mortar joints, then chimney repointing is the only option.
How long does chimney repointing last?
Chimney repointing is a permanent repair. But many factors can affect it such as moisture, temperature difference, and the quality of materials used when doing the service. The more aware you are of these risks in the future, the more you can prevent or avoid them easily.
When your chimney starts leaking again after a relatively brief time, there is something wrong with either your materials or method. It does not matter whether you have just completed your very first project or have been working in the field for decades. When what you did has not been good enough to stand up to existing conditions, it is time to do things better!
How do I know if my chimney needs repointing?
When your chimney is over 20 years old and experiencing any of the following, it is time to call Pro-Tech Chimney:
- Significant deterioration of mortar joints
- Curled, loose, or crumbling pointing material along the outer edges of the chimney
- Water stains on the inside or outside of your home near where your chimney attaches. These can indicate that water is leaking through gaps in the mortar joints and damaging your structure.
As you notice any of these signs, it is time to call for an inspection and estimate the necessary work.
As soon as you notice cracks appearing on the outer surface of your chimney joints, call. You will have a schedule for an inspection to find out why and how much it will cost for repairs. Fix the problem quickly before the water gets inside!
Familiarize yourself with three factors inclusive of chimney rebuilding. Here they are:
Partial Chimney Rebuild
This is for when your chimney has sustained damage that cannot have repointing. When one or more of the layers such as mortar and brick need tearing down and rebuilding, this is a complete one. The mason starts from nothing as he rebuilds the chimney.
You can complete a partial rebuild on smaller sections of larger chimneys. It may include crowning the top as well to increase its efficiency in delivering smoke up and away from your home’s interior space.
A partial rebuild may become the best option for you with limited chimney damage. When you need to extend your fireplace so that it can draw better, this might just work out perfectly!
Roofline Up Rebuild
This is a more comprehensive chimney rebuild that happens when the roof-line also needs structural repairs. It becomes necessary when the roof framing, sheathing, and/or rafters have been damaged and need replacement.
In this instance, the mason not only rebuilds the chimney. But also constructs an entirely new roof framing system that integrates with your home’s existing architecture. When you want to keep your original roofing material, this will become the best choice for you!
The chimney rebuild option is the only one that requires some specific skills and equipment. When a considerable amount of mortar or brick deterioration has occurred, this type is necessary for proper flashing installation. It does not leak during heavy rainstorms.
This is the most extensive and expensive option that a mason has. Only do it when the chimney has been so damaged that none of the other two are viable options.
Demolish the entire chimney down to its base and rebuild with new materials. This will include a new crown, damper, and flashing installation. The complete rebuild should last anywhere from 10-15 years when properly maintained.
A total chimney rebuild is necessary when structural damage has been involved. The only other time it might become necessary is when a fireplace’s outer bricklayer needs tearing apart and reconstructed from scratch after experiencing severe wear-and-tear.
What is the average cost to repoint a chimney?
On average, it costs between $450 and $650 to repoint a chimney. This includes both the materials and labor involved in the project. The cost of repointing a chimney will depend on the severity of the damage, the size of your chimney, and the mason’s rates. It is important to keep in mind that it is much cheaper to repoint a chimney than to rebuild it.
The price of chimney repointing can vary based on where you live, the type of brick used in your home, and how bad repair is necessary. You will pay more in residing near Alaska or New York. Some skilled workers specialize in this duty.
When is Chimney Rebuild Required
You will need a complete chimney rebuild when:
- Your chimney has been damaged and requires repointing and rebuilding.
- The bricks have worn away, exposing the structural layer beneath them.
- Your mortar joints are loose or nonexistent in some areas surrounding your chimney.
- You plan to add an extension to your home that includes a larger fireplace for burning firewood.
A full chimney rebuild is necessary when you need a bigger or taller fireplace opening to compensate for distinct reasons. Another scenario is you simply want one with a liner installed to prevent creosote buildup from occurring during fire combustion! It can cost anywhere from $2,400 up to $5,000 depending on the severity of the damage.
Maintenance Helps Avoid Rebuilding and Repointing
Regular chimney sweeping will prevent a major rebuild or repointing from becoming necessary. A yearly sweep using a high-pressure hose combined with a wire brush helps to remove creosote buildup and/or debris so it does not cause any damage.
Chimney relining is another way that you can avoid having to do a complete or partial rebuilding of your structure. This type of repair involves applying heat-resistant refractory cement inside the chimney. It is through small tubes without removing mortar from your existing fireplace.
Contact The Masonry Experts at Pro-Tech Chimney
When it comes to your home’s chimney, there are three main options for repair: rebuilding, repointing, and relining. It is important to understand the difference between them before deciding.
Rebuilding is the most extensive option! Take the entire chimney down to its base and rebuild with new materials. This includes a new crown, damper, and flashing installation. The complete rebuild should last anywhere from 10 to 15 years when properly maintained. Talk to chimney experts Pro-Tech Chimney, as necessary.
The best way to avoid costly and time-consuming repairs for your chimney is by identifying any issues with it before they become too severe. One sign of damage is mortar deterioration or water intrusion. It can lead not only to expensive rework but also to safety concerns as well when left unchecked. Make sure you schedule regular maintenance service at least twice per year.