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Chimney Repairs

Mortar chimney caps are sometimes vulnerable to cracks along the joints because the mortar shrinks, causing the joints to open. Lime-based mortar decays over time and may crumble. Minor cracks and the joint between the flue and the cap can be sealed with masonry caulking compound.

Chip out old deteriorating mortar with a ball-peen hammer and a chisel.

Apply a new layer of ready-mix mortar with a trowel.

If the cap is crumbling, you’ll have to chip out the old deteriorating mortar using a ball-peen hammer and a cold chisel. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles. Brush off any loose debris. Then apply a new layer of ready-mix mortar using a trowel. Slope it away from the flue so that rain will drain off properly. Keep the mortar damp for four days to allow it to cure.

To repair mortar around the bricks, remove the old mortar and pack the cracks with new, weather-resistant ready-mix mortar.

Renew flashing seals by chipping out the old mortar. Caulk along the edges of the flashing, and caulk the joints between the flashing and the chimney.

One source of attic-to-home air leaks is the space surrounding your chimney. Chimneys often extend into attics through framed bypasses, and, if these are not properly insulated and sealed, air will escape.

Fill gaps in these areas using unfaced rockwool batts or a similar fireproof material. Seal up where the chimney and the framing meet with furnace cement or a caulk that can withstand high temperatures.

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Chimney Cleaner or Inspector

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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1 Comment

  1. I have a 1951 dual flue red brick chimney to repair. It stands about 4 feet at the tallest point above the roof. The mortar needs to be ground and replace along with about 40 bricks that have spalled, then resealed. Does anyone have any idea of the cost for this project? My first bid was $2600 and I was surprised it was that much. I’m getting more bids but people are asking for $125 to do a bid. Any advice? J


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