Is a Chimney Rebuild Necessary?

Mortar deterioration chicago - Chimney in poor conditionThe important question – is a chimney rebuild necessary or are these chimney companies trying to take advantage of me? At Coast to Coast Masonry, we recommend chimney rebuilds or partial rebuilds to our clients when it comes to one important factor – when the value is in a rebuild. This means small touch-up work, which will require more consistent maintenance, will cost more over time than a rebuild. When thinking chimney rebuild versus chimney repair work you should know the work is meant to protect more than just the immediate area. A doctor would recommend stitches over a bandage for a large gash in your arm. Why? If a bandage is used it will be covered but the wound will not heal. Worse, the gash can become infected causing more damage than just the immediate area. Likewise, only tuckpointing, when a chimney rebuild is required, will lead to water damage to the chimney interiors, like liners, mortar, or even house walls. Sometimes it may seem like touch up is all that is needed. What are some reasons chimney experts may differ? See below!

Signs for a Chimney Rebuild


Mortar deterioration

You may have scheduled a chimney inspection because you noticed mortar falling out between the bricks of your chimney. On a normal brick wall, cracking and deterioration of mortar will happen over time and routine tuckpointing should occur. That is, grinding the mortar ¾” inch deep, cleaning out debris, and filling with mortar. When grinding ¾” deep you still have backing mortar to fuse the new mortar with the old and uphold structural integrity. On a chimney, this is not always the case. Your mortar may have actually deteriorated from the inside out due to a number of reasons – cracked liners exposing gases, water damage from a cracked concrete crown, etc. So the issue now with tuckpointing is there is no mortar to firmly pack new mortar against and the chimney will be on pace to deteriorate by itself rapidly. If the mortar is in poor condition, but the brick is not, a chimney rebuild can occur with the reuse of existing bricks.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry needs in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

chicago chimney repair - spalling bricks

Spalling bricks

Another case of chimney rebuild versus chimney repair is when you have spalling bricks (face of brick chipping away) or cracked bricks. Like in the case above, these bricks may have been damaged due to gases from the chimney or from water damage. That being said those bricks are already damaged and you can either replace the bricks or rebuild. The case for a rebuild comes as follows: If there is a large sum of spalling/cracked bricks chances are many more bricks are damaged. The damage is simply not visible on the face but can be in the body or the back of the brick. In the past, we have had clients push for brick replacement only. Proceeding with this route we had replaced ten (10) cracked bricks per contract, only to visibly see damage to many more upon removal of the contracted bricks. When it comes to spalling bricks, if isolated brick replacement is not possible, the chimney rebuild should be done with new bricks.

Coast to Coast Masonry, Local Chicago Chimney Crown Experts

At Coast to Coast Masonry Group (CTC), we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, and concrete. Whether it is a necessary chimney rebuild, a broken glass block window, or parapet wall our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry and chimney needs. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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