It’s never a waste of money when you commit to improving your home. You may start with a small change like window replacement, or maybe it’s time to take a look at your chimney. Your brick chimneys might need to undergo a repair process because this type of chimney is prone to weather and water damage, resulting in mortar erosion. However, tuckpointing could help you with your damaged mortar.
If you can’t stop thinking about your chimney and want to know more details about it, you may continue reading. You will learn about the basic idea behind tuckpointing, tuckpointing benefits, and even how to DIY tuckpointing on this page.
What is tuckpointing on a chimney?
Tuckpointing is a repair that includes a mortar replacement. Since brick is prone to moisture, it may result in weakened mortar joints, which you don’t want to happen. If you may ask if tuckpointing is necessary? Yes, and it would always be the answer because one tuck point procedure could prevent an unfortunate event that may also be beneficial.
Your mortar between bricks could be broken down over the years because of the weather. With this, it is important that you regularly inspect it—better yet, have someone with complete skills and knowledge check it for you.
Signs that your chimney needs tuckpointing
You can expect your chimney to last a lifetime, but can you expect it to function the same way as before? No matter how much you deny it, chimneys need repairs, too! You might never notice it because some broken chimneys do not show signs of their brokenness, so a chimney inspection should be done regularly. Otherwise, significant problems may occur. Read more below to know some signs if your chimney has a problem.
You notice flakes
Mortar flakes could be the first sign that you need to have your chimney replaced. Flaking is a sign of soft mortar which may not be able to hold the chimney together.
If you are not sure of this, you may do a test scrape on your chimney mortar. Does it quickly come off? If yes, then your chimney might need some repairing.
Using the same bricks and mortar for a couple of decades might be a sign that your chimney is in dire need of repair. You need to have it tuckpointed to guarantee that your chimney structure stays intact.
If you are experiencing a smelly fireplace or smoky home, then your chimney liner could possibly be not working correctly. If there are no clear signs that your liner could have been damaged, you can always check it using the flashlight trick to look down chimneys. You may also opt to call for professional help.
Cracking chimney crown
The top of your chimney might be overlooked, but it deserves regular inspections. Addressing cracked chimney crowns would be recommended to avoid further damage to mortar joints and others. If it is neglected, the unprotected crack will keep expanding.
Bricks falling off the chimney
Your chimney must be breaking if you see blocks of bricks in your yard; if left unrepaired, your whole chimney might fall onto the ground. This can be fixed by replacing them with fresh mortar and bricks. Waterproofing it by adding waterproof sealant should prevent this from happening again.
Your chimney mortar joints are damaged
If the one holding your chimney together gets damaged, what do you think would happen? If this is left neglected, it will cause water to get inside, worsening the damage. You can get it fixed by tuckpointing; it restores masonry mortar joints between bricks.
What are the benefits of chimney tuckpointing?
Chimneys are very pleasing to look at, but it is also a huge homeowner’s responsibility. Once the duty is neglected, your chimney could cause a major problem. However, chimney repairs like tuckpointing could do some damage control. Tuckpointing might be a hassle, time-demanding, and expensive procedure, but you might know that there are functional benefits you will get to experience after tuckpointing. Here are numerous benefits that might convince you to tuckpoint your chimney.
An old chimney is vulnerable to moisture which leads water to seep down to its core. But with tuckpointing, there will be no mold, mildew, and rotting wood to worry about. Your walls and ceilings will also not be stained and damaged.
Rebuilding costs more
If you left your chimney not taken care of, add chimney rebuilding to your to-do list now, which costs more. And if you don’t have the privilege to rebuild your whole chimney, you may opt for tuckpointing.
Smoke is flowing properly
It is an annoyance to have your home smelling like smoke, which is why it should be appropriately controlled. Improperly ventilated smoke could cause your family major health problems and severe smoke damage.
Stability of the structure
When you tuckpoint your chimney, expect that its structure will be more stable. Otherwise, your chimney might collapse if it’s leaning to one side. Moreover, it could also prevent your mortar from further worsening.
Increased home value
After the tuckpointing, your chimney is in its top condition, which will result in increased curb appeal. Homeowners are looking for a house where they can sit with ease in the fireplace without worrying about the chimney. With tuckpointing, your home will be much safer and better looking.
After the tuckpointing process, the original condition of your chimney’s masonry materials is guaranteed restored. With that, your chimney can live longer, especially when it’s done right; it will be more efficient that it can even provide water-resistant mortar joints.
How to do tuckpointing on a chimney?
If you are weighing the pros and cons between DIY tuckpointing and calling for professional help, then you should be aware of these steps first and remember that it would depend on your roof layout before arriving at a decision. Since the process basically removes the damaged mortar and replaces it with a new mortar, get your mortar removal tools ready. Make sure that the following materials are on-hand:
- Mortar (Get to know which, because type varies)
- Large mixing container
- Mortar pan
- Steel brick finishing tool
- Water-soluble marker
- Wire brush
- Slender tuck pointing tool
After getting your tuckpointing tools and items above ready, here are the chimney tuckpointing steps you should carefully follow:
You must scrape off the old mortar, make sure that it is at a uniform depth. After that, carve out the problem areas and note that it should be 1/8 inch of mortar. Creating a depth in the mortar joint should follow; a 3/4 inch is greatly recommended.
Get your water in a spray bottle or garden hose, ready to clean all the debris and dust.
The third step is imitating your old mortar color and texture. So, you must carefully and properly mix a blend of mortar in a pan to match your old and original condition.
After copying your old mortar, you can now proceed to tuckpointing by applying the mixed mortar into joints that are open. You can now smoothen out the mortar to achieve a solid look.
After removing the loose mortar using a wire brush and blending the mortar into the old, you can now wash off the excess mortar from brick faces.
How much does tuckpointing a chimney cost?
Chimney tuckpointing costs an average of at least $10 per square foot. There will also be an additional charge if your chimney is higher, which may cost from $10 to $25 per square foot. Usually, contractors may charge an extra fee if it’s above 8 feet.
Furthermore, there is also a different charge for severe and significant mortar damage. You can prepare at most $1000 for a chimney repair, while a complete chimney rebuild costs around $1500 to $4500.
Need help with tuckpointing? Call for help
If you don’t have the time or the confidence that you can pull the steps above rightly on your own, then calling for help should not be a problem. Fireplace repair and chimney repair should not be hard for masonry chimney experts. You may also get a free estimate from your chosen reliable chimney contractor, which is advantageous because you get to anticipate how much you will be spending. Just make sure that you are calling a reliable and trustworthy masonry tuckpointing contractor!