Chimney Masonry Repairs Shouldn’t Be Put Off – Reach Out to Our Techs Today
When most think of a brick structure, words like impenetrable, stable, long-lasting, strong, durable, and the like come to mind. Just think of the Three Little Pigs – brick was the ticket to keeping the Big Bad Wolf out for good!
But that doesn’t mean your masonry structures are indestructible. In fact, something as simple as a heavy day of rainfall or freezing temps could lead to its eventual downfall.
The upside of all this is that, when well-maintained, your brickwork and mortar can last a lifetime. And for homeowners in the Hillsborough area, we’re the team to trust for all of your needed chimney repairs and restorations.
What Masonry Services Do We Offer?
Why type of services can our experts perform for your home in Middlesex County, Hunterdon County, or Somerset County?
Tuckpointing, or repointing, involves removing old mortar joints that are crumbling or falling out, then adding new mortar to the masonry to create a smooth and streamlined look. This also ensures your structure is supported, minimizing your risk of experiencing further damage in the future.
Is there a difference between tuckpointing and repointing?
Technically speaking, yes – these two terms refer to two different types of work. But they’re so closely related that most just use the terms interchangeably.
That said, tuckpointing is typically thought of as a more cosmetic service, using two different colored mortars to create the illusion of finer joints. This dates all the way back to England in the late eighteenth century and was a cheap way to create a popular look of that time.
Repointing is thought to be more restorative, addressing cracking or crumbling that could be putting the structure of your home at risk.
Chimney crowns serve a few important functions:
- They protect the chimney masonry. Dealing with rain or melting snow? Crowns should guide any incoming water away from the sides of the chimney, helping to protect the bricks and mortar from water damage.
- They prevent water infiltration. A crown in good standing will stop water from getting into your chimney and causing problems. If your chimney crown is damaged or cracked, though, water can seep in and cause damage to your interior brickwork, liner, smoke shelf, and firebox. And this damage will only worsen when temps drop.
- They prevent costly repairs. Since chimney crowns prevent water damage, they help to maintain the structural integrity of the chimney – which then helps you avoid costly repairs later.
- They improve the appearance of the chimney. A well-maintained crown will enhance the overall appearance of your chimney and your home, which boosts curb appeal and increases its overall value. Come time to sell, future buyers are bound to be impressed.
What are the guidelines for a reliable and well-functioning crown? All crowns should be at least 2 inches thick at the thinnest point, extend 2 inches past the edge of the chimney, and be built from a cement-based mixture (not a basic mortar mix). They should also be sloped to allow water runoff, rather than built flat, where water can pool.
In the end, you’ll be able to use your system with more ease and peace of mind if your crown is in tip-top condition. Count on our techs for any needed chimney repairs or rebuilds.
If your bricks are falling out, deteriorated, or missing altogether, some replacement services will be in order. Like with tuckpointing, matching up your old bricks (in size, color, texture, etc.) to any new ones takes skill and patience, but it’s nothing our techs can’t handle.
We’ll also work hard to identify the potential cause of any damage, so we can implement services that will prevent recurrences down the line. This could involve waterproofing, installing new protective components, and more.
Did you know that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has deemed water as your masonry chimney’s “biggest enemy?” It’ll come as no surprise then that, as CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, this is something we take very seriously.
Combine this with another little-known fact that a brick is basically as absorbent as a sponge, and you might find yourself with some big concerns anytime it rains or snows.
Fortunately, we have ways to protect your masonry – and one of these ways is by waterproofing your brickwork. Waterproofing is the process of coating your bricks with a protective sealant that both blocks moisture and ensures your bricks can remain vapor-permeable. And no worries about a glossy coating or strange-looking seal, either – our products work without hurting the look of your masonry.
Can Freezing Temperatures Hurt My Chimney Masonry?
Yes, if your chimney isn’t properly maintained and protected, then you could experience issues in the wintertime when temps drop below freezing. Winter weather tends to trigger something called the freeze/thaw process, which results in excessive cracking, crumbling, and decay. Because of this, investing in repairs and waterproofing before further issues can occur is imperative.
What is the freeze/thaw process?
We’ve mentioned it already, but it’s worth noting again – your bricks are very porous. This means that, if left vulnerable and un-waterproofed, they’ll quickly soak in any water they’re exposed to. Now, this alone is a big problem, as excess moisture can easily break your masonry down from the inside out. But here in Hillsborough, where we’re no strangers to cold days and harsh winters, things can get even worse.
The freeze/thaw process is what occurs when the water inside of the brickwork freezes and expands. What this does is put more pressure on your bricks, causing them to form tiny cracks and gaps.
Now, if you’ve lived in the area for a while, you know that temperatures don’t stay below freezing all winter. Cue the “thaw” side of the freeze/thaw process. One of those days when things heat up a bit, the water inside your bricks will melt. Yes, this takes the pressure off, but it also leaves room for even more moisture to enter into all of those new cracks and crevices.
And, later on, when things freeze up again, the process will start all over.
As you might imagine, by the end of just one winter season, your bricks can end up experiencing a whole lot of wear and tear. Fortunately, a thorough waterproofing service from our techs should keep your system protected all throughout this colder time of year.
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How Can I Prevent Chimney Masonry Damage?
So, let’s say we’ve got your masonry back in tip-top shape. What’s the next step to ensure it stays in good condition for years to come? We’ve got some tips.
Ensure you have leak prevention components in place.
Components like a well-fitted chimney cap, a secure crown or chase cover, and properly installed flashing are imperative for keeping water away from the more vulnerable areas of your chimney. Ensure that you not only have these parts installed, but that they are all in good condition and able to do their job effectively.
Book annual chimney inspections.
Along with scheduling annual chimney cleaning services, regular inspections are crucial to maintaining an operational system. If any of your chimney parts are failing or if hidden damage is causing lots of problems, you’ll want to know about it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, spotting these issues isn’t always easy – especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s why scheduling annual inspections with a certified sweep is so imperative to maintaining a safer, sturdier, and more reliable fireplace.
Invest in professional waterproofing services.
Ensure your porous brickwork doesn’t soak in any extra water by having your chimney professionally waterproofed. This gives that extra layer of protection your system needs, without taking away the structure’s ability to breathe – which is important for masonry!
And don’t take the DIY approach here, either. Store-bought products can trap in moisture or alter the look of your brickwork, so trusting a pro with this job is always the better route.
Invest in repairs quickly
If tuckpointing, brick replacement, or other masonry repairs are needed, don’t put them off. They’ll only worsen over time, so the sooner you get them done, the quicker and less expensive the job will be. In these cases, what could be an easy fix if addressed right away can quickly turn into a big, time-consuming project. No one wants that – get your next services booked now, so you can stress less later on.
Use your fireplace properly.
Burning unseasoned wood, throwing trash in your fires, not scooping out ash regularly, and not investing in seasonal maintenance with a pro are all things that put more wear on your system as a whole.
Improper burns, for example, will encourage creosote buildup, which will cause your masonry to break down faster. And neglecting annual inspections can cause minor damages to go unnoticed until it turns into a big and potentially hazardous issue. So, be sure you’re using your system properly and give it the TLC it deserves.
How Much Do Chimney Masonry Repairs Cost?
The price of your chimney masonry repairs can vary quite a bit depending on a few different factors – like the extent of the damage, what specific repairs are required, and whether or not you need preventive services completed after the fact. Minor repairs may be as low as a few hundred dollars, while more extensive issues or rebuilds can cost several thousands.
Because your final estimate can fluctuate based on so many factors, we don’t like to give out any solid numbers right off the bat. Rather, we advise you to give us a call, so that we can discuss your specific needs. Then, we’ll come out, get a look at your system, and move forward from there, so you can know exactly what to expect in terms of cost.
How Long Do Chimney Masonry Repairs Take to Complete?
Like with the cost of these services, the length of time spent on your masonry repairs can vary based on the scope of the project. Depending on what you need, we may have you all set and ready to go in only a matter of hours. Or, if it’s a big project (like a remodel or rebuild) that might take us days, or even weeks, to complete.
Again, we’ll just need to meet with you to figure out where you are, what type of work you’re looking for, and what kind of damage your system is currently facing. Then, we can make a solid plan of action and move forward from there.
Will My Chimney Look the Same After My Masonry Repairs?
Well, if your chimney is broken down and crumbling, we’d hope it looks much better after our work is complete! All that said, many worry that repairs will change the look and aesthetic of their system dramatically, even though it’s a service they know needs to be done.
We’d advise our clients not to stress too much. While your chimney should definitely look new and improved, it doesn’t mean the “feel” of your chimney needs to face any major changes. We’re able to make it look pretty much the same as it was – just better! Tuckpointing, for example, is all about matching any new mortar to your current mortar, as are our brick replacement services. So, it shouldn’t look too different – just newer.
All that said, if you’re wanting a total change in aesthetic, then we can work with you on that too. Ask us about your options, and we can figure out what would be best for your needs and setup. We’re here and happy to help turn your vision into a reality.
When’s the Best Time of Year for Chimney Masonry Repairs?
Generally speaking, we’d aim to have your masonry repairs completed in the milder months of the year – like late spring/early summer. In fact, even fall can lend ideal temperature conditions for masonry repairs. That said, by then, you’re probably hoping to be putting your system to use, so the earlier the better.
Why is warmer weather better for these jobs?
- Some of the products we use need to cure, and rain and freezing temps can affect this process from getting done properly.
- Extreme heat can also affect a repair job’s ability to cure correctly, so we’ll want to avoid the hot days of summer too.
- There will be less of a chance of experiencing weather-related delays.
- The repair jobs are more likely to last, allowing you peace of mind for the long haul.
- Our techs stay safer, since we won’t be working on an icy, slippery rooftop.
- Because everything can cure properly, you won’t be forced to shell out money for more repairs shortly down the line.
In addition to all that, our techs get really busy when fall weather comes back around. Once those first few cold days hit, homeowners start calling us up, hoping to get their system inspected, swept, and repaired before winter and the holidays arrive. That means, should you try and get in touch, you might be faced with delays. By scheduling in spring, though, you can rest easy knowing your system will be all set and ready to go when temps eventually drop.
All that said, if you do experience damage during the colder months, don’t hesitate to reach out. Thanks to advancing technology and improved educational resources, our techs can set you up right, so that you can continue using your system until nicer weather comes back around – at which point, we can take the appropriate next steps to get you where you need to be.
Will Chimney Masonry Repairs Improve the Value of My Home?
Definitely. It’s been shown that having a fireplace and chimney in your home can boost its value and help it sell quicker come time to move – but only if things have been well-maintained. Many have fireplaces on their home wish list, but no one wants to deal with a big project right after moving. So, keeping your system in tip-top shape is imperative for keeping your home value high.
Not to mention, a chimney that’s been regularly tuckpointed and kept up will have a much higher curb appeal than one that’s crumbling and breaking down.
Can I Perform Masonry Repairs Myself?
We definitely wouldn’t recommend this. Masonry repairs can be complex and intricate, and the best way to ensure they’re done correctly and safely is to trust a professional for the job.
Take tuckpointing as an example. Many assume they can tackle this job with a caulk gun and a few good online tutorials, but this can lead to a lot of problems down the line. First of all, caulk is not a suitable substitute for a mortar mix. Second of all, the new mortar needs to match the old in both color and composition – otherwise your chimney will be lacking both in structural soundness and aesthetic appeal.
Another good example of DIY attempts gone wrong is waterproofing. It’s not hard to find waterproofing solutions in the store or online, but most of these products are flawed in a major way – they lack vapor permeability. This means that, once applied, they might effectively keep water out, but they’ll also trap pre-absorbed moisture in. Essentially, you’ll do a lot of work, only to continue facing damage. Not to mention if any areas are missed, water will still be able to penetrate.
In the end, trying to save money by skipping out on professional services is bound to create more stress and problems down the line – as well as trigger further damage later.
Why Should I Trust Highpoint Chimney for My Masonry Repairs?
So, why hire us for your chimney masonry repairs? Well – because we know chimneys. We have over 20 years of experience in this industry, so there isn’t much we haven’t seen or worked with. We’re also certified with CSIA, members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), and members of the Community Association Institution (CAI). Basically, when it comes to serving our clients, we aim to leave no stone unturned.
On top of all that, we’re fully licensed and insured, and we use only the best products available to get our repair jobs done right. And staying knowledgeable and up to date on it all means continuing to learn about government safety laws, EPA regulations, and any other industry guidelines that may change over time – something we’re completely dedicated to.
They say that knowledge is power – and we take pride in staying as informed and knowledgeable as possible about industry news and advancements.
But that’s not all. You could hire the most skilled technician possible, but if they don’t listen to your needs or take your preferences and budget into consideration, you probably won’t find yourself wanting to work with them again. That’s why we strive to offer personalized care, putting our customers’ needs and safety first in every job we take on. And we’re always happy to answer any questions you have along the way too.
Long story short – we want to be your go-to crew anytime you need a masonry repair completed. And if you need a chimney cleaning, inspection, installation job, or something else completed, we’d love to handle all of that too.
Don’t Delay – Get in Touch With Our Techs
If you’re in need of masonry repair services, don’t wait until the problem gets worse – and more expensive to address. Cracks, chips, and other damage can compromise the structural integrity of both your chimney and your home, and ignoring these issues will only cause small, easy fixes to become big headaches later on.
Rather, turn to us. Here at Highpoint Chimney, we offer high-quality repair services that get your masonry back in tip-top shape, ensuring your chimney looks good and stands strong for the long haul. Our experienced and skilled techs use only the best materials and techniques, and we care about putting your needs and satisfaction first and foremost.
Contact us today at 908-864-4114 to schedule your next appointment or you can reach out online. We’re ready to help you out soon.