Having been in business since 1981, I cannot begin to tell you how many customers calling for an ‘outer estimate’. This is a visual inspection and written list of recommendations for chimneys. These are deteriorating, spalling, falling, or have damaging by some natural cause. This means its time for brick repair.
Often times, an estimator will give you estimates of varying amounts that correlate with different types of repairs and fixes. Although it can be confusing, it is our policy to walk customers through the process.
Rebuilding the shell
When tackling moderately severe chimney damage (spalling, cracking, or falling out) it is necessary to rebuild the outer “shell” of the chimney. In doing this, a mason takes off the exterior brick. The mason takes the chimney down to a few courses (rows) of brick. This occurs below the end of the existing damage. The mason replaces those with new brick, new mortar, and a coat of water repellent.
This type of repair, the partial or total rebuilds, is most often the most expensive repair possible. A less expensive repair is an option available for budget repairs and small repairs. When damage is not widespread and minimal, a cut and plug method can be used.
Cut and Plug
This method is the cutting out of damaged brick and replacing them with new bricks using new mortar. This type of repair usually carries a short or no warranty at all and is far less durable than a more extensive rebuild option. As with the rebuild repair, water repellent is applied to the brick once the repair has been completed and given ample time to cure.
A water repellent (we like ChimneySaver Water Repellent) is a necessary step after the completion of any brick repair. Its cost is a small price to pay due to its immense ability to deflect water from eroding away your chimney’s lifetime. A good water repellent will not merely form a film over your brick (which winds up trapping water vapors and promoting the likelihood of spalling) but actually form a semi-permeable membrane around the surface of the brick that allows vapors to move freely but prevents the water droplets from entering. This step is essential to upholding the integrity of your chimney repair.