A brick chimney repair can be easily executed without employing professional help. Brick chimneys are durable structures but they need periodic, basic repairs. Since chimneys vent smoke from sources such as fireplaces they become susceptible to some typical problems. Brick chimneys can suffer minor structural damages due to harsh, external weather conditions also. A usual brick chimney repair project involves a thorough cleaning of the chimney since this is vital to access and repair the damaged brick surface. Besides this, most brick chimneys need periodic repairing of the crown area. It should be understood that the chimney’s crown defines its overall durability. A fully-functional crown protects the inner mortar lining besides ensuring that the stucco doesn’t deteriorate due to the passage of smoke through the chimney. Basic repairs to a household chimney can be easily undertaken by using the following information.
Step 1 - Identifying and Preparing Brick Chimney Repair Spots
In order to identify the damaged parts of the chimney, it is vital that you clean and scoop-out all the debris. This includes removing any material that is likely to fall off in the near future, including weathering pieces of bricks. If you find a crumbling mortar lining, it is better to remove it. Simple household tools like a hammer and chisel are sufficient for this purpose. Using the chisel, knock on every brick along the inner lining of the chimney. This is a simple way of identifying the loosened bricks. It is better to remove such bricks and relay them. However, bricks with damaged edges shouldn’t be used again.
Use a paintbrush to sweep-away the debris from the repair spots. Soak a sponge and moisten the repair spots. Do this repeatedly until the outer surface is able to retain sufficient moisture for about 10 to 15 minutes—don’t drench the mortar with water. If the repair spots are along the chimney joints, use a trowel to scrape-out the wobbly mortar before wetting the area. You should also wet the replacement bricks before fixing them into the repair spots.
Step 2 – Repairing Brick Chimney Repair Spots
Open the packaged mortar-mix. Empty the contents into a plastic bucket. Mix water according to packaged instructions. The mortar-mix can be applied with the trowel itself. Using the trowel, press the mortar-mix into the weathered chimney joints. Using the pointed side of the trowel, scrape-off the excess mortar-mix. Apply the mortar-mix to one side of the replacement brick. Spread the mix with the trowel to create a uniform surface. Insert these prepped bricks into the brick-replacement spots. Allow the repaired chimney spots to dry for a day or two.
Step 3 – Fixing Weathered Chimney Crowns
You can remove the damaged mortar lining around a crown with a chisel. Prepare a mix of masonry cement and some pea gravel. Mix them with water. You don’t need packaged instructions to approximate the amount of water. Just ensure that the consistency isn’t too wet. Use a trowel to test the consistency. The mixture shouldn’t drip when you scoop it with a trowel. Slowly, start pressing this cement mix around the chipped crown. Apply and press more cement-mix until small pockets of excess cement start forming around the edges. Scrape-away the excess cement with the trowel.