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I had noticed that my chimney was in disrepair several years ago and had meant to repair it some perfect weekend. It all came to fruition Saturday, The weather was cooperating and my son and I had time to point the existing bricks. Plus my wife was out of town. As luck would have it , she returned just as the boys started the repair project. I suppose she is getting used to our daredevil antics and didn’t have me explain why I was risking our son’s life.
I was shocked when I touched the 4 bricks on the Southwest corner and they just fell out in my hands. Undaunted we prepared some mortar and scraped out the remaining flaky mortar.
We added a cup of acrylic adhesive and wet the bricks down. We then placed the Type S mortar which is a 2-1-9 mix Cement / Lime / Sand. Probably not the perfect mix for this purpose but that is what the store had. I placed it in a piping bag designed for this purpose and squeezed the mortar between the bricks.
I relayed the stretchers and pointed the rest. Each one was cleaned then I rinsed the chimney and packed and pointed till it looked like new again. The acrylic bonding agent should really help things stick together for years to come.
Once everything was looking back to normal we washed it down with a mild solution of Muriatic Acid and water to get the bricks cleaned up.
Chimneys deteriorate so slowly that they are hardly noticed. Once in the bay area an earthquake shook the neighborhood pretty good and one of the most significant issues was tumbling or cracked chimneys.
From the street this one looked OK. Once viewed from on top it was clear that a real hazard existed. In addition to deteriorated mortar the actual bricks turned to powder in the elements. Always check the flashing around the chimney for a proper seal, this is topic to discuss later but part of a proper chimney inspection that I recommend. I recently had one inspected that was hit by a fallen tree. Our local fireplace shop inspected it with special equipment to give me the confidence of third party verification.