Two chimneys made of bricks and mortar  
Home Improvement

Are Chimney Rebuilding and Chimney Repointing the Same Procedures?

You’re getting ready to light up the fireplace. It’s going to be the first fire of the season. However, you notice that the chimney needs some repair, but you’re not sure what exactly. It may simply be a cleanup, an aesthetic touch-up, or even a major construction overhaul.

Damaged and blocked chimneys are a major safety hazard. Whether your home needs a chimney rebuilding or a chimney repointing depends upon the condition and health of your chimney. While the two repair methods are often confused, some key differences exist.

Continue reading to understand better the difference between chimney repointing and rebuilding and which one might be best for you.

Chimney Repointing

Chimney repointing is a small-scale renovation job, yet it tends to be labor-intensive. It’s directed at repairing the mortar joints between the bricks.

The Process

Repointing involves replacing the older mortar joints in the masonry of the chimney. The damaged mortar is partially removed by a process called “grounding”. It exposes the voids between the bricks, which are now ready to be refilled with fresh mortar. The mortar dries up to give the chimney an enhanced, renovated look.

The process requires a fairly good amount of skill and can best be carried out by professionals.

When to have it done

Following the first construction, the mortar goes through regular wear and tear. It deteriorates over time and forms cracks, and starts flaking off. It’s mostly caused by the winter, which makes the chimneys vulnerable to water freeze-and-thaw damage. Water can also seep into the house through the exposed points in the damaged mortar. This indicates that your chimney needs repointing.

Cracked mortar also gives your chimney a broken look. Repointing can also work for aesthetically renovating the chimney.

Your chimney might need regular repointing to hold the overall structure of the chimney in place. It will delay any major reconstruction of the chimney. However, if your chimney needs significant rework, read on to learn more about chimney rebuilding.

A brick wall section with new mortar joints

Partial Chimney Rebuilding

Masonry chimneys are fragile and will require rebuilding at some point. Rebuilding is a more extensive form of chimney repair where the chimney is partially or fully reconstructed.

A partial rebuild is labor-intensive and involves extensive repair to be carried out carefully.

The Process

A partial rebuild involves removing a specific part of the chimney and then reconstructing it with fresh bricks and mortar. This could happen in the chimney’s crown, brickwork, masonry, base flashings, or even roof linings.

Concerned with repairing a specific part, a partial rebuild requires great skill to carefully maneuver the removal and repair process. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have it done by professionals only.

When to have it done

In some cases, full rebuilding of the chimney is unnecessary, but a repointing will also not fix the problem. Damage can be limited to a certain part of the chimney while the rest of the structure is intact.

A partial rebuild will fix the damaged portion while saving on the costs of a complete rebuild. It ensures that the chimney is upright and its structure is intact. However, a complete rebuild will be the only viable option if the chimney has suffered extensive damage at multiple points.

Complete Chimney Rebuilding

This is the most extensive and labor-intensive chimney repair, where the chimney is remade from the ground up.

The Process

A complete rebuild entails remaking a chimney from scratch. The existing structure is first broken down. Parts are reused from the original chimney wherever possible. The chimney is built from the ground up with fresh materials. The crown and the masonry are both replaced in the process.

A complete rebuild demands much more skill, effort, and resources. Only certified chimney professionals should be hired for such a project.

When to have it done

Old, unused, and unmaintained chimneys often require complete rebuilds. It’s a health and safety hazard to use severely damaged chimneys. When a chimney is visibly damaged from all sides with a fragile structure, it needs to be rebuilt properly. A complete rebuild also becomes necessary when all other repair methods fail.

A brick chimney on a house

Repairing a chimney as early as possible is always cost-effective. If you require professionals for chimney rebuilding, consider Creative Masonry & Chimney’s services today. They offer services, including chimney repointing, repair, rebuilding and cleaning.

Homeowners from Berlin, CT, and Cromwell, CT, can reach out to them today.

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Clare Louise