Rebuilding a Brick Chimney
Temporary repairs are the common solution to a failing chimney, but often, a better choice is tearing down and rebuilding.
Synopsis: Although most homeowners probably don’t think much about their chimneys, they should. When problems become apparent, it’s often too late for simple repairs. Mason Brendon Mostecki says that when chimney problems arise, the best bet is often tearing down and rebuilding. Mostecki says that chimney life depends on a few factors: climate, usage, construction. To replace a chimney for a long life, Mostecki starts rebuilding the bricks on a stable base, then works to get the height right. He also promotes regular maintenance to enhance a chimney’s life span. This article includes a sidebar about choosing proper brick size when rebuilding or repairing a chimney.
Magazine extra: Watch Brendan Mostecki inspect a failing chimney and detail his recommendations for its reconstruction.
Chimneys are a lot like toilets: You tend to take them for granted until they are leaking water on the floor. I think chimneys are at a bigger disadvantage, though, because they’re high up on the roof and are therefore way down on most to-do lists when it comes to regular maintenance. As a result, chimneys are often left to the elements until they are crumbling. The good news is that most old chimneys can be deconstructed and rebuilt without much trouble.
How long should a chimney last?
I’m often asked this question, and I always say the same thing: anywhere from one year to 100 years. The answer might sound evasive, but it’s not a simple equation. There are several factors that determine the life span of a chimney.
Does the chimney sit in the shade for most of the day, where it will likely be plagued by moss and algae? This vegetation holds water against the chimney, which can lead to premature deterioration. Is the house exposed to frequent rain,…