Most people think that the terms “repointing” and “tuckpointing” are one and the same. Some of this is true. Their shared goal is to remove damaged mortar and replace it with new materials to stabilize the structure. However, they are relatively different when it comes to their brickwork aesthetic.
If you notice that your chimney has damaged mortar, then you should act immediately. Crevices and holes in the mortar are destructive to the chimney’s health. The goal of brick and mortar is to keep outside elements from seeping into the chimney, such as moisture.
Join us in exploring the difference between chimney repointing and tuckpointing. You’ll also learn how to choose the best option for your masonry.
What Is the Importance of Mortar?
Mortar is the paste that binds individual bricks together, creating a wall. Mortar is the most crucial aspect of any brickwork, as it’s the primary support for the structure. Not only does it seal and fill gaps, but it also distributes the bricks’ weight evenly for extra stabilization.
Without mortar in masonry, water would ruin the chimney prematurely. Therefore, inspecting the mortar used in a chimney is a strong indicator of how durable the structure is.
How Does Brickwork Decay?
Normally, brick walls and other brickwork can withstand a century of environmental forces and decay. While the brick is very strong, the mortar is not as sturdy. Damage to mortar joints happens more quickly. You can expect them to last with issues for around 20 to 30 years.
The introduction of moisture to the chimney or brick wall expands and contracts the material as water enters and evaporates in the vicinity. Over time this becomes harmful to the mortar joints and causes them to erode and crumble away. Waiting too long to restore the chimney will leave the structure unstable with loose bricks.
Signs Your Chimney Is Decaying
It can be obvious when you need to repair a chimney. An indication that repairing may be necessary is that the mortar has developed a texture that mimics dust. Other signs to look for are cracks, discolored mortar, or flaking mortar.
Any time you notice these signs, you need to call your local chimney repair service for advice on what steps to take in the repair process. Ignoring warnings that your chimney may be unstable could result in you needing to replace the entirety of the masonry and start over.
How Often Should You Repair a Chimney?
If you live in a humid climate or experience many storms, you may need repairs more often. Because water finds its way in between every crack, it is important to check up on the masonry work after large storms and every so often to stay on top of repairs. However, if you use professional services annually, repair work won’t need to happen as often.
Regardless, a short answer is to check and repair your chimney once a year, especially if you use the fireplace frequently. If you recently bought a house, check to see when the previous owner carried out the last check-up. Also, find out how old the chimney is. This will help determine if you need to call a service to repair it.
How Much Does a Repair Cost?
The size, height, brick condition, mortar damage, roof slope, and accessibility all play a role in price points for repair costs. On average, repair prices can sit around $20 to $50 per row of bricks repaired.
To rebuild a chimney with repointing or tuckpointing can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500. Replacing the whole chimney from the ground up can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. This depends on the services and your location.
In some instances, professionals will decide to charge by access materials once the project is complete, rather than by square foot. This can be a more unusual way of doing pricing for masonry work. So be sure to speak with your local services about their prices. As you do so, think about what kind of repairs will fit your budget.
The process of repointing your chimney involves taking away the damaged brick and mortar. From there, professionals replace it with the exact same materials. Repointing grinds down the mortar joints that have damage. This way, the brickwork can use the same bricks but receive new mortar.
If you want to keep the same uniform look on your chimney, then repointing it is the way to go. Repointing a chimney is relatively low on the cost scale. Most of the money you pay goes to the work the builder does to fix the chimney. Call Chimcare for chimney sweeps in Redding, CA, and other chimney, masonry, and fireplace services.
Tuckpointing a chimney is like repointing it. However, the broken materials get thrown out, and professionals put all new components in. On top of this, they use two different colors to make a sleek, sophisticated pattern on the brick wall. The brick is one color, while the mortar is in a different shade. This combination of colors makes the mortar lines appear straighter and more attractive.
Imagine red bricks with white mortar—can you picture how these appeal to the human eye? Yes, tuckpointing is repairing the damage the chimney has sustained over time. But it also revamps its appearance and style. Professionals use tuckpointing to imitate rubbed bricks without spending much money, providing a nice high-contrast look.
Cost may be a factor that plays a role in your decision to get repointing or tuckpointing. Tuckpointing requires more materials, and therefore, it will cost more. Consider all the factors before deciding on which technique to go with. Either will work, as the only major difference between chimney repointing and tuckpointing is the aesthetic they provide.
All in all, deciding which method to choose will not affect the stability of the structure after the repair is complete. Both do a wonderful job of repairing the chimney. Keep all factors in mind, including aesthetics, cost, timing, and materials.
Always consult a professional whenever you need masonry work or need to sweep your chimney. This will ensure you have the job done properly. In turn, you’ll extend the life expectancy of your chimney.