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Repairing Damaged Mortar Joints On Your Chimney: Tuckpointing


A fireplace is a beautiful addition to any home. It is more than just a great design feature. Most homeowners do not realize that the masonry work on the exterior of the chimney will need repair over time. Harsh weather in the winter and summer months can be tough on the mortar joints.

When mortar joints are damaged, the chimney could begin to lean or worse, it could completely collapse. Even rock masonry can become damaged, due to excess moisture caused by deteriorating mortar joints. Ultimately, moisture in the chimney can cause a significant variety of problems, both inside and outside of the home, which can be costly to repair and can render a chimney unsafe to use until those repairs are made. Many times, a repair procedure called “tuckpointing” can put a stop to the destructive process.

Why is Tuckpointing Necessary?

Tuckpointing is a repair process which will replace damaged mortar joints between masonry materials. Bricks in a chimney can last up to a hundred years; however,mortar is not nearly as durable. Mortar can last about 25 years, depending on weather conditions and how much moisture the chimney is exposed to, and based on its position on the rooftop. If a chimney is subjected to extreme amounts of water on the roof, it is best to install accessories which divert the water away from it.

Whatever the conditions, mortar on a masonry chimney eventually needs to be replaced, which is achieved by tuckpointing.

How Does Tuckpointing Work?

The process of tuckpointing involves routing out damaged mortar and replacing it with fresh mortar. The original shape of the bricks and mortar is then recreated.

The basic steps for tuckpointing a red brick chimney are:

  • Ground or route out the old mortar at a uniform depth.

  • Fill in red mortar to the grooves that are newly routed.

  • In the red mortar, cut thin strips down the middle to form grooves.

  • Fill a mortar color which matches the original mortar on the outside of the chimney into the grooves.

Benefits of Tuckpointing on Chimneys

Deterioration of the chimney occurs when the damaged mortar is not replaced. Tuckpointing stops the corrosion process.

Other benefits of performing needed tuckpointing on chimneys follow:

  • Tuckpointing provides structural stability to your chimney. When mortar joints are not repaired, the chimney weakens and begins to lean or even collapse.

  • The chimney will be restored to its original aesthetic beauty.

  • Tuckpointing achieves waterproofing of your chimney because damaged mortar joints allow water to enter the chimney system and ultimately into your home. You may not be able to see it, but excess water in the chimney causes wood root, mold, mildew, and other types of damage.

  • This procedure is far more cost-effective than a complete fireplace tear-down and rebuild. Tuckpointing allows you to avoid the expense of completely replacing the chimney structure.

  • When you repair the damaged mortar joints, you increase the value of your home.

  • The masonry materials on your chimney are restored to their original condition.

Contact our home improvement professionals at I. Boyd Home Improvements, if tuckpointing is needed on your chimney or if you are unsure about the extent of damage to the mortar joints. We will provide a reliable assessment and answer any and all of your questions about your chimney and venting systems.

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