The chimney services industry has a lot of unique terminologies, as most industries do. One area of confusion for some homeowners is the difference between chimney rebuilding and chimney tuckpointing. Both operations are performed to restore strength and integrity to your chimney system, but each one has different reasons for being recommended by your chimney sweep or inspector.
What is chimney rebuilding?
Chimney rebuilding can mean:
Rebuilding damaged sections of bricks and mortar
Rebuilding the stack above the roof or the breast below the roof
Rebuilding the entire chimney
When is chimney rebuilding necessary?
Any time your chimney structure is weakened or compromised, some level of rebuilding may be necessary.
Many things can damage a chimney’s bricks and mortar including but not limited to:
Frequency of fireplace use
An improperly built chimney footing
Pounding hail storms
Year after a year of extreme weather temperatures
Old age that leads to brick and mortar decay
Lack of maintenance including annual inspections and chimney sweeping
Lightning, hail, and severe hot and cold temperatures typically affect only the chimney stack. The other causes listed can affect any area within the chimney structure or the entire structure.
Tuckpointing or repointing
Unlike chimney rebuilding, tuckpointing focuses on just the mortar joints that hold the chimney’s bricks together. The mortar that has started to crumble must be addressed before serious structural compromise happens.
Tuckpointing involves scraping away old, decayed mortar and replacing it with a fresh new compound. It doesn’t require disassembling and then reassembling the chimney or sections of it.
When performed by an experienced chimney sweep or chimney services professional, tuckpointing will restore your chimney’s strength and give it more years of life and performance.
Start with a certified chimney inspection
All chimney industry organizations recommend yearly chimney inspections.
When performed by a CSIA-certified technician, a chimney inspection will tell you:
If damage exists
Why the damage happened
Exactly where the damage is located
The extent of the damage
What will be needed to resolve the problem
Significant structural damage to a chimney typically requires some level of rebuilding to make the chimney safe again. Tuckpointing is a valuable service when the main issue with your chimney is crumbling and decaying mortar.
By scheduling regular inspections, chimney sweeping, and maintenance services, you stand a better chance of avoiding major work on your chimney structure in the future.
Good chimney maintenance includes timely repairs. For example, early signs of cracking in the bricks or mortar, damage to the cement chimney crown, warped or missing flashing, and leaks anywhere within the system should be addressed quickly. Minor damage to a chimney isn’t difficult or expensive to have repaired. By resolving leaky chimney issues, you prevent widespread water damage to the chimney and possibly the home.
By repairing cracks in the structure, you keep the cracks from enlarging and destroying large sections of the chimney. By keeping your chimney clean and free of creosote, a byproduct of wood fires, you safeguard the inside of your flue and prevent damage from the acids in creosote as well as disastrous chimney fires. If your chimney is damaged – or if you suspect it may be – call Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS. We provide licensed chimney rebuilding, tuckpointing, chimney repairs, chimney inspections, and chimney cleaning. Reach an expert at (913) 236-7141.