Being a homeowner, you need to frequently check your chimney. It’s more than necessary for you. A chimney with damages, unlined flue or ventilation problem may cause a fire.
Among several types of chimney problems, one is damaged brickwork. If the brick walls need repair work, that implies any or both of the following:
- The moisture is getting behind the brick
- The toxic gases are oozing out
Don’t delay it. Carry out the repointing work as soon as you can. A delay indicates putting yourself and your family at risk. But it’s not easy to repoint the brickwork yourself. Being an ordinary homeowner, you may not know which tools are to use, or what is the correct procedure.
I am here
Don’t worry. I’m here to help you out. First thing I’m going to share with you is the list of tools that you need. Here’s the list:
- A large container
- Mortar mix
- A small shovel
- A chisel with a sharp, edged blade
- A stiff brush
- A scrub brush
These are all the tools that you need. Now read on to see how you can use these tools.
When you begin the repair work, first you need to
Mix the mortar
You need the container here. Pour the mortar mix into the container, and then add water into the mix. Keep adding water until the mix gets stiff. Once the mix is stiff enough (it stands as a ball and doesn’t slump), it’s ready for the work.
Search for loose mortar
Loose mortars are the culprit. Keep your eyes open for them. If you find one, use the chisel and remove it. Don’t do it hurriedly because that might cause further damage to the brick wall. Chisel out a loose mortar in a gentle manner.
Use the stiff bristle brush
You use the chisel to remove loose particles from the brickwork. That’s not enough. There’d be debris, and you need to clear them too. To remove the debris, you need to use the stiff bristle brush. Again, move the brush gently.
Use the small shovel/trowel
You can use a trowel if you are not comfortable handling a shovel, or if you couldn’t find a small shovel (most shovels are large in size). Use the tool and dig out piles of stiff mortar from the container. Next, scuff the trowel with the mortar piles on it into the small mortar holes.
To make sure the holes are all closed, you need to push the newly laid mortar mix with the edge of the trowel. Some people use their fingers instead of trowels.
Second round of mortar
You are not done yet. After the first round of mortar, you need to rub another round using the trowel. Before applying the second round, use a jointer to add more mortar. At this point, you need to keep in mind mortar joints almost always have irregular shapes. This can make it difficult for you to use certain equipment. So talk to a professional and be absolutely sure about what equipment you need to repair brickwork.
Mortar drying up
When scuffing the mortar mix into the holes, you need to consider the excess mortar. Wait for the mortar mix to dry up. When you find the mortar mix has dried up, use the trowel again and shave off the excess mortar.
The work may not be this easy all the time. At times, you might have to
Pull out the existing mortar
Don’t pull out all of them at once. If you do that, the brick wall will lose its strength. Select an area first, preferably 4-6 ft wide and then carve out the existing mortar one by one. Do it in a gentle manner; if you face problems using a chisel, use a wieldable grout saw.
Your job doesn’t end after the mortar removal. Next, you need to remove all the dust and debris using a wire brush; wear an artificial respiration mask while doing this, so you don’t inhale any dust or debris.
The next three or four steps are the same; preparing the mortar mix, inserting the mix using a pointing trowel and then cleaning up all the mess. But there’s one more step between the mortar removal and inserting new mortar. That step is
Soaking the wall
You need to soak your brick wall using a hose and keep it this way for an entire night. There’s a reason why brick is soaked in water before any brickwork. This ensures the brickwork and the existing mortar would get enough time to hydrate and the new mortar won’t suck water.
When the brick wall is fully soaked, you can carry out the remaining steps, which are inserting the mortar mix, scraping off the extra mortar, etc.
About the author:
Adrice White is an experienced Chimney sweep in Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13. He takes an interest in writing articles on smokestack cleaning. He has been in this field for the last 10 years. You can avail more information about Chimney sweep Tunbridge Wells from his recent articles and blog posts.
I haven’t had a repointing service before but after reading through this article it seems like it’s a necessary part of chimney maintenance. After going through the list of needed items and steps it seems like this is a bigger maintenance task than what I may be able to myself. I’ll have to look into a repointing service if I notice any of the brick wear that you mentioned. Thanks for the helpful advice.
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