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DIherself 03-19-2012 02:53 PM

old brick chimney repair
So they tell me that centrifugal force is drawing water through the chimney into the attic and I need to have my old brick chimney "sealed." Others say that bricks are used in chimneys for a reason and not to seal because the sun draws moisture out of the bricks, and if I seal them with water seal, the moisture/condensation/whatever will drip down my chimney. Yet others say that all I have to do is re-mortar the bricks and cement/mortar/ whatever part of the brick that has crumbled. Now here's my question:

A guy wants to stucco all around the brick chimney and then place pavers to look like a new brick chimney. That doesn't sit well with me, because not only would it be adding about 150 new pounds (stress) to the roof/chimney, but one will not be able to reach the flashing because the new bricks will be sticking out over the flashing and limit finger access for future flashing repairs. Also it seems like the old chimney might crumble from within -- right down the chimney into the heater because of its new encasement of concrete. But that's just how it seems to me. Please please help soon because, if my suspicions are correct, I need to make a phone call quick.

stuart45 03-19-2012 04:14 PM

I don't suppose you have got any photos of the chimney stack and the flashings that might help?

joed 03-19-2012 04:55 PM

Centrifugal force come from a spinning object. Is your chimney spinning to generate this force? Stop the spinning and the problem will be gone.

If the bricks are crumbling then take the chimney down to good brick and put back up with new brick and liners. That is the proper fix.

cleveman 03-19-2012 10:22 PM

If you could get your chimney stabilized, yet allow the house to spin, I think this would throw the water away from the chimney.

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. When it starts to rain, you could wind it up and let it run.

joecaption 03-19-2012 11:08 PM

Your getting some very strange suggestion on how to fix this.
Are these real mason suggesting these odd ball "fixes"?

DIherself 03-20-2012 10:06 AM

My head is spinning trying to hire the right person. A mechanical engineer used the word "centrifugal" after he black-tarred around the flashing and it still leaked. I think he meant like dipping a sugar cube in a cup of coffee and seeing the coffee "travel" up the cube. I don't have pictures. There is sponge brick at the corner (or joint, excuse me) about a square foot up the chimney, at the roof line. And the other helpful hints came from a roofer. Thanks for a good laugh and for "setting me straight."

stuart45 03-20-2012 10:43 AM

It's not normally a mechanical engineer called in to fix a chimney leak.
There are a number of reasons why they can leak.
The flaunching at the top can be defective, as can the pointing.
The flashings can also be the cause.
It sounds like your flashings could be on the way out if you had them blackjacked, which is not the best job.
Nowadays we always put a lead tray in new chimneys to stop any leaks.

joed 03-20-2012 04:23 PM

I think the term he looking for was capillary action.

DIherself 03-20-2012 05:49 PM

This Old House: Wire-brush out the mortar around the sponge bricks, chip them out and replace them with new brick. That sounds good to me as long as the chimney doesn't collapse. That would be like taking a bite out of a square foot of chimney on the bottom at the roof line, which I like very much but probably can't afford right now (?). (This Old House doesn't know that it's at the bottom/roof line in case that matters.) So would it be okay to put a sealer over the sponge bricks to just get me through the rainy season which is fast approaching? At the same time, I don't want the problem to spin out of control.

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