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Old 05-07-2013, 10:15 PM   #1
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


Hello,

I am new to the boards, and glad I found the forum. I have always been a relatively hands-on person and have taken on many projects over the years ... dry wall repair and finishing, garage floor etching and coating, knocking down trees, wiring, minor plumbing, etc. I am faced with a new challenge ... my chimney.

I have efflorescence on my chimney (mineral deposits on the exterior caused by water wicking it's way from the inside out). I have a two story house with a cement crown that was build about 20yrs ago. Each year, I have spend a bit of time looking over the mortar and touching up various spots with basic mortar repair caulk from a local box store. After seeing noticeable efflorescence, I thought it was time to work on the crown.

I called a local mason to assess the situation. He seems experienced with good referrals. He recommended replacing the crown and mentioned that he would tuck point the entire chimney from top to bottom. My chimney is not that bad but the mortar has a handful of spots with small holes and tiny cracks. I also showed him the rest of my house which has a wrap-around brick (the back upper half is siding with no brick). We spotted a handful of areas where minor repair work was needed (tuck pointing). He also stated he would apply a water sealant to all of the brick.

He wanted $2500 for the chimney work and an additional $2000 for the rest of the house. In the end, we worked the price down to $3000 for everything. He is stating this is a great deal but I truly have little to go on except I know the cost of materials is not much (perhaps $200-$300). I have another quote coming tomorrow although I do not believe this person will be as detailed.

Keeping in mind that I am a hands-on person, I have conducted some quick research into tuck pointing and feel I can pull this off although I would like to get some feedback from this forum regarding the price quoted. I can work a circular saw and chisel and have experience mixing drywall mud, but I have not touched mortar. Is mortar mixed in the same fashion? I know my local box store carriers bags of mortar mix but I have not looked at them close enough ... does the bag have the right mix and do I need to add sand, etc.? If I can figure out the mix, I will feel better about the project. In the end, I may still have someone repair the crown simply because I do not care to deal with the height of the chimney.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


stop using your mortar repair caulk.

What condition is the chimney in that you think it requires a new cap and tuckpointed?

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:50 PM   #3
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by cleveman View Post
stop using your mortar repair caulk.

What condition is the chimney in that you think it requires a new cap and tuckpointed?
Hello and thank you for the reply. Good question! Unfortunately, I do not have an extension ladder long enough to reach the crown so I am unable to see it. Closer to the ground I can see a handful of small spots where the mortar has small cracks, a small tiny hole here and there, etc.

I had a reputable chimney company provide a estimate today. They thought the mortar was not too bad and recommend a rubber damn/cover of some sort to cover the crown and water proofing the entire chimney (275 for the rubber coating and 350 for the waterproofing). The company is well respected in the community. I specifically ask what he thought about the condition of the crown. He said there we a few cracks that were not major and a felt a simple rubberized coating would do the trick (15yr warranty).

I have one more estimate coming tomorrow from another mason. The first mason seems a bit upset that I insist on other quotes. He feels the price he quoted was extremely low and there was no reason for me to chat with others (red flag).

I feel I can do the waterproofing, but have a few questions on tuck pointing. More specifically, how to mix the mortar. I believe Menard's sells a ready mix type-N mortar? Not sure if this still needs sand though.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:18 AM   #4
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


Menards sells both a masonry mortar ready to go/just add water, and a mix that you add sand to.

I wouldn't recommend tuckpointing the chimney if you have never mixed mortar before. It also sounds like people are saying it doesn't need pointed. IF you were to do this, you would want to have scaffolding up to the top, and it would take you forever to complete the job.

I don't see a happy ending for a diy in this case.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:45 AM   #5
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


I agree. I prefer to leave the crown and any pointing to someone with a scaffold. I do not mind tackling anything I can reach with my extension ladder but need a better feel for tuck pointing. Thanks for the info on the premix mortar. Since all my tuck pointing outside the chimney seems relatively minor, I will look for a premixed bag.

Any thoughts on color? My current mortar seems fairly standard (perhaps a bit lighter than a standard grey?). Here are a few pictures of my chimney:
https://plus.google.com/photos/10928...COv8qs6XwYChLQ

When I finish drywall, I add just enough water to get the right flow. I assume the same for mortar?

Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


That mortar color looks pretty standard.

Just follow the directions on a sack of mortar first. Maybe mix 1/2 sack and use 1/2 the water. This will give you something to shoot for when you mix it without measuring the water.

Better a bit dry for pointing and easier for the clean up. Try not to do this on the hottest day of the year and you may find it useful to spray the area with a pump-up sprayer first.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:31 PM   #7
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


Thanks for the info. I received a third and final quote today from another mason. This was a solid mason with 30+ years of experience ... a good honest person. He is booked solid for the next couple of months, but I am not is a major hurry ... I figure I have waited for a few years, what's a few months.

He advised to remove the top 8 rows of bricks which include a shark teeth design. He mentioned they do nothing but collect water. In addition, he recommended using a limestone crown instead of concrete which he has done for many years. The crown will carry over 2 inches. He did not feel the entire chimney needed tuck pointing ... only a handful of spots. He also recommended sealing the brick. I asked about tuck pointing other parts of the house, and he said I should be able to easily manage it. His estimate came in at $2600.

Any thoughts on a limestone crown? He is also willing to do concrete if I like. Concrete will save a bit of money, but not sure of the difference down the road.
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:57 AM   #8
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Tuck Pointing - Advice Needed ...


I'm not sure about the limestone. I guess if you like the looks of it and a reputable guy recommends it, then go with it.

I know there are a lot chimney sweep guys out there who wish they had better masonry skills and a lot of masonry guys who aren't too excited about doing chimney work.

I did a chimney years ago and just tore it down to the roof line and built it back up, then capped it with some pavers. It was unlined. The brick I replaced was the soft, terra cotta type.

I recently had an acquaintance looking for advice on his-the brick was crumbling way down. He tore it down and had a mason come and re-lay it. He tore down to near the roof line as well. I'm not sure what he ended up with for a cap.

I'm sure there is some polymer modified concrete designed for this.

All things said, masonry is not ideal on a horizontal surface.

The "tiger-tooth" brickwork which you mentioned, probably a rowlock, is evidence enough of this. Having a rough, porous, brick compounds the problem.

Good luck.

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