Patching "holes" in exposed brick chimney
Moving on the my kitchen in my never ending remodel of my 1915 two-family home in northern NJ, I have removed several layers of plaster and paneling and found and old chimney with some pretty cool looking old brick that I would like to expose.
The chimney itself does not support any active fireplace, but vent pipes from the furnace have been run up the chimney. A previous stovepipe has been removed and filed in with a concrete plug.
My goal is to be able to expose this brick however the cement plug is a bit of an eyesore. One plan (a bit of half-assery, I'd admit) would be to block with a handing picture or other decoration mounted from the brick -- there's no way I am going to be able to match this brick.
However I thought of another idea -- chisel out the plug (and maybe a few halves of bricks to give myself an 8" by 8" square), fill with some bricks that are not as deep as the originals, and then mount some decorative ceramic tile in the space.
What do you think? I'm figuring since I can't match the brick, I should go a different route. Will this sceam half-assery or does it have a shot of looking good?
Here's a picture!
The problem would be finding brick to match your chimney. Do not know what would happen if you take from another spot that is hidden (ie attic), but to only grab what, 3 bricks from that spot and then patch with mortar and some like brick up there could be what could do it. The appearance may not be the same in the patch, but depends on your choice. Steal and patching would definitely be better than that plug patch.
Gregzoll -- good suggestion that I am embarrassed not to have though of. I think there will be some in the attic or basement that fit the bill. Of course the mortar still won't match. At this point I am guessing if I replace these bricks I might as well re-point the mortar for a consistent look?
I happen to think such things add a certain character. If it really bothers you, stain the concrete. A local concrete supplier should have or will order stain in just about any color you have in mind.
Like you suggest, you will probably make it worse trying to match it. But here is one other thing that might work.
Take a picture of the brick you have to match, color correct it. Go to a shop that does drop dead accurate color printouts on vinyl. Fit the vinyl to some sort of patch with the correct texture.
Again, I would leave the plug and stain the concrete. Usually, from experience and bias bordering on hatred of faux finishes, you screw things up trying to make something what it isn't.
Anybody ever asks what is behind the plug? "My first three wives asked to be cremated!"
So, I ended stealing the bricks from the attic and mixing up a lime mortar mix. It was a lot of work hunting down a masonry supply shop that had the lime, but I found it. This is not the best photo. The bricks were a perfect match -- the mortar was closer than I thought, but still a bit whiter than the original. The differences in the sand and the aging on the original mortar made it impossible to find a perfect match.
I'm thinking about applying a thinned paint to try to discolor it a bit and get it closer to the original bu I will probably just keep it as it.
Thanks for the suggestions!
Great match CaptChaos! You may try to get something like lacquer thinner and some light gray stain to blend it in. On our last house I did some tuck point on the chimney (which stuck out like a sore thumb) and once it was dry I blended it in with some color. The lacquer thinner flashed off quick and left just a little bit of color - Worked like a charm!
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