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Old 01-24-2010, 09:49 AM   #1
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Cracked Concrete Chimeny


Here's some pictures of what I am trying to repair and I'm trying to find out if this is something I can do myself. Here are some pictures. As you can see there are a lot of small cracks as well as a large hole.
Does anyone have experience in fixing something like this?
How would I go about doing the repair myself? Where should I start? Is it better to hire a professional?
Thank you for any and all advice
S
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Cracked Concrete Chimeny-img00077-20100124-0917.jpg  

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:42 PM   #2
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Cracked Concrete Chimeny


Is that an actual "chimney" as in for a fireplace? OR is it a covering for some type of vent coming from under the house? It appears to be stacked block construction with something like a skim coat of mortar over it and the outer coating has deteriorated over time. The "hole", as I see it, is where some of this outer covering has come off. I've seen this type covering on other structures. Have you tried to pull off any of this coating? I've seen it where you could find a starting place and pull off large hunks of it, as it didn't seem to bond very good. I'm not a masonry person, there are some on this forum who give great advice and hopefully they will chime in here. Right off hand I'm thinking that if the internal part of the structure is good, then a new outer covering may be all you need. With the height of that wall, and it looks good, I would be looking at something a little more decorative if needed. Good Luck, David

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Old 01-24-2010, 03:06 PM   #3
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Cracked Concrete Chimeny


Not that it really matters, but where are you by the way? Could you update your profile to show this for your future posts? (If others reading this wouldn't mind it would be great too!) Those of us who try to help find it useful to know, especially if you are US, Canadian (the country we should have invaded instead of Iraq) or like from the English speaking countries with her majesties accents like the UK, New Zealand or Australia. Or wherever.

Anyhow, call a mason. It will be cheaper than doing this yourself. Or a nice one, and most are, will tell you how much you should attempt yourself and quickly remind you of your limits.

It looks like you have a fair amount of moisture getting into or seeping out of this thing all the way from ground level to over the roof or did you just photograph after a major rain storm? That is not good for concrete/mortar/stucco and whatever else you have. You may find you have to replace the entire structure?

I also don't see any footing under this structure? Strikes me rather iffy if that much concrete block, if that is what it is, is just sitting on the ground.

If it is working chimney for a wood stove or fireplace (weird it would have been allowed to have an exposed side attached to exterior framing) call a chimney expert. It's not worth a house fire trying to DIY to save $1,000 or whatever. And, depending on where you are, this strikes me as something that could require an inspection and signoff. You may not be able to get the sign-off if you DIY.

If it is just a decorative covering over a hot air vent or two for whatever reason, perhaps a retrofitted heating system on an antique home? I agree it could be made to look nicer or less conspicous.

Be careful.

Last edited by user1007; 01-24-2010 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 01-24-2010, 06:26 PM   #4
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Cracked Concrete Chimeny


Thanks guys. It is a cinder block structure coated in a thin concrete slim coat that encases a hot air vent stack. The structure looked perfectly fine when we purchased the home(here in NJ) 2years ago. It has obviously deteriorated as moisture entered into cracks we did not see at the time. I'm not looking for a quick fix so I'll most likely call a professional.
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Old 01-24-2010, 06:33 PM   #5
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Hey, do click on your username and add your location so we remember where you are in the future. You don't have to put NJ if you don't want to admit it. Just type in "Home of the longest continuous burning tire fire" and we will figure it out. At least give us some clue though.
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Old 01-24-2010, 06:53 PM   #6
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Cracked Concrete Chimeny


Is it possible that the roof is draining against the chimney?
I can see eaves-trough on the one picture and wonder if there is a cricket missing/never installed.
The cricket (or saddle?) will deflect most of the water away from the chimney so this doesn't happen any further.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlhaslip View Post
Is it possible that the roof is draining against the chimney?
I can see eaves-trough on the one picture and wonder if there is a cricket missing/never installed.
The cricket (or saddle?) will deflect most of the water away from the chimney so this doesn't happen any further.

Finally, someone else that refers to it as a saddle!


I'd suggest having the chimney re-lined, make sure water isn't coming in at the roofline, patch the larger cracks & missing plaster, & paint the entire chimney with a product similar to Sherwan-Williams Loxon XP.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:55 AM   #8
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I am losing people here. I thought I heard this was just a vent stack of some sort and not a chimney? Why it is encased in such an elaborate thing that is falling apart is what escapes me? No matter I suppose, water is definitely getting into it from ground to above the roof. Worth repairing given the damage shown would be my question if the whole thing has hidden compromises? The whole thing could be rather flaky?

I say again, call a mason.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
Finally, someone else that refers to it as a saddle!


I'd suggest having the chimney re-lined, make sure water isn't coming in at the roofline, patch the larger cracks & missing plaster, & paint the entire chimney with a product similar to Sherwan-Williams Loxon XP.
Hmmm I like this idea. THx
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:38 AM   #10
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What does this vent? Chimney block were pretty common at one tine. A square block with a round hole through the center. They were not layed up with any kind of ceramic liner. They were usually set on a tab poured with the building footer. It appears that's what you have. When used as a chimney, the furnace kept them dried out pretty well. They are a little sketchy when used for a wood stove or fireplace, as the creosote/tar residue would build up inside them. Gas furnaces produce a lot of moisture, and the exhaust is also pretty corrosive and will attack the mortar joints from the inside. Any moisture that absorbs into the block, and cinder block are plenty porous, will be subject to freezing. That situation will blow off the parging on the outside, like your picture shows. The problem you have is that you can only repair the cracked joints on three sides, not the ones that face the sub-siding. Depending on what you use the chimney for, that could be a danger. Your best bet may be to repair the cracks and spalls and then have the thing lined. These block are no longer produced, for just that reason.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
What does this vent? Chimney block were pretty common at one tine. A square block with a round hole through the center. They were not layed up with any kind of ceramic liner. They were usually set on a tab poured with the building footer. It appears that's what you have. When used as a chimney, the furnace kept them dried out pretty well. They are a little sketchy when used for a wood stove or fireplace, as the creosote/tar residue would build up inside them. Gas furnaces produce a lot of moisture, and the exhaust is also pretty corrosive and will attack the mortar joints from the inside. Any moisture that absorbs into the block, and cinder block are plenty porous, will be subject to freezing. That situation will blow off the parging on the outside, like your picture shows. The problem you have is that you can only repair the cracked joints on three sides, not the ones that face the sub-siding. Depending on what you use the chimney for, that could be a danger. Your best bet may be to repair the cracks and spalls and then have the thing lined. These block are no longer produced, for just that reason.

Thanks for elaborating that point, that's exactly my thoughts.

Usually plain mortar was layed between the flue tiles (which I'm only assuming are actually inside) which resulted in such a thin joint that it eventually failed. Sometimes they would have used air-set refractory cement instead, which is the same material used inside of fireboxes. We now know years later that air-sets don't stand up to water/steam/vapor well at all. Often times, chimneys that held up to dry wood venting start to fail quickly when subjected to the cyclic, moist venting from gas furnaces. That shouldn't be too bad to have re-lined as you won't need the crazy-expensive bendable stainless liner.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:17 AM   #12
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Cracked Concrete Chimeny


Quote:
Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
Finally, someone else that refers to it as a saddle!
Jomama, I call it a saddle if this is what you mean. It sits astride the ridge.
Cracked Concrete Chimeny-phpr4lvkiam.jpg
Cricket to me is a game played for 5 days, normally ending in a draw, or an insect providing the background noise for a Hollywood movie.
BTW, were you thinking of a perlite concrete liner?
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart45 View Post
Jomama, I call it a saddle if this is what you mean. It sits astride the ridge.
Attachment 17004
Cricket to me is a game played for 5 days, normally ending in a draw, or an insect providing the background noise for a Hollywood movie.
BTW, were you thinking of a perlite concrete liner?



I've used perlite, but never heard of that kind of liner. Around here, it's simply stainless steel thin wall pipe.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:39 PM   #14
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http://www.phoenixchimneys.co.uk/?Ca...Chimney_Lining

This system has been used for over 30 years here and works well.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart45 View Post
http://www.phoenixchimneys.co.uk/?Ca...Chimney_Lining

This system has been used for over 30 years here and works well.

Very interesting system there Stu. I've never seen that before. As Europeons, I think you have far more faith in older, proven technology, such as good old masonry construction. Here, people seem far more concerned with the speed & price, not so much longevity.

BTW, what would you venture to guess that mix of perlite to portland is? 6:1?

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