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Old 10-11-2010, 09:15 PM   #1
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Stone chimney needs major help.


I have a stone chimney that has just been neglected for years(not by me, previous owners). It is not functional anyway because the fireplace has been filled in. So its only cosmetic. There is nearly zero mortar in between alot of blocks and a few blocks are even missing. Does it look like something that can be "fixed" or does it need to come down and start over?
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:28 PM   #2
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OUCH ! if you're in love w/it, tear down & replace/repair,,, if its only a beat-up old chimney, i'd take it down from the top but you already guessed that, right ?.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:07 AM   #3
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A prime example of what happens when you tuckpoint with a hard mortar over a soft one. That is a tear down and redo at this point.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:41 AM   #4
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Whats the difference between hard and soft mortar in this situation?? I openly admit I have no knowledge or experience with stonework. So everyone thinks it needs to come down?? Like I said its just there for looks now. What will likely be behind it if I remove it? Is this something that can be tackled on my own? again as a non functioning unit? Thanks for the advice so far.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #5
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I can't tell how old it is, but my guess would be before 1920. The mortar it was laid with was composed mostly of lime as cement. It is a soft, breathable mortar. The areas of surface mortar remaining are undoubtably portland cement based. That is a hard, non-breathable mortar.

Any moisture that penetrates (and it will penetrate), will sit in the old soft mortar and destroy it. It then washes out, leaving what you have.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:51 AM   #6
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From the last picture, there doeesn't appear to be any substantial backing to the chimney. It needs further investigation by a pro, and more than likely, complete tear-down. Wether it's worth buildign again is up to you, as it's going to be time consuming to say the least.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:04 AM   #7
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Thanks guys. It was built in 32.
Jomama what do you mean by backing ?

I was afraid this was going to be a tear down situation.

Any advice on what might be behind the chimney. Is is wiser to rebuild or just eliminate it? I mean I like the look it gives but thats all is is. Is this a reasonable task to tackle without masonry background? I have done alot and am confident in my abilities to do alot I just have never really done any masonry type work.

Thanks again for the advice
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:28 AM   #8
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There is not enough backing mortar to tuckpoint it, so it has to be torn down and relaid.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:59 PM   #9
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Tscarborough.....do you think this something one with building experience but not stone experience could handle with alot of research ??
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:31 PM   #10
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You could certainly do it, but it is dangerous and a lot of hard work. You have to scaffold to the top and take it down stone by stone from the top, and hope that it doesn't fall down while you are working on it and take out the scaffolding and you.

The only thing holding that up is habit.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:11 PM   #11
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Yeah I hear what you are saying. Its not gonna be fun. I am worried if I let it sit another winter it may just take itself down.

Being that it is totally non functional could I rebuild it more like a wall to keep the look? I assume thats somewhat easier than an actual chimney?

I appreciate it.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:05 PM   #12
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I just want to make sure I am giving you guys all the info. Not the whole thing looks like this, there are areas that look much better. I assume that makes no difference but I just want to make sure. thanks again.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:47 PM   #13
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figuring its likely the same guys build it from the ground up, the areas that ' look better ' just haven't fallen apart yet & they seem to be on top its the BAD parts that're on the btm,,, unfortunately, the rip-it-down advice still holds water since you do like the ' look ' against your home, why not consider having a block column built & then face it w/stone ?

be CAREFUL, fergawdsake, tho,,, wearing a chimney is VERY uncomfortable,,, even scaffolding must be placed outside the fall line to be safe,,, work w/safety harness, tug strap, & lifeline IF you're planning to diy
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by organick View Post
Yeah I hear what you are saying. Its not gonna be fun. I am worried if I let it sit another winter it may just take itself down.

Being that it is totally non functional could I rebuild it more like a wall to keep the look? I assume thats somewhat easier than an actual chimney?

I appreciate it.
Yes, you could build it as a simple 5-6" deep veneer rather than a 3 sided chimney. It would certainly be a simpler task, but the biggest problem would be how to terminate it at the top to make it look like a functioning chimney.

I'm not one for scare tactics, but I'll say this much from the limited pics: I wouldn't personally let my kids play anywhere near that chimney.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:52 AM   #15
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Thank you guys once again.

TS when you say the fall line...can I assume if the chimney is 10 ft tall than I need to be back ten feet or is it more of a crumble fall?? Just trying to grasp your advice a little better. Is there a basic strategy to start the tear down besides obviously from the top( although I could just pull a few from the bottom and watch it fall on its own..kidding).

I will have a few different issues with the rebuild in that its already been removed above the roof line but the soffit and facia are built around it so I need the new one to be the same width and it could only lose maybe 6 inches in depth.

Is the block column strategy an easier approach??
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