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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, my house was built in 1921. It's been a rental, was foreclosed and "fixed up" by a real estate agent from whom I bought it. This "fixing up" process involved a heavy layer of white paint, which is a little bit of a side story... all windows were painted shut (I've subsequently replaced the windows) and the brick fireplace facia was painted... I mostly bring this up to illustrate the state of the house, it doesn't actually relate directly to my question.

It was noted in my inspection that the firebox mortar would need repair. Since I'm between jobs, I've got the time to work on that and I started cleaning up the area with a shop vac to get ready to work on that. I opened the damper and saw a lot of bird nest material, which I've cleaned out. When I pulled it all down, there was about enough to fill the firebox about halfway full.

Now I'm left with the firebox to deal with. 2 bricks towards the top were loose, and mortar around them was crumbling. Mortar joints are as in the picture.

Material I have on hand to work with are 4 tubes of Rutland gray fireplace mortar.

MY questions are about whether I can use this for the 2 bricks that need to be completely mortared, or do I need to buy something else for that?

And if I need to buy something else, I've thought in my mind that if time, money and skill were available in infinite supply, the whole thing probably ought to be rebuilt because if some of the mortar is bad enough that 2 bricks are loose, and most of the joints have gaps like pictured, most of the mortar might be suspect... Is repointing what is there going to work, or is there a substantial risk in keeping what existing mortar is in there?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay. But as I was afraid, the 4 tubes weren't enough. I got the walls pointed and 1 brick set and will need to get more to finish setting the last brick.
 

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First thing I would do is install some kind of rain-cap/screen at the top of your flue to prohibit the same or next generation of birds from stuffing your flue again. [ck your local codes if applicable].

Next, I have never built or rebuilt a fireplace, but I have retrofitted many farm buildings and built-out a 785sf addition to main house along w a new 1100 sqft L-shaped wrap-around covered porch. New builds are easy bc everything is new except where you attach. Re-builds and retrofits are a matter of philosophy, application usage, cost and time available [as well as more time needed in future to fix again if I use something a lot and quick-fixed it earlier].

Here's a major question, are you wanting to use the fireplace or just fix it and make it look better? If the latter, then just set the two bricks. If you want to use it, then I would determine how many other bricks are loose and unstable? Also, do you know when the fire place was last used?

My philosophy is if you are going to do something [and it has a health and safety factor], I personally get it all done at once and be done w it.

Regards,
tstex
 
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