How To Repair Your Crumbling Chimney

Posted on: 17 March 2016

Really old chimneys frequently have issues with crumbling and flaking mortar. Either acid rain or age causes the mortar to deteriorate, and then it does not take much more than a strong wind or the sonic boom of thunder to shake a few bricks loose. If you are currently experiencing problems with loose bricks and/or a crumbling chimney, here is how you can repair it yourself.

Buy Supplies to Repair the Chimney

You will need some supplies to fix the chimney. A mason's trowel, a five-gallon construction bucket for mixing quick-drying cement and a few fresh bricks just in case you cannot re-use the old ones are the best supplies to start with. You will also need a sturdy ladder if the crumbling section of your chimney is on your roof. If your roof is especially steep, you will need a way to secure yourself while on the roof so that you do not fall. (Do NOT attempt to tie yourself to the base of the crumbling chimney! If some bricks are falling off of it, there is probably a good chance that other parts of the chimney are equally unstable and unpredictable, and your body weight could yank the chimney down after you.)

Mix Your Quick-Drying Concrete/Mortar and Prepare to Climb

Mix your quick-drying concrete or mortar in the five-gallon pail you bought. DO NOT fill it to the top--only fill it halfway since it will already be heavy to carry up. When it is thick and pasty, get ready to climb your ladder. You may want to tie a long rope around the handle of the pail and secure the lid of the pail so none of the mixture spills when you use the rope to pull the pail up. Now, climb your ladder with the end of the rope from the pail in one hand and what you bought to secure yourself to the roof in the other hand.

Secure Yourself, Pull Up the Concrete/Mortar and Begin Bricklaying

Once you have secured yourself to the roof with a safety harness or some other safety device, pull up the bucket of mortar or concrete. If you can, straddle the roof ridge closest to the crumbling chimney. Pick up whatever bricks are lying about and try to figure out where they came out of the chimney. Then slather the bottom and sides of the brick with mortar before reinserting it into the hole where it came from. If there is already a brick in place above it, be sure to slather the top of the brick with mortar before you put the brick back in place. Repeat the process until all of the bricks are back where they should be. Note where there are cracks or missing bits of old mortar and slather some fresh mortar onto and into these areas. Now your chimney should hold together again for a while longer.

If you feel uncomfortable attempting this job yourself, contact professionals from a company like Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service to do the job for you.