Chimney Tuckpointing - Keeping New Mortar In Good Condition

Posted on: 15 October 2014

If you own an older home that has an outdoor chimney, then you may notice the mortar that holds the bricks in place breaking apart over time. When this mortar disintegrates completely, then your chimney can fall apart. This means that a repair must be made in a timely manner. Tuckpointing is your best option, because this involves replacing the chimney mortar. Otherwise the structure needs to be completely rebuilt. Masonry contractors can complete the tuckpointing for you. You need to make sure that the mortar stays in great shape afterwards, so follow the tips listed below.

Clean Carefully

Your outdoor chimney mortar can build with a great deal of dirt and debris. This debris can wear away at your new mortar after tuckpointing is completed. You can prevent this from occurring by making sure that the mortar is kept clean. Every several months, inspect your outside chimney and use a wire brush to scrub away any debris.

If the dirt does not come loose, then use a small amount of dish soap to help with the cleaning. This soap has a pH between 7 and 8, and this means that is it more neutral. This will keep chemicals from eating away at the mortar. If you decide to use a different household cleaner on the mortar, make sure to stay away from bleach, ammonia, tile cleaners, and other strong chemicals. These substances have pH values that are too high or low.

Use the Right Acids

If you find that the mortar in between the bricks of your chimney is completely stained, then you can use a stronger cleaner on the material. Acids can work well to remove calcium build ups and other debris that has stained the mortar.  

Only a few acids are truly safe, though, and phosphoric acid is one of these materials. Phosphoric acid is a substance that is used to remove rust from surfaces, and it is also an additive in sodas and other foods. The acid can be found in anti-nausea medication, and it is also placed in masonry cleaning products. Phosphoric acid is gentle, and it can remove most mortar stains. Use a clean rag to apply the acid to your mortar and use water to rinse your chimney afterwards.

If you look for masonry cleaners at your local home store, you may find a product that contains muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is the same as hydrochloric acid. The material will remove mortar stains, but the acid is too strong. This means that you may damage your chimney when you clean it, so stay away from it.

Keep Your Soil Dry

Chimney mortar can crack over time, and this is often due to the way that chimney shifts and moves around the base of the structure. This movement can occur when the soil becomes congested with water and then dries out. Wet soil allows your chimney to sink slightly into the earth, and the structure returns to its normal position when the soil dries. You can prevent this by making sure that your soil does not become drenched.

Install a Downspout Extender

The soil around your home might become wet if you allow your gutters to release water too close to your home. The water can then seep into the soil around your chimney. It is best to make sure that rainwater from your roof is deposited between about 5 and 15 feet from your hose. You can ensure this by placing a downspout extender on the end of your gutter.

You can purchase an inexpensive plastic sleeve device that will extend you gutter, just make sure that you purchase the longest sleeve you can so that water does not drain near your house. You can also attach another long and straight downspout to the end of the spout you already have. This is likely the best option, because sleeves and other extender devices can detach.

Purchase a new aluminum downspout that is the same color as your current downspout. Place a small amount of silicone caulk on the inside of your old gutter piece and then slip the new downspout inside it. If you want to secure the seam, place a single layer of duct tape around the exterior of the extension piece.

The degraded mortar that sits on the outside of your chimney must be repaired if you do not want to replace your chimney. The tuckpointing must be properly protected after it is secured, and the tips above are good options to keep new mortar damage to a minimum. For more tips about keeping your chimney in good condition, contact a company like AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing.