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NFT: Chimney Repairs Estimate

Young Elijah : 1/2/2019 10:57 am
Bought a home that had structural issues that were repaired, but the residual effects are causing me a headache. I have a chimney with tons of small cracks that allow rainfall to leak down into the home and bring the creosote back down. So its been 3 years since we moved, so within the first year, I had the chimney professionally cleaned, new crown, roofing around the chimney, and spray sealed. Which either didnt work or barely lasted so the problem persists and is getting worse.

Note: We havent used the fireplace since the repairs - ~2 years ago.

I am fielding estimates now, but was hoping to get any advice from those familiar.

The estimate I received so far was for a new crown (how often is this required to be updated - couldn't find anything solid on google) and a hand-rolled on sealant - $1,500 all in.

Let me know if you think this will solve the problem and/or if that's a reasonable price range.
What kind of chimney siding is it  
UConn4523 : 1/2/2019 10:59 am : link
?
Brick  
Young Elijah : 1/2/2019 11:32 am : link
.
if you have rain bringing down creosote  
oghwga : 1/2/2019 11:39 am : link
and you have a cap then rain is finding its way through the brick and then through the clay flue liner which should be impervious to water (or it would allow smoke and heat to escape into your walls.)

Find a better mason. Maybe convert it to gas and drop in a steel liner.
Did they suggest a new liner?  
pjcas18 : 1/2/2019 11:43 am : link
I'd get a second opinion, in my experience chimney guys are like some mechanics, they know you don't know jack shit about what they're dealing with so they can tell you anything.

I'd also be pissed you need crown work again within 3 years, hopefully it's not the same contractor.

I am far from an expert, but what they are suggesting sounds like a band-aid, and while a chimney liner is far more expensive might be a better long-term solution.

When I bought my house it needed chimney work, and I had 3 estimates. One guy told me basically this chimney can fall in, literally crash under it's own weight, at any time. You need it replaced.

the other two were more believable. I had the crown repaired, a new cap installed, and cleaning, 8 years later I use the fireplace often and have had no issues.

and by the way after the guy cleaned it he told me don't listen to the people who say you need it cleaned out every year - my fire place has one of those chutes under it where I sweep the ash - the guy said I could have a fire every night for 5 years and not come close to filling the area where the chute empties.

He comes back every few years and cleans it because I trust him.
This is an easy repair that you can do yourself...  
EricJ : 1/2/2019 11:45 am : link
if there are cracks in the brick or mortar, just fix it. So easy. Plus, you can buy the mortar in a caulking tube now.
I would put in a liner for the chimney  
loafin : 1/2/2019 12:06 pm : link
Most likely the rain is penetrating through the brick and the clay inner liner. Install a new liner and damper and your problem is solved.
RE: This is an easy repair that you can do yourself...  
Ryan : 1/2/2019 1:02 pm : link
In comment 14244155 EricJ said:
Quote:
if there are cracks in the brick or mortar, just fix it. So easy. Plus, you can buy the mortar in a caulking tube now.


This is absolutely atrocious advice.
yeah  
UConn4523 : 1/2/2019 1:10 pm : link
don't do chimney work yourself. You just said you don't even know where the leak is coming from. Just to inspect it you need a ladder and should be tied off. To do the repairs required youd likely need a safe scaffolding.

This is one of those home projects that's best left to a professional. Its unsafe work, and you can do more damage if you aren't careful.

I had major chimney issues with the stucco. Once guy patched it after someone wanted $8k because it was going to "cave in". Get 3 or 4 opinions, don't be bullied into redoing a ton of unnecessary work.
This not something  
Bubba : 1/2/2019 1:15 pm : link
to take lightly. You run the risk of CO2 entering the house to burning the house down. You may want to contact a licensed inspector to get an opinion as well. Your town may require a permit to have the work done which would require a town inspection anyway.
Thanks All  
Young Elijah : 1/2/2019 1:33 pm : link
fair points, will ask about the liner in future estimates.

Regarding the creosote - we had the chimney chemically cleaned twice, so while the rain brings down some brown stuff, it doesnt smell (like it used to), so I dont think its overly serious. I should also note, this happens during really heavy periods of rain, not just any short stint of drizzle.
Repaired ours after Sandy...  
trueblueinpw : 1/2/2019 2:19 pm : link
Sandy knocked off the top of our chimney so we had the top eight or nine feet rebuilt and much of the entire chimney repointed. They put in a liner, one for the fireplace and one for the furnace heat / hot water, also new cap. After the repair the fireplace is like ten times as hot, works great. The cost was around 3k, and we got three estimates from three companies with references. These guys werenít the cheapest but they were all around the same price. No idea where youíre located, Iím in Nassau on LI, the company was Mr Chimney and they were great.
Keep in mind  
idiotsavant : 1/2/2019 3:07 pm : link
Cracks may end up letting ice in. Water expands when it freezes. The chimney is heavy....it's no joke what the one pro told you.

Adding mortar isn't a bad idea in the short term, forget how it looks, ...prevent further expansion.

This- But also consult a professional mason.
RE: RE: This is an easy repair that you can do yourself...  
EricJ : 1/2/2019 3:09 pm : link
In comment 14244364 Ryan said:
Quote:
In comment 14244155 EricJ said:


Quote:


if there are cracks in the brick or mortar, just fix it. So easy. Plus, you can buy the mortar in a caulking tube now.



This is absolutely atrocious advice.


you dont know what you are talking about. He said the chimney has SMALL cracks. The advice I gave to him is spot on. Go ahead and pay someone 1500 to do the same patch work
RE: This not something  
EricJ : 1/2/2019 3:11 pm : link
In comment 14244379 Bubba said:
Quote:
to take lightly. You run the risk of CO2 entering the house to burning the house down. You may want to contact a licensed inspector to get an opinion as well. Your town may require a permit to have the work done which would require a town inspection anyway.


The chimney liner and the exterior brick and mortar are two different things.
he said "tons of small cracks"  
UConn4523 : 1/2/2019 3:14 pm : link
and unless he got up there and inspected it from a foot away instead of from the ground, i'm guessing there's more damage than just some cracks.

Your advice isn't great because its not as simple as you make it sound. Patching a chimney is dangerous, first and foremost, which is why its expensive. You usually need scaffolding, unless you are cool with hauling up a bucket of mortar on a ladder.

Seems absolutely foolish and stupid to buy a house and then fret over $1500 while also risking breaking your neck or making the problem worse.
Guys - Thanks for the input  
Young Elijah : 1/2/2019 3:40 pm : link
I am reasonably handy (take care of 90% of things around my house) and there is no way I am getting on a ladder to do this work. Its just not in my arsenal of tools/skill.

Appreciate the thought, I am fairly frugal also, but its too far outside of my scope to make it worth the risk and time.

Regarding the work itself. The cracks are what the initial estimate noted - assuming the chimney is structurally sound, are we all in agreement that a liner would:

A. Prevent the leaking? (Assuming the water would still permeate but not come into the house being it would be on the outside of the liner)

B. Allow me to use my fireplace safely.

C. Not require regular maintenance to repair/repeat such as the sealing would (I believe every 3-5 years). I know the crown and cap are still required, but I am talking just about the cracks around the brick.
RE: RE: RE: This is an easy repair that you can do yourself...  
Ryan : 1/2/2019 5:09 pm : link
In comment 14244658 EricJ said:
Quote:
In comment 14244364 Ryan said:


Quote:


In comment 14244155 EricJ said:


Quote:


if there are cracks in the brick or mortar, just fix it. So easy. Plus, you can buy the mortar in a caulking tube now.



This is absolutely atrocious advice.



you dont know what you are talking about. He said the chimney has SMALL cracks. The advice I gave to him is spot on. Go ahead and pay someone 1500 to do the same patch work


The license hanging on my wall says otherwise. "Tons of small cracks" creating a progressing situation of water infiltration on a chimney of a home that has had established structural issues, as well as signs of potential damage to the interior component of the chimney system, are not something I'd ever advise a homeowner to remedy by running around on the roof like a dipshit with a sausage tube playing whack a mole with cracks (which may not even be the full extent of the problem).

Most homeowners wouldn't be able to accurately identify sources of water infiltration in the finish masonry let alone have the means locate and evaluate the extent of the damage to a liner if present.

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