Tuckpointing or Repointing: Which One Does Your Chimney Need?
Chimney tuckpointing and repointing are services that are performed quite often throughout New Jersey and Connecticut. Although the two names sound similar, they describe different jobs. National Chimney Cleaners of Morris County, NJ, and Fairfield County, CT, would like to give you an overview of the differences between chimney tuckpointing and repointing.
Tuckpointing is a cosmetic project. It involves removing about an inch of old mortar between the chimney bricks, filling the space with new mortar that’s the same color as the bricks, and then adding lighter-colored “lime putty” in the v-grooves. The purpose of tuckpointing is to restore the original beauty and uniformity of your chimney’s masonry. This process dates back to 18th-century England.
Often casually referred to as “tuckpointing,” repointing has a very different focus and outcome. In a repointing project, your chimney technician works to remove decayed and crumbling mortar joints that could lead to very serious chimney problems if ignored.
The most common reasons for damaged mortar joints include:
- Poor workmanship in building the chimney
- An inferior mortar compound used during construction
- Freeze-thaw cycles, where water penetrates the mortar and then freezes and expands
Spotting damaged mortar and chimney leaks
While you should have your chimney inspected annually by a professional, you can keep an eye on it between inspections. Damaged mortar joints often lead to chimney leaks, so watch for:
- Crumbling mortar within the masonry
- Evidence of crumbling on the roof near the chimney
- Water dripping into the firebox
- Damp sections of walls or the ceiling near the chimney
- Musty odors coming from the fireplace, attic or crawlspaces
Keep in mind that these and other leaky chimney signs could be caused by problems other than mortar joint decay. But regardless of what causes them, if you spot them, call a professional to address the problem quickly.
Potential damage issues down the line
Most chimney problems start small and progress. This is definitely the case with decaying mortar within the masonry. Over time, water intrusion can damage interior areas of your chimney as well as the structure itself, leading to a chimney that leans to one side or collapses entirely.
The repointing process
To repoint a chimney, the technician uses specialized chisels to scrape away affected areas of mortar. He or she then applies a strong new mortar compound, making sure to press the compound in a way that removes air pockets.
The joints are then smoothed out with an expert touch to give them a handsome, uniform appearance as part of your overall chimney structure.
It’s advisable to have a chimney inspection performed at the time of repointing. This will determine if the compromised mortar joints have led to other issues that you may not be aware of.
Keeping your chimney beautiful, safe and efficient
New Jersey and Connecticut residents rely on National Chimney Cleaners to service, clean, repair and maintain their chimneys. Our experienced technicians understand every element of your chimney system and know exactly what’s needed to keep it looking good and operating with safety and efficiency.
If you live in Morris County, NJ, or Fairfield County, CT, and believe your chimney needs attention, we’re quick to respond. Reach a chimney expert today at (800) 631-6177 or get in touch through our handy contact form.