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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

What is repointing?

Masonry chimneys are constructed using special techniques and materials that ensure they will be able to withstand a lot. Your chimney is exposed to moisture, extreme temperature swings, and corrosive gases on a regular basis. Because of this, years and years of constant use will eventually begin to have an effect on the chimney. This is especially true for your mortar joints, the cement-like substance that holds your masonry brickwork together.

When your mortar joints start to crumble and pop out of place, we at Old Smokey’s use a technique called repointing to get your masonry looking and functioning like new again. We have been in business for nearly 40 years, so you know that our masons offer the best service with the most experience in northern Indiana, northern Ohio, and mid-Michigan area.

What is the mortar?

When you inspect your brick or stone masonry, mortar is the white, cement-like substance that lies between your bricks or stones. Mortar is important to the health of your masonry because it acts as the glue that holds your bricks and stone together. Without it, your masonry fireplace would just be a pile of bricks and likely to topple over.

What causes mortar to degrade?

There are many things that can cause mortar damage. Poor construction, old age, and general wear and tear are sometimes the culprits. However, more often, mortar damage can be traced back to issues related to exposure to moisture. When it rains or snows, moisture can settle on your masonry and seep into tiny pores in the mortar. Moisture can then accumulate and pool inside the mortar, gradually eroding and weakening it. If that moisture freezes, it will expand quickly, hastening the speed at which your mortar degrades.

If you notice that your mortar is starting to crumble or pop out of place, it needs to be inspected and repaired soon with a procedure called repointing. Repointing is done by carefully grinding away old mortar joints and refilling it between your bricks. This restrengthens the bonds between your brickwork, protects your masonry from moisture while giving your masonry a new look.

Let the professionals at Old Smokey’s help.

Repointing is a delicate and painstaking procedure. That’s why it is important to leave it to a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified professional. Only a CSIA certified mason will know how to remove old mortar correctly and replace it. At Old Smokey’s, our CSIA certified masons will also be able to match your mortar perfectly with your current masonry mortar, making your masonry look as good as new.

If your mortar is looking a little worse for wear, call us at 260-424-0009 or schedule an appointment online today!

Now is the Best Time to Get Ahead on Chimney Repairs!

It’s officially summer, so your fireplace and chimney is the last thing on your mind. However, now is exactly the time you should be thinking about masonry inspections and repairs. In just three or four quick months, it will be time to cozy up by your fireplace again. Will your fireplace be ready to operate when you need it? Old Smokey’s can help you get a jump on your fireplace maintenance needs by scheduling a chimney inspection this summer!

The Offseason is Also Tough on Your Chimney

Your chimney may have been running perfectly at the end of the winter, but your chimney’s health could have been compromised since it’s last use. Springtime brings rainy weather, meaning now is a great time to see if there are any leaks in your masonry. Leaky masonry can lead to larger problems including crumbling bricks and weakened mortar joints. If moisture seeps into your masonry, it can freeze when it becomes cold out and shatter bricks from the inside out. It is best to get ahead of masonry problems before they grow to larger problems.

Get Ahead of the Busy Time

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both suggest annual chimney and fireplace inspections.  Summer is a great time to schedule your annual chimney and masonry inspection because we can schedule you in before our fall and winter rush. During the colder months, chimney sweeps are incredibly busy performing inspections and repairs. Therefore, it may be harder for us to schedule a meeting time that fits your schedule. However, if you schedule an inspection in the summer, we are a little more flexible with our schedule and can easily fit you into a time-slot that works for you. Remember, chimney inspections should only be carried out by a CSIA-certified chimney technician, like the ones at Old Smokey’s. Only a certified chimney technician has the training and knowledge to safely and effectively inspect your chimney masonry.

Extra Time for Repairs

Sometimes during a chimney masonry inspection, we will find an issue that requires some repair. Masonry issues can sometimes take a while to repair. This can be frustrating in fall and winter when you want to use your chimney. However, if issues with your chimney are found in the summer, we can usually schedule to have it fixed before you need to use it.

At Old Smokey’s, we like to get ahead of housing projects before they sneak up on us. If you’re like us, you’ll also want to get ahead of the game and schedule your chimney masonry inspection before our busy season. Call one of our CSIA certified chimney inspectors at 260-424-0009 or schedule an appointment online today!

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