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Repointing (Mortar Repair)
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Cracks, Settlement & Leaks
Deteriorated Masonry
Masonry Cleaning & Paint Stripping
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Chimney Problems
Changing the Color of Masonry
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Western US Office
Salt Lake City, Utah
(801) 505-4977

Eastern US Office
Boston, Massachusetts
(781) 488-3088

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Our Consultation Services Give You the Expertise Necessary to Limit Your Risk

Expert Assessments of
Historic Masonry
Buildings

Developing
Comprehensive Scopes of
Work Based on Project
Objectives and Available
Financial Resources

Writing or Reviewing
Specifications

Providing Cost Estimates
for Budgeting and Planning
Purposes

Eliminating Costly
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Recommending the Best
Masonry Materials and
Restoration Products

   

As shown above left, chimneys can be unsightly and dangerous if allowed to deteriorate. If repaired using the wrong materials and techniques, the rate of deterioration can even be faster than before it was repaired.

An improperly repaired chimney can be unsafe, even short-lived. Not to mention ugly. Forget that poorly repaired chimneys or fireboxes can emit dangerous gases. Forget that using the wrong mortar can cause chimney masonry to deteriorate or come loose. And forget that loosened stone or brick can fall onto cars, neighbors, visitors or you. Forget all that if you like, but no one can ignore an ugly chimney. We’re experts at firebox and chimney repair. We make any chimney not only operate safely, but endure and look incredible too.

 
 

 



This chimney has loose masonry and could cause damage or injury.




Because of their high exposure to the elements, chimneys are prone to deteriorate and should be periodically inspected and repaired as needed.

 

   


Frequently Asked Questions
about Chimney Problems:

Question: Why should I be concerned about maintainng/repairing my chimney?

Answer: A chimney or firebox left unrepaired can:

  • Release dangerous, toxic, and unhealthy gases into your building.

  • Allow flames and sparks to escape and come in contact with potentially combustible materials in your building. It is a real fire hazard.

  • Allow loose masonry materials to fall and potentially cause damage to property or people.

Several of these dangers often work simultaneously. The best way to identify the dangers of chimney problems is to call on the expertise of an experienced and trained professional who has a keen understanding of masonry materials science. Only after causes and effects have been determined can the most appropriate and enduring intervention method be recommended. Contact us in this regard.

Question: Why are chimneys so prone to deteriorate?

Answer: Unlike masonry walls, chimneys are exposed to the effects of wind, snow, ice, and rain from five surfaces - the four sides of the chimney and the top. They are therefore subject to a continuous war of expansion and contraction due to the chimney masonry being heated by hot gases from the fire, and the cold, wet outdoor temperatures. This repetitive expansion and contraction creates a lot of movement, and consequently deterioration.

 
 



The chimney crown is the concrete piece between the two flues and the brick. Notice the crack in the crown.




Because this chimney crown was improperly designed, it cracked and failed, allowing water to enter the chimney masonry below.

 

   

Question: What are the main things I can do to prevent my chimney from deteriorating?

Answer:

  • Make sure your chimney crown (the "roof" of your chimney) is constructed of the correct materials and is designed to function correctly. If it is cracked or deteriorated, make sure the correct decision is made to repair it or remove and replace it with a new crown.

  • If the mortar joints in your firebox or on your chimney need repairing (repointing), it is critical that the correct mortar mix is used. This mix should be designed designed and customized by a licensed, insured, knowledgeable, and experienced chimney mason. Most chimneys require a specific custom mortar mix that works in cooperation with the masonry units. (See Mortar Repair.) This will assure you that all masonry materials used are compatible with each other, and look good, too.

  • Because of the severe exposure your chimney is subjected to, it will likely benefit from an application of an appropriate penetrating and breathable water repellent. Water repellents should be applied only after all necessary repairs are made to the chimney. Otherwise, applying the water repellent will likely accelerate the deterioration of your chimney rather than slow it. Not all "sealers" or water repellents are the same! Some actually accelerate deterioration instead of assisting in preventing it! Be very careful when selecting a water repellent. (See Water Repellents.)

  • Have your chimney inspected periodically by a licensed, insured, knowledgeable, and experienced chimney mason. Small problems fixed early will save a lot of money in the future. Once a chimney begins to deteriorate, that deterioration grows rapidly if left unrepaired.

Question: My chimney(s) are very difficult to access. How can they be safely accessed in order to do the repairs?

Answer: Any experienced and dedicated chimney mason should be fully equipped with a wide variety of equipment to safely access any chimney. Accessing the chimney should be done without causing damage to the roof. Typically, an aerial man lift (cherry picker), specialty scaffolding, or custom-made roof brackets are used.

 
       
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



A leaning chimney portends disaster. Contact us now!

   

Question: Who should repair my chimney or firebox?

Answer: Your options are:

  • A "handyman."
  • A chimney sweep.
  • An expert chimney mason.

Because of the issues detailed above, your best option is always an expert chimney mason if you want your chimney to be repaired correctly. Handymen and chimney sweeps are very good at handyman work and cleaning the insides of chimneys, but are usually not licensed, experienced masons. Neither do they work with masonry materials day in and day out. Just as you should not have an expert chimney mason sweep the inside of your chimney, neither should you have a chimney sweep or handyman repair your chimney.

Question: What if my chimney is leaning?

Answer: Contact us now!


Chimney problems are too important to leave to a novice. Abstract Masonry Restoration is well-qualified, experienced, and ready to take care of your chimney problems. Contact us to do the job right.

 
           
       
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