Chimney Tuckpointing Guide: Process & Benefits

One of the maintenance actions performed on chimneys is tuckpointing.

This action seeks to replace deteriorated or worn out mortar. Not only will this action improve a chimney’s structural integrity, but it also enhances its appearance. We’ll be discussing extensively on chimney tuckpointing.

The process, as well as materials used, will be discussed as well. Is this a DIY project? You’ll need to stick around to find out. So, without further ado, let’s begin our discussion.

What Is Chimney Tuckpointing?

Tuckpointing is a maintenance procedure that seeks to improve the visual appeal of a chimney. In other words, this process is largely performed as a cosmetic or decorative procedure. It’s performed with two types of mortar.

One of these mortars is dyed to resemble the brick color while the other isn’t. What this seeks to achieve is to make the brickwork joints appear thin.

Why so? It’s visually appealing and appears similar to rubbed brick style which was popular in the 18th century.

Are Chimney Tuckpointing and Repointing the Same?

A lot of times, the terms tuckpointing and repointing are used interchangeably.

As such, it’s only natural to ask if both of these terms mean the same thing. The answer is no! The process looks similar but the aims are different.

Unlike tuckpointing, chimney repointing is considered more of a utility repair. Here, damaged brick joints are fixed by clearing out the weak and porous mortar and replacing it with a fresh mortar supply.

This is done to reinforce or strengthen the structure rather than visual appeal.

As long as chimney bricks remain undamaged, repointing will ensure they stay in position. Plus, it eliminates the problem of moisture absorption.

Is Chimney Tuckpointing A DIY Project?

A lot of homeowners will want to be involved in the improvement of their chimney’s look and feel. While this is a natural craving, the truth is, you’d do well to allow a professional to carry out this process.

Chimney sweeps or technicians are skilled in the art of tuckpointing.

Plus, their years of experience make them the right persons to call for the job. You shouldn’t be in a haste to carry out the procedure yourself as the DIY approach may not give the desired result.

This isn’t to prevent you from adopting a DIY approach to tuckpointing. Rather, it’s to provide tips on how best to proceed.

Chimney tuckpointing isn’t an easy job. It’s quite stressful and will need someone with the skill and resilience necessary to complete the process.

You might want to consider this before proceeding with a DIY process.

The Tuckpointing Process

Irrespective of where your interest lies in matters relating to tuckpointing, it’s important to know the process. This idea helps you gain a wider and better understanding of the whole process.

There are several steps involved that include:

  • Clearing Up Existing Mortar Joints

The area to be worked or tuckpointed needs to be cleared up. Such clearing involves the removal of existing mortar joints. A mason will have all the tools necessary.

However, if you’re to perform this task yourself, consider using an angle grinder. Clearance should be restricted to about 1-inch depth.

  • Cleaning the Area

Having removed or cleared up mortar joints. The area will need to be cleaned. To begin, use a high-pressure nozzle or brush to clean up the target area in readiness for mortar application.

  • Dyeing your Mortar

Your mortar needs to be prepared or mixed. The brick color is taken into consideration when mixing the mortar.

A matching dye is applied to such mortar and mixed. You’ll need to take note of the color used as well as the proportion of dye applied to a quantity of mortar. This helps with subsequent batches.

  • Filling the Joints

In order not to make a mess of the process, carefully fill the brick joints starting with horizontal joints. An experienced mason will breeze through this process without delay.

However, for an inexperienced hand, caution is needed to start and complete the process successfully.

  • The Mortar Surface should be Made Smooth

With the mortar in place, the surface will need to be made smooth to flush with the brick surface. An appropriate tool such as a trowel is necessary. This isn’t the end though as two more steps need to be followed.

  • Scrape Straight Lines

Having leveled and smoothed the mortar surface, you’ll need to wait a bit for such mortar to harden a little. Such mortar mustn’t harden completely. It should be soft enough to allow for scraping.

Thin and straight lines are drawn at the middle of all newly filled joints.

  • Apply Lime Putty

Putty lime is then applied within the lines scraped off the newly filled joints. This gives a thin appearance of mortar across your chimney surface, thus enhancing its look.

Tuckpointing Isn’t a Decorative Process Alone

If you’ve read to this point, you’ll understand that tuckpointing serves two major purposes. It helps with maintenance by filling up brick joints and also enhancing its visual appeal.

With tuckpointing, your chimney brick joints are reinforced, thus strengthening the whole structure.

Is it Necessary?

Chimney construction requires basic materials; bricks and mortar. Of these two, bricks outlast the mortar and can remain strong for about a century. The case is different for mortar as they only last a couple of decades.

This is where repointing comes in handy.

Chimney repointing is an important procedure whose necessity cannot be overstated. So, while carrying out repointing, you’re improving the look of your chimney while also adding to its overall strength.

Chimney tuckpointing is one maintenance action that’s key to strengthening a chimney while improving its look. We’ve also provided answers to reasons why tuckpointing is mistaken for repointing with key differences provided.

So, do you need tuckpointing performed on your chimney? You decide!

The information provided here has highlighted the nature of the process and how to proceed. However, we recommend hiring an experienced chimney mason to help guarantee a satisfactory job. Now you know!

Here is the average cost of most tuckpointing jobs.

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1 thought on “Chimney Tuckpointing Guide: Process & Benefits”

  1. It’s interesting that cleaning the chimney can help in preventing fires. I never would have thought that this was something that you could prevent by just cleaning the chimney. It’s something that we’ll definitely get done so that we can keep our chimney in good condition and our house safe.

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