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  1. #1

    Default Parget coat old brick or re-build

    The brick chimney in our house is exposed in the basement. This is the area where I have our woodstove plumbed. It is an 80 yo dutch colonial. In the close vicinity to where I have the stove the brick face has started to dry up, erode, and powder. About 4 or 5 of the bricks are half gone while the rest of the brick is in good shape. It's getting messy but I dislike the structural direction I'm heading even less. Here's my question; Is the parget method of coating the whole area with mortar sufficient for repair, or should I just call the mason?

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    Do you have a SS liner in the chimney for your wood stove or is it the clay or some other type masonry liner inside the brick chimney? What is the interior size of the chimney and does it also service anything else (like a furnace or water heater)?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    Quote Originally Posted by titleist View Post
    Do you have a SS liner in the chimney for your wood stove or is it the clay or some other type masonry liner inside the brick chimney? What is the interior size of the chimney and does it also service anything else (like a furnace or water heater)?

    The liner is a clay type of sleeve that was inspected a few years ago when the mason re-built the chimney's exterior from the roof up. His opinion was that the integrity of the system was top notch. Of course that was prior to the spalding (sp?) in the chimney base, in the basement.

    I'm not sure of the interior size of the chimney, but did check the clean out for moisture-it was dry.

    No, it does not service anything else except for the 1st floor fireplace which we do not use.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    In a house that old chances are you may have locally or on the farm made brick. If it is the surface would be the only hard part. With this type of brick once the surface is broken the rest of the brick will crumble very easily. Because it's only 3 bricks I would suspect that they were damage, perhaps when something heavy was moved into or out of the basement, or when something fell over against the chimney.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    No one said the O P was on a farm or near a farm , that term "farm made" is local term used around my area to describe surface tempered brick which was made with similar characteristics of old on farm made brick, a lot that were made in brickworks due to improper firing but were sold as seconds. You are correct however it was 4 or 5 bricks.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    DW,
    I know that it is hard for someone so egotistical as yourself to even consider that there may be an option that you have not presented let alone acknowledge the posibility, and your total disdain for all us mere mortals. I therefore will bow to thy omnipotent self and pretend no builder has ever gotten or purchased seconds.

    Should I ask your permission to post any further opinions or advice or would prostrating myself in front of the computer and saying your divine name with all reverence be sufficient?
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    Thank you , your eminence.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  8. #8
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    Here are some ideas for you to consider and to have checked out on site. It is 99% impossible to accurately diagnose something like this via the web because of all variables involved. Some things will be unique to your stove/flue/chimney/wood/climate combination. (What part of the country are you located?)

    Moisture could cause the brick to crumble so you want to check for sources. Do you have a chimney cap that would keep out most of the rain? One thing to check is at the top of the chimney to see if there are any cracks between the clay liner and the brick. Do you have access to look at the chimney anywhere else in the house (such as in an attic space before it exits the roof) to check for evidence of moisture. Sometimes moisture will occur from condensation inside the chimney. This could be finding its way back down to the basement. Have you had the chimney cleaned recently to check for creosote build up? The reason I asked about the size of the flue is that a lot of fireplace chimneys are oversized for a woodstove and the exhaust does not have as strong a draft. The slower draft allows the exhaust to cool before it exits the chimney which results in the moisture and creosote. A lot of stoves spec a 6" or 7" flue size, what is the make / model of your stove and what is the size of its exhaust port? The species of wood you burn and how dry it is will also have an effect on moisture and creosote build up.

    If it is a draft issue it could be as "simple" a fix as placing a 6" double wall, insulated SS liner (if that is the size spec'ed for your stove)inside the existing chimney. It could also be more involved such as height of the chimney above your roof line, or the proximity of trees.

    Inferior brick could also be the issue, no way to tell that from here. You would have to have a local mason check this for you. Where are the 4 or 5 bricks that are breaking down in relation to the stove and thimble - how close in inches? A wood stove can throw off a lot of heat and the same for the flue pipe, depending on the type of brick, it may not like those temps. Some stoves are very good at recovering heat from exhaust before sending it out the flue and their stack temps are lower. But some are not so good at this and the stack temp ends up being very high.

    Like I said, next to impossible to accurately tell what is going on in your scenario, the best I can do is offer some ideas to have checked out on location. By the way, it is generally not a good idea to share a chimney. If you haven't already, you should try to make the fireplace damper airtight.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    Hmm, I'm not sure whom to respond to first so I'll just go off the top o' my head;

    a. I'm in Southern Wisconsin, south of Madison by 30 miles.

    b. I've never hired a chimney sweep or inspector. I've got the chimney brushes and have always done the scrubbing myself- every other year. Also burn the CLS "sweep" logs, as well as throw in an empty aluminum can to burn every now and again.

    c. The fireplace flu simply has been sealed with a lot of insulation batting I placed on top of it, from below, then shut the flu.

    d. The woodstove exhaust that feeds into the chimney is 6". I have a magnetic temp. gauge on the stove's exhaust plumb. which is for stoves; it tells me what burn temp is good. It's a Rutland Burn Indicator.

    e. Before I could check the clean-out for moisture I pulled (2) 5 gallon pails of creosote out, in the vicinity of where the spalding is/has been ocurring. (probably the source of where moisture was collecting?)

    f. I do have access to the chimney in the attic, but am pretty sure it's tight from roofline up re-build of said chimney in '05.

    g. I burn only wood that has been dried, or dead for at least 1year.

    h. What'd I forget?

    Thanks for your help so far!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Parget coat old brick or re-build

    Well the thing that I would focus on is that creosote build up. Two 5 gallon buckets is a lot. You didn't mention how close that was to the thimble. That is an indication the exhaust is cooling too much. Two things come to my mind that may cause this, either alone or together. The first is that the chimney is too large and a 6" insulated flue pipe could be run the length of the chimney and attached to the thimble. The second is the thermal mass of the brick chimney is cold prior to the fire heating it up and condensation and creosote form as a result of the hot exhaust before the brick comes up to temp. This temperature issue is why I suggested the insulated pipe in the first scenario. If you burn intermittently the brick may be getting too cold between fires.

    I also have the chimney brushes and clean my own chimney. I usually do it three times a year though. Once in the fall before starting up, so I can look for animal nests & debris. Once sometime in late January (about the halfway point of the burn season for us. Usually we get a couple temperate days so I can let the stove burn out and cool before cleaning. And once after the burn season to get the ash out of the pipe & stove so it doesn't sit in there all summer. I burn mostly coal so the ash I get is very fine and doesn't build up on the vertical sections very much, I might get 1/8" of powder. Most of my ash lays in the back of the stove and on the horizontal section of the elbow as it attached to the thimble. Our SS insulated chimney is 15 years old and in great shape. I have only had to replace the flue pipe between the stove and thimble once in the 15 years.

    I've never used the sweep logs or aluminum can trick. I had heard from an old farmer that they would throw the lid to an old mason jar in the fireplace occasionally. Just curious, what stack temp are you running? I am usually between 200 - 300*F on the stack about 18" from the exhaust port.

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