What is Tuckpointing and Repointing?

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Though the terms tuckpointing and repointing are often used interchangeably, they are actually not the same. Each is a method of adding new mortar joints to a brick structure, but tuckpointing and repointing tools are different. Every homeowner with a chimney, wall, or any masonry will at one time need to fix mortar damage. But does their home need tuckpointing or repointing? Let’s find out.

The Basic Difference

Both repointing and tuckpointing involve repairing masonry by diffing out mortar joints and adding in new mortar. However, when a professional repoints masonry, they are removing damaged joints. Tuckpointing, though very similar, doesn’t always involve repairing damaged joints. Instead, it is a type of pointing using two different colors of mortar. This will change the appearance of the mortar joints. They use different tuckpointing and repointing tools to accomplish this. Which does a homeowner need?

Tuckpointing

The process of tuckpointing was invented in English centuries ago. It was meant to create an illusion that the mortar joints were very fine instead of thick. They accomplished this by sandwiching alternate color between the mortar joints, creating the appearance of the expensive rubbed brick building material. Although this is an ancient term, homeowners still will use it when referring to repointing.

Repointing

Filling in or repairing damaged or cracked joints are the technical definition of repointing. This prevents irreparable damage from leaks, cracks, and water. The structural integrity of a chimney or wall is maintained when the exposure is minimized through the repair. Avoid the eventual destruction of valuable masonry with repointing.

How Often Does Mortar Break Down?

Does a homeowner need to repoint masonry of their home on a regular basis? While a brick wall can last a century or more, the mortar joints typically need to be repaired every two or three decades to prevent long-term damage to the structure of the home. Cracks and leaks can lead to long-term damage and costly repairs. Therefore, it is very important to continue to repair and maintain the structure throughout its lifetime. The materials that are used for mortar repair are very specific, especially if you want to maintain a uniform look and avoid further damage. Contact a professional to assess the status of your home’s masonry.

These are very labor intensive processes. Tuckpointing and repointing are necessary to maintain the structural security. Speak with a licensed professional about how you can best maintain walls, chimney, and masonry, especially for an older building. Be sure to address any mortar joint issues immediately to lengthen the lifetime of your home.

 

What Does Chimney Repair Cost?

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Enjoy the beauty and comfort of a luxurious fireplace. However, be sure to maintain the fireplace to ensure a lifetime of use. Chimney repair cost may seem daunting to calculate, but there are actually several very basic pieces to consider when evaluating the overall price of professional chimney repair.

Chimney Sweeping

Reduce the risk of fire and maintain an elegant clean look by regular chimney sweeping. Costs can range into hundreds of dollars. The chimney repair cost overall will depend on the amount of creosote resin is coating the chimney wall. Creosote resin is released into the smoke. It accumulates quickly.

If you peek into your chimney with a flashlight and see more than a third of a centimeter or thicker, it is time to sweep your chimney. Routine cleaning will prevent the creosote from accumulating to high levels. While you should hire a professional to clean your chimney, some minor maintenance can be done by using chimney cleaning logs which help the tar fall away from your chimney walls. However, this is only a basic way to maintain the chimney. Most of the time, you will need a professional to remove the buildup.

Leaks

Mold and wood rot can be a problem if water leaks into the chimney. Water is acidic. Combining with the creosote rust can permanently destroy dampers. Water will also damage mortar and wood. Cost ranges from a few hundred to several hundred dollars. Contact a professional for an estimate.

Chimney Crown Repair

Chimney crown repair is an important part of good chimney maintenance. The crown prevents precipitation from traveling down the flue, protecting your home, the brick and mortar, and the overall structural integrity of your chimney. The crown may prevent critters from entering your home. The spark arrestor protects your home from stray embers and sparks. A cracked crown can allow water to enter the home, causing irreparable damage to the brick and mortar, wood, and your home. During inclement weather, smaller cracks in the chimney crown can expand, requiring a full chimney replacement.

Cracks and Chimney Replacement

A crack in your chimney can range from a couple of hundred dollars in repairs to a few thousand. If you find a crack in your chimney, it is best to repair it as soon as possible. A brick mortar repair is more affordable and may prevent nearly irreparable damage to your chimney. If you need to repair the entire chimney or replace it from the crown to the roofline, expect a price tag up of a few thousand dollars. In some cases, structural damage is too extreme for a partial repair and the entire chimney would have to be replaced. Expect to pay more than ten thousand dollars for a full chimney replacement.

Maintain your chimney regularly. Look for buildup, cracks, and leaks that may lead to larger costs. Call a professional to assess the status of your chimney to ensure safety and security for years to come.

 

Cracked Concrete? Your Essential Guide to Parging Your Basement

The brick wall outside your building or home is cracked, with is-parging-necessaryexposed brick that has been slowly worn away by the elements. Parging will add an extra coat of protection to your wall, but you are not sure. Snow, rain, and ice have chipped away at the wall. Not only is it pretty ugly, but you know if you continue to ignore it that you will have to deal with a much bigger, more expensive problem.  Is parging necessary?

What is Parging?

Parging is an extra protective coat applied to your building or home foundation and walls. Sometimes made of cement or a mix that includes liquid acrylic, parging can provide an extra line of defense against the harsh elements. Over time snow, ice, rain, and water will tear away at exposed foundations and walls. Additional environmental factors like pollution and dirt, also take away from the aesthetic beauty of your home. Over time, minor cracks and holes can give way to major foundation and structural issues. These problems build up over time and can end up costing significant resources, time, and stress.

Is Parging Necessary?

When you are considering the cost of new construction or renovating an older building, consider the long-term benefits of parging. There are different options available for older buildings and new construction. Speak with your contractor about the key differences. You may find that you only have to do minor repairs to an existent foundation or wall. Prevent new buildings from damage caused by precipitation, snow, and environmental factors. Provide a new line of defense for years. Give your foundation the care that it needs.

Parging is not just about aesthetics. This extra coat is an affordable way to address existent problems like cracks and holes in the foundation. Prevent expensive construction later by speaking with your contractor about improving your home or building with parging. Avoid lasting permanent damage with an extra protective coat.

What’s Next?

Find a professional that has years of masonry experience and reliable service. Ask for references and review previous work completed. Ask about what options are available like using liquid acrylic mixes or choosing different colors and textures. Find out the most economical way that parging can improve the overall look and durability of your home or business. There are a variety of options, from simply repairing a small crack to parging an entire foundation, basement, or wall.

Don’t let a worn-down wall or foundation take away from your home’s beauty. Add extra value and protection to your business. Parging is an easy and affordable way to enhance the overall structural quality and aesthetics of your building.

5 Reasons Your Chimney Might Be Leaking

Chimney Repair TorontoWhen they think about their chimney most folks don’t think about the possibility of it leaking. But leaking is actually more common than you might imagine. Most of the time chimney leaks have pretty straightforward causes that can be repaired fairly easily by a qualified chimney expert. Although in some cases a leak that seems like it’s from the chimney might actually have another source. In this post we’re going to help you determine the cause of your chimney leak (if that’s what it is) and how we’d go about fixing it for you.

Affordable, Reliable Chimney Repair for Toronto Homeowners

Chimney leaks typically have one of 5 causes. They are

  1. Rain – Often times when a homeowner finds water in their fireplace it’s because rain is falling directly down the chimney. The simple way around this problem is to call for chimney repair in Toronto and have us install a chimney cap. The chimney cap will not only keep out the rain it will prevent raccoons and other pests from moving in and blocking up your chimney.
  2. A cracked chimney crown – While your chimney may be 24” x 18” (+/-) the actual opening at the top is much smaller. Cement is typically used to fill in the space at the top around the opening. That cement barrier is called the “crown”. Sometimes the crown develops cracks and allows rain and/or snow melt into the chimney. It’s important to repair a cracked crown ASAP.
  3. The flashing – The flashing is the protective skirt that covers the chimney opening in the roof. Most flashings are properly installed and thus most homeowners are never aware of them. However, if the flashing is poorly installed or you’ve recently had roof work done the flashing can develop leaks. In this case we’d need to get up on the roof and repair the flashing for you.
  4. Leaks in the brickwork – Water is opportunistic. If there are even the tiniest openings in the brickwork water can work its way in and wreak havoc. During the winter this water will freeze and thaw and wind up creating cracks in your brickwork just like it does in the roads. In this case you’ll need us to do a thorough examination of your chimney to find the cracks and repair them.
  5. Condensation inside the chimney – If you’ve had a gas fireplace installed and the chimney wasn’t properly lined to accommodate the moisture-heavy fumes it creates that moisture can collect inside the chimney. Eventually, the walls that come in contact with the wet chimney will suffer from water stains along with peeling paint or wallpaper. The solution here is for us to get in there and install an effective chimney lining for you.

As we said if one of these is not the source of your leak there’s a good chance it’s something like damaged roofing shingles or a blocked gutter that’s allowing water into the walls near the chimney. The best course of action if you suspect a leaky chimney is to call Cummings Restorations for first class chimney repair in Toronto.

How Avoiding Chimney Repair Can REALLY Come Back to Bite You

Many homeowners put “repair the chimney” pretty far down on their “to do” list but they shouldn’t. While it’s tempting to delay fixing a problem with the chimney (because after all, it’s the chimney, not something really important like the TV) delaying could wind up creating a slew of other problems that will make the original chimney repair job seem like pretty small beer indeed. Sure, a chimney is a tough looking character (being brick and all) but if it’s become cracked or otherwise compromised waiting to have if fixed could come back to haunt you big time.

Why Chimney Repair Can’t Wait

When most homeowners become aware of problems with their chimney they take the necessary steps to repair it. Others, however, will tempt fate and see if they can get by as is, usually in an effort to save a few bucks. The thing is the few bucks they save now have a way of turning into beaucoup bucks down the road and here’s 3 of the ways that can happen.

  1. Cracks in the brick work – Water is the indispensable resource, that thing we simply can’t live without and most of the time seems like a pretty benign compound. But water is one of the most persistent and destructive forces on earth. If your chimney has developed freeze/thaw cracks and water is leaking in unchecked your chimney’s damper will rust, the flue liner will become compromised and water will eventually find its way into the walls of your home where it will wreak havoc on the wood joists, insulation and electrical wiring; which will all need to be repaired or replaced.
  2. Rusty damper – As we mentioned above water leaking into the chimney can cause the damper to rust. When that happens you’ll likely be looking at a colder living room and having to pay more for your monthly heating bill. That’s because when dampers get rusty they often get stuck in the open position. This allows cold air to blow down the chimney into the house making your living room colder and requiring you to jack the thermostat to compensate.
  3. Damaged flashing – The point at which your chimney meets the roof is not an exact fit. Something is needed to cover the imperfect join area to prevent, you guessed it, water from leaking in around the chimney and getting into the roof, attic walls and the walls of the lower floors. That something is the flashing. If your flashing needs to be replaced or repaired and you fail to do so you’re looking at problems all the way from the shingles to the cellar.

Chimney repair is no laughing matter. The chimney has a central role to play in the life of your home and if it’s compromised the home is compromised. Delaying repairs just means the degree of that compromise will grow exponentially and so too will the bills for fixing all the problems that have sprung from it. Call Cummins Restorations Inc. to find out more about chimney repair.

The Best Time for Chimney Repair?

Chimney RepairIf your chimney is in need of repair it is better to have the work done as soon as possible, to avoid the possibility of any further deterioration. However, right now is not always the most convenient time to have such repairs carried out and certain times of the year may be more practical than others when it comes to major masonry renovation work. With this in mind, you will probably want to schedule the work to start at the next most favourable opportunity and if you are not sure when this might be, we have outlined some of the most important factors to consider below, to help you make your decision.

Scheduling Your Chimney Repair

All of the following factors should be taken into consideration when you are deciding on the best time to have your chimney repaired:

  • The Current Condition of Your Chimney – It should go without saying but if your chimney is currently in such a bad state of repair that it poses a danger to your family or others in the vicinity, you should have it repaired immediately. The factors listed below may mean that now is not the best time to do so but when there is the possibility of injury or worse, you should never delay your chimney repair.
  • The Weather – Snow, rain and heavy winds are not the ideal conditions in which to work on the roof of a house so if at all possible, you should schedule the necessary repairs for sometime in the summer. If this is not possible, watch the weather forecasts carefully and coordinate with your repair team so that you are able to avoid the worst conditions if at all possible.
  • Your Work and Home Life – If you are going through a very busy period at work and could do without the additional stress of masonry repairs when you get home, it might be a good idea to postpone the work until things have quietened down a little. Similarly, if you have a lot to contend with at home right now, you may wish to put off your chimney repair for a few weeks. Assuming that your chimney does not pose a danger to you or your neighbours and the weather is likely to be fine for some time to come, there should be no harm in waiting for a while.
  • Availability of Local Contractors – Last but not least, you need to consider the availability of the people you would like to perform the necessary work on your chimney. There is little point in scheduling the work for a time when the weather is fine and you have no other distractions unless you can guarantee the availability of skilled masonry specialists at the same time.

To make sure that your chimney repair is carried out by a team of highly-skilled professionals who know exactly what they are doing, call Cummins Restorations today to arrange your free initial consultation.

Factors that Can Affect the Cost of Chimney Repair

chimney repair torontoFirst of all, we recommend that you contact 2 or 3 reputable contractors for quotations, even if you are sure that you would like to use our services! We know that we are highly competitive as well as highly skilled but we want you to be sure you are making the right choice when you hire us to repair your chimney. To give you an idea of the type of estimates you are likely to receive, we have put together a list of the factors that are most likely to influence the overall cost, which you can find in the section below.

How Much Will Your Chimney Repair in Toronto Cost?

Whilst not an exhaustive list, most of the more obvious factors are contained in the following list. By reading through it and looking at your own chimney, you should be able to ascertain whether it is going to be a relatively inexpensive job or one that might require a substantial outlay.

  • Size – The most obvious factor to consider, especially when a fairly comprehensive rebuild is in order, is the height of your chimney. The width is probably standard but height can vary significantly from one building to the next. Generally speaking, the taller your chimney, the more it is going to cost to rebuild or repair. Relatively minor repair jobs, such as repointing the mortar joints, can also be estimated fairly accurately by considering the height of the chimney first and foremost.
  • Condition – The worse the current condition of your chimney, the more it is going to cost to repair. No matter who you hire to carry out your chimney repair in Toronto, the amount that they charge for labour and repairs will reflect the state of your chimney as it stands right now. While this may give you pause for thought, especially if your chimney is in a particularly poor state of repair, you should bear in mind that it is only going to get worse so the sooner you have it fixed, the cheaper it will be.
  • Location – If your property is of a fairly standard size and design, this factor may not play much of a part in the final price. On the other hand, if you live in a house that is particularly tall and features a chimney in a hard-to-reach location, you can expect to pay more for your chimney repair in Toronto than would otherwise be the case. A higher roof, for example, will require more scaffolding and will therefore increase the cost of both materials and labour.
  • Additional Parts – If the condition of your chimney is such that it requires the replacement of certain major parts, such as the crown, this will inevitably lead to higher costs than if all that needs doing is a simple repointing of the mortar joints between the masonry.

Call Cummins Restorations right now to request a comprehensive quotation for chimney repair in Toronto. We look forward to assisting you in the very near future.

Why Chimney Repair Work is So Urgent

Chimney Repair TorontoThe chimney is one of the most visible features of the home. It serves a variety of functions from providing a focal point for the home’s exterior design to venting smoke and gases from the fireplace and/or furnace safely into the outside world. But because they are basically little more than tall columns of stacked brick they’re susceptible to a variety of forces that can cause their structural integrity to deteriorate and require repair. When that happens you’ll want to effect repairs promptly lest a relatively minor problem mushroom into one that’s difficult and expensive to remediate.

Chimney Repair Toronto: Don’t Put it Off

While bricks are an incredibly resilient building material they’re still susceptible to wear and tear; especially in a city like Toronto with such an extreme and unforgiving climate. Eventually that wear and tear can become so pronounced that you’ll have to call for chimney repair. Toronto homeowners need to know the warning signs that indicate repair work is urgently called for. Those signs include:

  • Water infiltrating the chimney: Water that enters the flue can mix with creosote to damage the damper and eat away at the brickwork. Besides the flue there are a number of other ways water can enter the chimney structure including settlement cracks and a poorly designed flashing. Water infiltrating the chimney structure can also cause damage adjacent drywall, wiring, paint jobs and more.
  • Compromised mortar: Mortar holds the stack together and prevents water intrusion and worse. Compromised mortar joints can lead to bug infestations and water freezing and thawing inside the joint, creating even larger and more serious structural problems down the road. Repointing the mortar joints is an important part of chimney maintenance and should never be delayed if you notice visible gaps in your chimney’s mortar work.
  • Cracks: Cracks, particularly those inside the chimney structure, can be a serious fire hazard for the house. That’s because creosote can gather in cracks until one day it’s ignited by a stray spark or ember rising from the fireplace. It’s vitally important to keep the chimney free of cracks by having regular inspections performed and having any cracks that may be found repaired immediately.
  • Damaged flue tiles: The tiles that form the lining of the flue are important for keeping the outside out and smoke and gases moving properly upward and out of the house. Not pursuing cracked tiles with vigour can result in compromised draft in the chimney and the backing up of the aforementioned smoke and gases into the home. If you notice small bits of broken tile in your fireplace don’t hesitate to call for chimney repair in Toronto.

Chimney repair for Toronto homes is serious business. Poorly designed and built chimneys, along with chimneys that have been damaged by weather or some natural disaster or another all need to be repaired as quickly as possible to ensure your family’s safety and security. Call Cummins Restorations on (416) 992-7965 to schedule chimney repair work or to discuss any masonry related project you may be ready to undertake.

Why It’s Important Chimney Repair Issues are Dealt With Quickly

chimney repair torontoHaving a chimney adds a cozy charm to your Toronto home, but it is also very important to keep the chimney properly maintained and cleaned. Even with good maintenance, however, well-used chimneys accumulate creosote buildup inside their flues and, over time, gaps in the flue that allow heat damage to come to the brick area outside the flue. The effects can be dangerous and devastating, and there are many reasons a chimney should not be left to fester if it is in any need of chimney repair.

What is Creosote?

Most problems that can occur in a chimney are caused by a buildup of creosote, a tar-like substance caused by the chemical reaction of incomplete wood combustion with the liner of your flue. Creosote buildup can cause:

  • Chimney Fires – Creosote is highly combustible, and a combination of a lot of it building up and very high temperatures in the chimney could cause an explosion and a fire. The fire will undoubtedly damage your chimney and may even spread to the wood frame of the house, leading to injury or death.
  • Noxious Debris – The debris given off by hardened creosote residue can cause a myriad of very unhealthy effects, such as:
    • Higher risk of cancer or similar diseases.
    • Eye irritation, including itchiness and blurry vision.
    • Skin irritation leading to acne or rashes.
    • Respiratory problems, such as coughing or trouble breathing.
    • Issues with the liver or kidney.
    • Increased risk of seizures, confusion, or other mental problems.

What Other Problems Can I Avoid with Prompt Chimney Repair?

Having an expert repair your chimney the minute issues crop up will also help avoid:

  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Gasses trapped by a partially blocked chimney may find their way back into your living space. They include carbon monoxide, an invisible and odorless gas that causes blood vessel suffocation. In small doses, carbon monoxide poisoning causes headaches, nausea, and fatigue. In large doses, it can be fatal.
  • Animal Infestations – Chimney swifts and other small animals may take up residence in a run-down and unused chimney (not in the flue, where the smoke actually escapes), even after brick or masonry repair. Their droppings will fall into the fireplace, burn when a fire is lit, and emit fumes that cause respiratory infection.

For all these reasons and more, it is vital to your safety to call a professional to perform maintenance on your chimney at the first sign of disrepair. We at Cummins Restorations are happy to provide tuckpointing and chimney repair services to keep you enjoying crackling fires with the family while staying healthy and safe.

Spot the Signs That You need Masonry Repair

chimney repair torontoThe chimney is one of the most overlooked household features in terms of being properly maintained. Many do not realize that chimneys are fragile mechanisms that require regular attention too, and one of the most important parts of a chimney to keep in good shape is the masonry. A chimney with deteriorating masonry can cause dangerous situations, as well as a significant decrease in value to the home it is attached to.

How Do I Tell When it’s Time for Masonry Repair?

There are two parts of your chimney that may require masonry repair: the visible brick exterior of the chimney and the tile lining of the flue inside the chimney. Below is listed how you tell whether you need repair for each.

  • Brick Exterior –Like the skull protects the brain, the bricks of a chimney protect the flue. Just like the skull, cracks in the brick exterior are dangerous, and need to be looked into immediately when they are noticed. The easiest-to-notice sign that the exterior is in need of masonry repair is when the mortar cracks in between the bricks widen or seem less sturdy than they were. This means that the mortar is disintegrating, and allowing this to continue could cause structural damage. Another sign that chimney repair is needed is when cracks are visible in the bricks themselves. Bricks last significantly longer than mortar, but they can deteriorate too, and the consequences of a cracked brick can be even more severe than those of thinning mortar.
  • Inner Flue – The flue is where the actual smoke and debris from fires filters through to escape the chimney, and it is made of tiled stone, which is extremely important to keep in good condition. One of the easiest ways to tell that your flue lining needs repair is by observing actual flakes of flue tile falling into the fireplace during use. Being exposed for years to moisture and corrosive chemicals resulting from combustion can make the flue tiles give out.

No matter what part of your chimney is experiencing problems, issues with masonry are very serious and must be dealt with immediately if any telltale signs are noticed. Masonry and brick repair can be hugely time-consuming and labour-intensive to deal with on your own, but we at Cummins Restorations are happy to assist anyone in the Toronto area with their masonry contracting and chimney repairs.