29 Sep 2014

Chim Chim Cher-ee... it's done!

After almost 20 years of looking at its ugliness, last winter was the final straw. Yes, the chimney is gone!

Here are some before pictures:
The ugly, spalling chimney. Out of sight but not out of mind.
It is worse the closer you look - just don't stand under it.

There was a continual raining of brick beside our house.

We hired a local mason (Dan) to do the dirty deed. We also looked at the choices in 'brick'. Nothing even close to 1964 painted brick is available in this millennium, so we had few options. It turns out that the most durable choice was called Lafitt stone by Permacon, and it is a concrete product made to look like brick.

They put it up like brick, but hopefully it won't come down like our brick. We don't plan to do this again.

Not a huge selection of colours, but this one was the least offensive.
They started work late on a Thursday afternoon and had the chimney completely gone by the time I got home.  Apparently it was quite noisy and dusty in the house.

There it is - gone!
The bricks were delivered for the re-building process on Friday.
Poorly installed liner.
The original builder of the house was not particularly skilled at installing clay chimney liners - here it is very poorly done. Lots of gaps between the segments.  Not a safe situation if used for a wood-burning fireplace (which we did for many years).

We can see the damper at the top of the old fireplace.

Ugly all the way up!
We had several spalling bricks at the back of our house near where our furnace exhausts (moisture is always the culprit), so they took out a large area and prepared to replace them with recovered bricks from the demolition on the side of the house.

Our demolished kitchen wall.

Friday morning they started building the new chimney and got it built all the way to the top before we got home. More dust was made and lots of noise (Adam is off Monday's).
More "god light"? 

The mortar is still wet here.
They realized that they needed to install a large piece of stone to cap the base under the lower roof line, so that was put in on the Saturday.

So much better!
A few of the workers were working on Saturday to touch up some things (I think) but were done in a few hours.
Here the cap is installed (right under the angled white aluminum 1/3 of the way up).
The clean up and caulking crew worked Monday (today) until just before lunch then packed up, ready for their next job. The whole process took 2 full days plus about 5 hours in between to finish.
The back looks far better than it did before.
We think it turned out great! People going by have commented that the colour choice was perfect for the existing brick.
The after shot - dry mortar, all done.

Works very well with the existing structure
The only thing we may need to deal with is water/snow accumulation at the crux of the roof and the new chimney. Water might sit in that spot, so we could try to redirect the small amount of water that does comes down that side (it is under the overhang from the roof section above). Maybe just some flashing would do it? The stone cap is angled in two directions to shed water that gets on it from above.

Well, there you have it. It was a huge expense but it was also absolutely necessary to maintain the structure of the house. We should be safe for another 50+ years. Looks nice too.

The other benefit, now that I think about it, is that Santa can't claim it is an unsafe work environment - no more risk of a Christmas eve work refusal!

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