You may remember me telling you a while back in July that we had a bit of a damp issue at ceiling level in our new study. We thought that perhaps water could be getting in through the three open topped chimney caps. So, we bought some chimney pot caps, had them installed, waited 2 months for the brick to dry out, re-painted the area, and kept our fingers crossed. At the time the caps were installed our builder told us there were a few small cracks in the chimney, the mortar pointing was loose in a few places, and the cement top to the chimney was cracked and crumbling.
I talked to my neighbour about sharing the costs of some repairs to our chimney, (a stitch in time saves nine and all that), but in the end we decided we’d give the more economical caps a go and review the situation in 6 months. At the time, we were still paying off a big renovation bill, so weren’t exactly in a position financially to pay for expensive repairs anyway…
Well… I’m sure you can probably guess where this story is going.
Unfortunately, 6 months after installation, the damp was back, and spreading. Its never easy to know exactly where the damp originates from as water has a sneaky way of tracking through structures and manifesting far away from its entry point. The water could have been getting in from any of the cracks identified last summer – so we got a quote to re-point our side of the chimney, re-lay the lead flashing, and repair the cracked cement top to our shared chimney. (The pointing on our neighbours side had been done more recently and was in good condition)
To make a long story short, our chimney is leaning 70mm out of plumb, the mortar is shot on our side and turns to a fine powder when you touch it, and there is a potential risk of collapse if they undertake any of the re-pointing. After looking down our street, we noticed that a number of the rear chimney stacks had been removed, shortened, or re-built – so it appears we aren’t the only ones with this issue. The repair costs aren’t cheap as we need scaffold (which needs to be taken very carefully through our finished house as we have no back alley) to undertake the repairs, which at roughy £1000 is a big chunk of the roughly £3500 bill. Ouch.