We now have a newly re-built rear chimney, the scaffold has been struck, and the whole unexpected drama is over. What a relief!
I thought I would include a few photos of the existing condition of the chimney, along with the ‘after’ shot of the re-build (top left image) – just so you can see what the issues were:
- Because the chimney was leaning and bowing, the bricks and mortar had started to split across its face. The diagnosis was that there was a design flaw with the chimney in that it was designed too tall and narrow (a number of them along the street have already been taken down – so our chimney is not unique). The tall clay chimney pots could have also contributed additional load that lead to the bowing slowly over time.
- The cement holding chimney pots in place was cracking in numerous locations – water could have been creeping in here.
- Leadwork flashing was not tightly overlapping and had not been flashed in properly – another possible water ingress point that needed addressing.
- There were cracks and gaps between the coping tiles on the top of our parapet wall, and the cement topping had worn flat so water could have pooled on that ledge just waiting to slowly seep in.
To solve the above we had:
- New coping stones added
- The leadwork flashing re-laid
- The chimney taken down to roof level and then re-built up to about half of its original height
- Breathable water repellant coating applied to brick on all sides (belt and braces)
- New shorter (lighter) chimney pots installed that all match (See the original ones here from when we added the caps – our builder tells me we may be able to get a good few pounds for them on ebay!)
So that the re-built chimney would still be in keeping with the house, we got the mason to re-use the existing bricks. Over half of them were too cracked and brittle to use, but with the ones we had kept aside from when we removed our interior chimney breast to make space for our study – there were just enough. How’s that for good foresight?! We hadn’t expected to need the bricks so soon (I had imagined using them in some sort of garden wall at some point) – but never mind. Our original chimney had some nice brick detailing at the top, so we asked the mason to replicate when he re-built it. Overall my neighbour and I are both pleased with the results.