Cost to Repoint Chimney
Chimney Repointing Costs 2021 (Installation, Replacement, Pricing)
Are you looking for accurate cost information for repointing a chimney? You're in the right place!
As a homeowner, you need to remain vigilant of any structural damage to your home. It's your biggest investment, and almost certainly your largest asset. Don't let it go to waste. Sure. Routine maintenance and repair jobs on your chimney probably aren't at the top of your life list. But they're an important component of homeownership. After all, you probably wanted a chimney; that's why you bought a house with one. You should keep that chimney in tip-top shape. But how much is that going to cost you?
In this guide, you'll learn the answer to questions like:
- What is chimney repointing?
- What is the average cost to repoint a chimney?
- Are there any additional factors that go into chimney repointing costs?
- How do you know if your chimney needs repointing?
- What's the difference between repointing and tuckpointing?
- How often should you repoint your chimney?
- Can you repoint a chimney yourself?
- How can you save some cash on your chimney repointing job?
Let's talk repointing!
What Is Chimney Repointing?
Your chimney is the single most exposed part of your home. It stands tall above your roof and takes the brunt of those heavy winds, hail, rain, and snow. So, it shouldn't be too surprising that your chimney is one of the first parts of your home to need repairs. Here's the secret: you don't want to wait until your chimney stack is in disarray to get it repaired. You should check your chimney occasionally for damage. I even have a "chimney checklist" to help you figure out exactly what to check and when to check it. Check it out below:
One of the most common (and least talked about) components of chimney repair is repointing. Over time, your chimney joints (i.e., the space between your bricks that are filled with grout or mortar) get cracked and damaged. In fact, I bet you could walk around your neighborhood and see plenty of chimneys with cracked joints and weathering. That's not good. Trust me; cracked old mortar joints are a recipe for disaster. One strong wind can send your chimney tumbling. Worse yet, cracked joints always get worse, leading to more expensive repairs and further damage. Of course, there are plenty of scary things that can happen when your chimney joints start to crack. A brick could fall into your chimney flue liner and block carbon monoxide from escaping your home. Or your chimney cap could fall off and destroy part of your roof.
Repointing is the process of going in and getting those mortar joints replaced and repaired. Typically, this involves cutting out the old mortar and filling your chimney in with new mortar. But there could be additional steps if there's underlying brick or crown damage.
What Is The Average Cost To Repoint A Chimney?
On average, chimney reporting costs between $750 and $2,500. Where you live, the type of brick, and the overall damage all factor into this price. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, states like Alaska, Illinois, and New York have the highest-paid masonry workers and tradespeople. So, it's safe to assume that you'll pay more to get your chimney repointed in those areas.
The size of your chimney also plays a role. Smaller chimneys typically cost less than larger chimneys due to the amount of grout. However, small chimneys with smaller bricks may cost the same (or even more) than larger chimneys since smaller joints can be more difficult to grind out and repair. Overall, chimney repointing is significantly less expensive than a new chimney installation, which will cost you an average of $7,500.
What Are The Additional Factors That Affect Chimney Repointing Costs?
In order to repoint your chimney, your mason has to climb onto your roof and use power tools on your chimney. So, chimneys on five-floor mansions will cost more to repoint simply because they're less accessible. Falls injure thousands of workers each year, and there are over 800 fatalities associated with falls each year. So, there's a good reason that higher chimneys are more expensive. They have to take additional safety precautions, and it will take them more time, money, and energy to repoint your chimney.
Access to Chimney
If your chimney rests upon a very small area of your roof, your mason will have to expend more resources to fix it. Again, this is a safety and time issue. Less accessible chimneys are simply more time-consuming and resource-intensive to repair. Your chimney contractor will have to climb to the top of the chimney to do a repointing, so safety is absolutely a concern.
Type of Chimney
The size of the chimney and the type of masonry you used to build it also factor into your cost. Obviously, taller chimneys with more mason joints will cost more, but the size and type of joint also play a role.
The labor costs of your chimney job will depend on a variety of factors. Remember, labor costs also vary wildly by area, so take that into consideration. Also included in this cost bucket are any additional requirements. As an example, you may need a repointing due to a big storm. That storm may have also damaged your flue. Repairing your flue along with a repointing will be more costly, since your contractor will expend more hours.
How To Tell Your Chimney Needs Repointing?
Are there cracks or gaps in the mortar joints between your bricks? You probably need a repointing. Of course, chimneys are tricky. Brickwork likes to hide damage on the back-end. So you could be dealing with a problem with your crown or some interior brick issues. I recommend contacting a local mason or chimney expert and asking for an estimate. They'll be able to diagnose any significant issues you have.
Don't let chimney cracks fester. Water can seep into these cracks and cause significant damage to your chimney. The sooner you repoint, the less overall damage your chimney will endure.
Note: Repointing is only for chimneys with issues at mortar joints. If your chimney is cracking across the bricks themselves, you probably need a total chimney replacement. Chances are, the damage is greater than you think as bricks are really sneaky at concealing damage. Get a quote for a full chimney replacement below.
What Is The Difference Between Repointing And Tuckpointing?
A ton of people (including experienced masons) use the terms repointing, tuckpointing, and pointing interchangeably. But they all refer to completely different processes.
Repointing is the process of repairing damaged mortar joints. Tuckpointing involves going in and mixing existing mortar with new mortar that more closely aligns to the brick color — which results in a superficially "tight" looking joint. And pointing refers to the initial job of filling in mortar grout on new bricks. Each of these are completely different processes. Of course, all of them are related as they all deal with mortar joints. But tuckpointing is superficial while repointing and pointing are critical to the structural integrity of your chimney.
How Often Should You Repoint Your Chimney?
Done well, repointing should last around 25 - 50 years. However, acute weather events or physical damage can call for an immediate repointing. So, that date isn't set-in-stone. You can look at a chimney and determine if it needs a repointing pretty quickly. Any cracks or gaps in the mortar call for a repointing job. It's best to not go by a set date with repairs. Do them when they need to be done. You may need to repoint five years after your new chimney is built, or you may not have to repoint your chimney for a century. It depends on a variety of factors. Luckily, mortar damage is easily visible to the naked eye.
Can You Repoint A Chimney Yourself?
Can you DIY this project? Yes. Should you? Probably not. I'm a big fan of DIY, and I put tons of DIY guides on my YouTube channel. But this is one DIY that I'm going to heavily recommend against. Any time you deal with structural components like mortar joints, it's best to leave it to the pros. Unless you have vast experience with masonry, don't take this job on.
If you're still insistent, I highly recommend using a hydrated lime and sand mortar mixture. Don't fall for overpriced and over-packaged mortar. Again, this is only for those who know what they're doing and have some experience with chimneys or masonry.
This leads to a small problem. You don't know what you don't know. How do you know if your chimney repointing quote is fair? Better yet, how do you know how good the roofer is? Again, I highly recommend using my chimney checklist. You can hand it to your contractor and have them check off each item on the list. Always look for a contractor with 20 plus years of experience and only do chimney repairs in favorable weather conditions (60 - 75 degree range).
Back in 2012, I wrote an article for the Washington Post responding to a lady who wanted to know why contractors were all giving her different quotes and solutions to her chimney problem. I still feel the same way as I did back then. You need to open your contract up to bidding. If you hire contractors, one-by-one, you'll get the fairest price. After all, they can see that they're competing on your project, so they're going to be trying to give you everything you want in order to win your bid.
How To Save Money On Repointing A Brick Chimney?
While I recommend against DIY repointing, there are still plenty of ways to save cash on your chimney costs. For starters, try posting your bid online instead of contacting a local mason directly. Having local companies compete to secure your job can help you score a better deal. You can also discuss any deals, packages, or discounts with your mason. There's a good chance they'll throw in some extra cleaning or a free inspection on your chimney crown.
Here's the thing: repointing a chimney already saves you money. It prevents you from having to do an entire chimney repair. So, you're already coming out at a net positive. You could technically save cash with DIY. But, again, that's only for those of you with tons of masonry experience. I recently talked about this in an article with the Columbus Dispatch. Chimney repairs are one of the very few projects where I actively recommend against DIY. To put it simply, it's dangerous up there. I don't want any of you getting hurt. Let your wallet take a small beating, not your body.