Chimney crown and top repair? - I don't want to be scammed

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Hi, I know my chimney needs repair, but every time the chimney sweep guys come to clean the flue, they tell me something different (I need "Chimney Saver" coating, or I need a "Crown Seal" or something costing $300+ labor) and I fear being scammed. Can you take a look at these photos? All opinions welcome.
I'm not beyond a DIY project, but it's kind of high and not too comfortable on ladder for extended duration.
Thanks!
http://i899.photobucket.com/albums/ac194/millinghill/wall/Sam_7279_zpsbf851051.jpg
http://i899.photobucket.com/albums/ac194/millinghill/wall/Sam_1206_zpse5d0c0d1.jpg
http://i899.photobucket.com/albums/ac194/millinghill/wall/Sam_1188_zps02c2565b.jpg
http://i899.photobucket.com/albums/ac194/millinghill/wall/Sam_1207_zpscf5fd75f.jpg
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On Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:20:21 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I got a virus notice when I clicked on the first link.
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wrote:

I virus notice for a jpeg? At photobucket? If you weren't using avast! I'd suggest you get a different AV program. Maybe you should get new definitions, you haven't done so for more than two months.
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

Worked fine for me. Using AVG.

You can tell that!
Isn't it verrrry rare that new definitions are more permissive than old ones? Unless they made a mistake, I guess, and took out something they had incorrectly put in. Okay.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

No virus warnings for me. I'm using free MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) for antivirus and free Comodo for firewall.
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On 7/29/2013 4:20 PM, TomR wrote:

I just had to remove Microsoft from my XP box because it couldn't handle 2 million+ files and caused a major system GRONK. I cleaned it off and put AVG on my system, problem cured. I still put MS Antivirus on systems that aren't being stressed too much. ^_^
TDD
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I'm using the same. Once I see a warning, I don't take chances.
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On Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:20:21 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Looks like it just needs tuck pointing. Get a couple estimates from guys who do tuck pointing. I wouldn't want chimney sweepers doing anything but chimney sweeping.
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On Monday, July 29, 2013 7:13:12 AM UTC-4, Vic Smith wrote:

+1
It looks like it's in good shape, just needs some pointing done in the upper left area of the first pic. Looks like there could be some cracks in the top too. I'd get estimates from a couple of masons.
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Vic Smith wrote:

I agree, plus the crown looks cracked in a few places.
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"Tuck pointing..." ok, Thanks for the advice!
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On 7/29/2013 12:20 AM, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I had something like this done a few years ago when chimney guy was doing other work. Coating was something I could have done myself but at my age, roof climbing is a thing of the past. My chimney top was in worse shape than yours.
Can't recall price but it was part of their doing something else and not a separate trip. As part of other work, it did not cost that much.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Other than aesthetics, what other problems do you have with the chimney?
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I see the following problems: 1. cracking of chimney mortar cap 2. brick pointing is missing 3. several bricks have spalled along the facade.
The chimney sweeps said that the "chimney saver" clear coat will help to stop the brick spalling. I am assuming that I need something on the chimney cap to prevent further cracking. Am I missing anything??
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On Mon, 29 Jul 2013 19:25:46 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I didn't think I saw a big chip coming out of one brick. I don't want to reload the photos now, unless you give me more reason to.
In 1957 we bought a house that was built after 1950, I think. First litle chips came out of the brick, in one or two parts of the walls and the chimney. Then the chips got bigger. My mother talked to someone who said to "paint" the whole thing with silicone, or silicon, or silicone-nnnnnnn. It came in gallon cans, not paint cans iirc but like for turpentine. I did that and I think it helped quite a bit. It was clear so it was hard to tell where I'd painted and where I hadn't but I think I did a good job, and I was only 14. Maybe they make a better product now??
I didn't go above 8 feet, and I think my mother paid to rebuild the top 8 whatchamaclallits, layers of brick of the chimney. Then she sold the house in 1966 and I think the new owner rebuilt the chimney from about 9 feet up. Made it shorter and funny looking too, but who used it? The only fireplace was in the living room.
We weren't the first owners, but when we still owned it, my mother eventually found out who the builder was. Even though I"m almost positive he had no *legal* duty, he had given money to some other owners whose houses he built with the same bad batch of brick. He had an appointment to come over to our house and I'm sure he would have given us some money, but he had a heart attack and died about 4 days before that. Not because of us. It was still generous of him, given the way most businessmen are, but whatever it took to pay everyone who asked was not going to change his stanardard of living.
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wrote:

Silicone was and is a good penetrating sealer. Its purpose is to prevent water intrusion and damage from same; in cold climates, water intrusion that then freezes will ultimately mess up any masonry because water expands as it freezes.

There are other penetrating sealers, one of which (name escapes me now) combines chemically with the ingredients in the masonry.
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wrote:

I DID think a saw a missing chip.

Good, I got it right.

I think it stopped the chipping. Except on the chimney, that I hadn't touched.

Very good.
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Off hand, I'd say the sweep guys are scamming you. With the cracks, you need more than something you brush/spray on.
Last year, I had cracked brick around the crown. Water got in through the cracked crown, froze, and well, you know what happens. I had a mason come out. He totally removed the crown, replaced 4 bricks, placed a new crown on the double flue, then sprayed the entire chimney with a clear sealer a couple days later. Price: $500.00
Have it done right, instead of throwing good money away.
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On Sunday, July 28, 2013 9:20:21 PM UTC-7, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

r" coating, or I need a "Crown Seal" or something costing $300+ labor) and I fear being scammed.

If it’s a legitimate licensed company the high cost of labor can be attri buted to very high insurance costs for any type of roof work.
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On Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:20:21 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I doubt if that is enough. I think you need a Royal Christening, which runs about $10,000 plus labor.

I know how you feel. The first guy I called, just to clean the stove pipe chimneys (fireplace and furnace) , I had no idea what the price should be, so I called another one and he was cheaper and could come within a couple days.
He told me the stove pipe from the oil furnace to the chimney had creosote and it was rusting and he couldn't clean that chimney until it was replaced, at $600. I said I had to think about it. He charged me for the fireplace, but not the furnace. That was good.
I called the first guy who was about $20 more and I told him, "I thought only wood had creosote". He said, "No oil has it too, but you don't have anay" and "Your pipes are getting old (33 years) but they don't need replacing yet." and he charged me for the cleaning and left. He was the owner and sole cleaner, iirc.
Later I saw ratings for the guy who wanted to replace things, and he had a couple serious complaints, one mentioned the same phone receptionist I had talked to (who told me about the creosote when the guy who came out hadn't mentioned it.) This wasn't Angie's list** but Yahoo or some other phone number listing.
**Angie's list annoyed me, because I filled out the whole first page before it said that it cost money.

What the others said.
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