Chimney - is repair possible?

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I own a property that has a badly damaged chimney. My guess is that the only real option is to have a new chimney built to replace it. But, just in case, I thought that I would post here to see if there is any possibility of repairing this one rather than replacing it.
This is a side-by-side twin home, so this is actually two chimneys instead of one -- one for each house. The height of the chimney is about 10 feet up from the roof line. Here are two photos:
http://oi44.tinypic.com/t8rtac.jpg
http://oi39.tinypic.com/9unmvb.jpg
Is there any chance that this chimney could be saved by removing the existing stucco, then maybe doing a complete re-stucco (that included filling in between the bricks, etc) using wire lath, and add a new cap? If so, is there a special type of cement that would be used for this?
Or, if removing this chimney and building a new one is the only option, do they make cement chimney blocks that are preformed for a double chimney like this one? The only preformed cement chimney blocks that I see are either square or rectangular, but only for one chimney not two chimneys like this one.
Does anyone have a rough ballpark figure of what it might cost to have a new double chimney built (about 10 feet high) to replace this one? This is in southern New Jersey.
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I would not go up there. I had a lot of success with a fiberglass reinforced mixture. I would think the old stuff would have to come off, depending how fit it is.
Greg
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far easier and better to remove the chimneys at least that part above the roof line. taking them totally down thru the building can gain more interior space.
with high efficency direct vent furnaces and water tanks theres no real need for a chimney....
they just increase maintence costs and increase the risks of roof leaks
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Good points. It's impossible to tell the true state of the chimney without taking off some or all of that stucco. But from what can be seen it doesn't look good. The stucco on brick itself is a bad sign. Most times that winds up there because the brick was deteriorating and instead of fixing it correctly, someone just put a cosmetic stucco job over it. That just makes it fail even faster, with water trapped, freezing behind the stucco.
If it comes to a new chimney, I agree it would be a good time to evaluate high efficiency boiler and water heater options as an alternative. If the boilers are old and inefficient, that route could make economic sense instead of putting $$$ into a new chimney.
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On Saturday, April 7, 2012 9:15:11 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

Hard to tell from the pictures. It is possible that the stucco just needs replacing. An on-sight inspection by a qualified mason experienced in chimney work is the only way to be sure. One of my neighbors had his chimney repaired very similar to yours. About half the chimney from roof to top was removed and replaced with what I think is called a chimney pot. traditionally these were made of Terracotta but I think now they are available in more durable materials. Other alternatives may be available depending on how you use your fireplace.
Jimmie
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GET A PROFESSIONAL OPINION. This is fire here and code compliance issues!
Used to live in 100 yr old 2-story home in San Jose, CA with an often used, and now above the roof line, deteriorated chimney. The mortar between the bricks has fallen out and most of the lining has fallen down inside over time. Even a few bricks have dislodged slightly from their angle.
SJ was trying to dissuade people from using fireplaces, so the City Council makes it almost impossible to inexpensively fix a chimney. The rule is that in order to repair the podge surfacing and missing mortar, the chimney MUST be taken down to the ground and built back up!. End of story.$15k to 20kjust to start. Not even allowed to shove a metal liner down the thing, podge around the tube, shore up the externl, and now unnecessary, brick!
If the house had been located in the adjacent town, code is to fix the part that needs repair. $3k to $5k !!!
The interior, firebox part I repaired using special high temperature mortar specially designed for fireplaces. Regular mortar will crumble out.
I used high temperature propane torch to burn off any black residue to make it easy to work on the firebox liner.
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No you can not fix it. Replace it. Cost will be somewhere between $1 and $500,000.
It looks really bad. Expect it to fall at any moment, crash through your roof, and kill several people in the house. I'd leave that house immediately until the chimney is removed. Or just put a chain around it, connect it to the bumper of your car, and pull it down. You might lose part of the roof, but that beats losing lives.
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I'll try to write more later today but may not be able to from a work computer.
In the meantime, I just wanted to add that this is not a fireplace chimney. It is 2 chimneys, one for each house, and each house has a gas-fired steam radiator heater for heat and a gas-fired hot water heater for hot water.
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wrote in message

You need to get rid of all that obsolete technology. (And the chimney) You can get a gas system now that will use less than a third of your present fuel.
+++++++++++++
It is a steam radiator heating system and I don't think there is such a thing as a high efficiency direct-vent steam heat system. It is a one-pipe steam radiator heat system, which means it cannot be practically converted to a two-pipe hot water radiator heat system. Plus, there are two homes here -- mine and the house that is attached to mine. So, that would mean two new heaters and two completely new heating systems through both houses, plus two new hot water heaters.
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you might find the cost of rebuilding the chimney exceeds the cost of upgrading both homes to direct vent forced hot water heat direct vent.largely depends on chimney condition espically the inside:(
the insides of the chimneys will no doubt be worse than the outside.
if the other owner refuses to cooperate upgrade your half of the home to forced hot water direct vent and abandon the chimney for your use completely...... you would save big bucks on heating your home
the chimneys should really get a camera inspection which might show real safety hazards.
till these issues are solved both homes should get carbon monoxide detectors for both familys safety.
I might add most very high chimneys like yours were often that way for fireplaces, to clear the roof line. a chimney pro could advisde you if it could be shortened which might save some bucks....
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wrote:

I agree with the others. It needs to come down. There are plenty of heating systems available that need no chimney, especially if there is natural gas in your area. Or you could think heat pump.
It will cost much less to run in fuel terms also.
============== Thanks, but changing to a different heating system that does not need a chimney is not an option in this case. This is a side-by-side twin home -- I own one side and my neighbor owns the other side. Each side has a gas-fired steam radiator heating system for heat and a gas-fired hot water heater for hot water. My side is rented out and my neighbor's side is owner-occupied. I will probably be paying for the entire chimney repair or replacement even though it is for both homes. However, I am sure that my neighbor will not want to get a new high efficiency (direct vent, no-chimney) heating system and hot water system, and I don't have much of an interest in doing that either.
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I think with steam it's impossible to get a direct vent system and also impossible to get really high efficiency. And since it's rented out, the fuel costs aren't yours, so I agree that would seem to eliminate the direct vent option.


How is it that you have to foot the entire cost instead of it being split 50-50? One option would be to replace the chimney with one built from framing and covered with siding. That should be a lot less expensive than going with brick.

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I think with steam it's impossible to get a direct vent system and also impossible to get really high efficiency.
+++++++++
I think that's correct, or at least that is what I have heard from anyone I know.

One option would be to replace the chimney with one built from framing and covered with siding. That should be a lot less expensive than going with brick.
+++++++++
I would certainly consider that, but I would have to find out how that is done.
I was also thinking, "Doesn't anyone make a light weight prefab/pre-made chimney unit that people could buy and use for replacing above-the-roof chimneys?"
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What if you knocked it down and installed pipes at roofline. The only way to get maximum efficiency from hot water or steam, is to have another heat exchanger after the boiler, converting the rest to hot air.
Greg
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Call a heating contractor for free estimates:)
I called a old friend Lou, who went thru this same situation a few years ago. his chimney was bad and he had one pipe steam system.
local contractors wanted 15 grand to rebuild and line his chimney so he priced converting to forced hot water heat with heating for domestic hot water.
his overall gas bill dropped by over 50%:) the new boiler conversion cost less than the chimney rebuild. he has thermostats on each radiator so some rooms are just kept above freezing in winter, up till the conversions all rooms were same temperature. his old steam boiler and hot water tank was humngous. they raised the pipes so he has more basement head room too. his wife wants to remodel the basement into a game room...... endless hot water too:)
he had the chimney above the roof line taken down last year over safety issues. his wife wants most of the interior taken down to get more space in home.
he did lose a wood burning fireplace in the living room, he had gas logs installed and said how nice to never haul wood or ashes again........ direct vent i believe
Given his report I encourage the OP to price a steam to forced hot water conversion for his side of the property since he pays the fuel bills.
the other owner can do whatever he wants at his own schedule unless the chimney could fall in a storm and do damage.........
If I were OP I would buy 2 CO alarms, one for his unit and the other for the tenants on the other side. since CO2 could endanger both units
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He said he RENTS OUT his property. The other property is the one that is owner occupied. So the fuel bills aren't an issue. But if the cost of the chimney is more than a few thousand, I sure would price out the conversion as you suggested. Also, there are various state, utility rebates etc that may apply.

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You also need to find out appropriate Fire Code and building regulations. Some jurisdictions may require repairs, others not, some require repair by a licensed tradesman, etc. Local law affects your property insurance too.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
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thats good when the interior of the chimney is poor, but overall structurally sound..... but from the photo the entire chimney looks bad, the outside appears to need rebuilt
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+1 to that brother.
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This is just an update to answer some of my own questions in case anyone is interested or finds the information to be useful.
Two different chimney repair companies each said that it "may" be possible to try to repair this chimney, but both strongly recommended against it. One, before looking at the chimney said that sometimes they can repair and save old chimneys like this one by wrapping them with wire lath and then applying a double coat of waterproof cement, depending on the condition of the bricks. But, after looking at this chimney, he said the bricks are too dmaged and the chimney is too far gone to try to save it -- it needs to be torn down and a new chimney built from the roof line up, with new flashing, etc. He said it is not stable enough and is in danger of falling over. The other company said it may be possible to try to repair the but the repair probably wouldn't last very long.

I still don't know the answer to this question.

The two different chimney repair companies that gave me estimates so far, and each one independently quoted the same amount to remove the existing chimney and build a new one from the roof up including flashing etc. -- they each said $4,000.
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