How Do You Handle Spalling Chimney Bricks?

Seven of the chimney bricks are spalling. Suggested solutions:
One contractor blames cracks in the concrete crown and recommends "Crown Seal" which is a flexible crown repair ($229) along with "Chimey Saver" ($196) which is a water repellent to coat the bricks. Each has a 10-year warranty.
The second contractor says that the solution above is like putting wax on a rusty car and recommends replacing the seven bricks ($450).
Your comments, please.
BroJack
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Bro Jack wrote:

Ahh come on Blo Crack, we all know that doublewides don't have brick chimneys. Who are you trying to fool?
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Bro Jack wrote:

I would fix the seven bricks for less than $450. Then I would eliminate the source of water coming through the bricks.
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Agreed. You're looking at over $64 per brick for replacement. If you can find a matching brick on your own and have the time, you can handle replacement on your own. You can either get to work by hand with a hammer and chisel or use a rotary hammer. If you're not experienced, you can easily apply force the wrong way and damage surrounding brick with a rotary hammer. Replacing brick will correct the symptom (spalling brick) without addressing the cause.
Cracks in your crown will allow water to penetrate the brick. Water can easily damage brick in areas with freeze/thaw cycles. You will continue to have problems if this isn't corrected. I've used different products to repair crowns, and certainly replaced crowns entirely if they're severely deteriorated. I don't personally consider Chimney Saver snake oil, as another poster suggests, but I'm not a huge fan of Crown Seal. I've used other elastomeric products for crowns in decent condition. YMMV.
Familiarize yourself with the products suggested for application by contractor #1 here and make your own choices. I wouldn't consider just one solution or the other on their own:
<http://chimneysaver.com/
HTH,
mark __________________________ Mark Cato snipped-for-privacy@andrew.cmu.edu
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The second contractor is the one not peddling snakoil. Trust him.
John
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