My chimney has reached the end of its life. The mortar has turned to sand
and the chimney needs to be rebuilt through the upper floor, the attic, and
over the roof. A mason quoted me $3k, plus I will have to refinish a bedroom
wall and patch the roof. Since I was going to replace the heating system
(now I have single-pipe steam) I am considering buying a directly vented
furnace and water heater and do away with the chimney. I would gain quite a
bit of space in two rooms and a chase to run piping and wiring upstairs.
Would you consider this "remuddling"? One of my neighbors was shocked by
this idea and said that a 100 year old colonial would look just stupid
without a chimney. It is an internal chimney and only the 4 ft above the
roof is visible. It is not a structural element.
I'm a retired licensed Chicago mason contractor.
I would consider 3K a very reasonable estimate.
This job is very labor intensive.
Now my question is...why did the mortar deteriorate?
Where you running a gas burning appliance vented into an 'unlined' chimney?
In all my 40 years on the job, I never saw a interior protected chimney
deteriorated like you describe unless someone was venting into an unlined
I agree that it is a reasonable estimate. This is one of a few jobs I would
not consider doing myself. However, I can buy a new furnace for not much
more. The chimney is lined at least at the bottom where I can see into it.
There is the gas-fired steam boiler and gas-fired water heater venting into
I think that the problem is with the quality of the mortar. I have just
replaced front stairs and porch and the mortar was not much stronger than
wet sand even in areas not exposed to weathering. The house had a second
chimney used for a coal fired stove which was removed 40 - 60 years ago.
Last year when replacing the roof I demolished it below the roof line and I
could take it apart by hand. That chimney was not lined.
I agree preserving the style of the home is an important
consideration. I also think it can be done with the new furnace, maybe
the faux route. Try this guy: Mike Keefe at Keefe Heating,
773-936-0478 (cell, I think). I've used him for venting, and he was
reasonable and quick about it. I also agree that that's a good price
on the masonary work.
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