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.
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:
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