and now I need a new chimney

blackcats13July 22, 2009

It never ends. The project manager told me this morning that they aren't tearing off the shingles? flashing? around my chimney because the chimney is rotted and needs to be replaced. Says their mason will be out today and the number he gave me for comparison is 3,500 - 4k. Yesterday we found out that we need 1K worth of replacement decking. Being that this is an old house and the PO was CAULKING leaks, I guess I'm not shocked. The decking we could see from underneath looked good, but that was probably less then half the roof.

So, I know this is a *big deal* repair, right? I mean, I can't let this one go can I? I'm about to go check Angie's list for mason's, but how am I going to get someone out right away? I haven't the slightest idea how I'm going to pay for it. They can't complete the roof until this is done. I mean, they can do everything else, but...

Today should have been the last day, Friday my parents are coming to visit for a week. I feel like crawling into a hole.

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that sounds like a normal estimate for a chimney rebuild. Do you actually use the chimney? If you don't need it they could just knock is down to a certain point and then reroof with out it.

That would be the cheapest solution.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 11:17AM
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No, it's not the kind for a fireplace. I think it's for the furnace maybe? Does that have a different name? I wish I had a fireplace! Kinda. If I did, that would probably need to be rebuilt too!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 11:27AM
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They are both called chimneys.

If you have a furnace actually venting into it you need a chimney but there is a possibility that you can just vent your furnace elsewhere. When the mason comes ask him about it. A mason or chimney sweep should be able to look down the chimney to see if anything is venting into it. Also you can look at your furnace and see where it is venting out.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 11:45AM
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I agree to make sure the chimney is actually used. When we bought our house, we also needed a new roof. The chimney needed repair, but it was for a coal furnace that no longer existed. We originally thought we might use it as a means to run a steel stove pipe, but decided against the cost. It was much cheaper to have it ran up the inside walls and build around it

If it's not used, just have them knock it off and roof over it. We had them lower ours to the attic floor and repair the roof. We saved the bricks and used them outside.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:04PM
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Maybe this is a stupid question? Is there any other way I can make sure it's used? The mason comes on Friday. The roofing company should be done today or tomorrow at the latest. I suppose I could take the word of the roofing company's mason, but I'm not sure how I feel about that since they will get a lot more $ then anticipated if they fix it.

This company does have a good rating on Angie's List, so theoretically they should be trustworthy, but I'm not a very trusting person...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:20PM
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a chimney sweep or even a home inspector should be able to tell you.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:23PM
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Well, sort of good news. The roofing company took down the part of the chimney that was in danger of falling, put some kind of reinforcement fabric and roofing cement down to buy us a couple of months and finished the roofing job. The highly rated mason will come out Friday afternoon and give me a better idea of what is going on and what I need to do. They book nearly 2 months out which will give us time to gather up some cash. At least I don't have to worry about it TODAY.

Ahh, these old houses. Never a dull day.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 6:25PM
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our chimney was failed when we bought the house - all of the fireplaces had been blocked decades ago. We have no gas (or other combustion) equipment, so there was nothing venting to the chimney(like a heater, hot water heater, etc). Our friend is a roofer and brought over his doodad (crane?) and his other doodad (cherry picker?) and brought the chimney down to below the roofline. He fixed the hole in the roof where the chimney was, and we recycled the bricks into a path. The whole project cost less than 1000.

I felt bad taking away the chimney's character, but it would have cost probably $3000 to rebuild it - and the chimney wasn't even functional.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 11:15PM
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Perhaps you will get a pleasant surprise on Friday when the mason provides an estimate. $3k seems awfully high. Usually a chimney rebuild means from the roof line up; that's where years of exposure to the weather causes problems. These problems, however, are nearly always due to deterioration of the mortar, not the bricks (assuming that's what you have)themselves. Sometimes repointing the bricks is all that is needed; other times the chimney is dismantled to just below the roof line,and the bricks are cleaned and reused. In either case, a relatively small portion of the chimney is involved. It would be very, very unusual for a chimney to have suffered damage inside the house. A steep roof with a high chimney necessitating a good deal of scaffolding would, of course, increase labor costs a good deal.

If they are available in your area, there are systems for lining and strenghthening chimneys with a poured in place liner. Supaflu ( is one such system with which I have been personally very satisfied.

A safe, usable chimney is a very real asset in any house. It may be cheaper in the short term to simply abandon the chimney, but I would guess you'll be losing a good deal more than $3k in resale value by doing so.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 5:24AM
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So far all we know is that is in use. Oh well. I was promised a quote in my email on Monday. We thought that 3k seemed awfully high as well. But then, we have the barn style roof so maybe that's considered steep?

I was talking to the neighbor Friday (always a good source of info) and he told me the chimney had actually fallen about 6 years ago or so and crashed into his house! His dad and the guy that owned this property were friends and he (the neighbor) was told to 'just clean it up' and not say anything. Shortly after the owners son went up there with one of his "drunkard friends" (neighbor's words) and instead of rebuilding the whole thing just kinda shored it up and ... maybe added new brick on top of the rotted brick? Anyway, bottom line, no surprise that it's falling down. Or was, since the roofers took down the part in danger of falling.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 10:26AM
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If you have natural gas piped into your house, one solution is to get a gas furnace -- the new ones are so efficient (like 98%) that they can be vented horizontally with just a small pipe out through a wall. So, instead of a costly chimney remake, you can have a state of the art, energy efficient furnace. May be a better way to spend the money.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 6:02PM
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FYI: your "barn style" roof is called a gambrel roof...or, classier still, a dutch gambrel roof. So, next time you're at a party you can talk about fixing your dutch gambrel roof.....

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 6:34PM
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We do need a new gas furnace, but we're praying for a little more time. We'd like to get (replace) the old unworking CAC at the same time.

Dutch gambrel, huh? I will remember that. Of course, the problem is I don't know a lot of house people so they'll just ask what it is and I'll still have to say barn style ;)

GOOD NEWS!!! We got our numbers for our chimney - a little over 1K =D Hmm... it's kinda funny when your idea of good news is a $1,000 repair that you aren't ready for ;)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 2:55PM
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