Saturday, 11 July 2009

Chim-chiminey, chim-chiminey....

Canadian winter is pretty hard on chimney brickwork, with the constant freeze/thaw cycle. Each spring, larger and larger bits of brick hit the ground so I decided it was time for some repairs. The fancy brickwork around the top looked nice but didn't help matters. It held the moisture and encouraged mould and lichen.

The two metal chimney liners are vents for gas fireplaces. The third chimney isn't used, but has a cap on it to keep animals out. A few years ago, a raccoon family used that chimney for access to their nice cosy nest behind my basement wall, but that's another story.
The brickie put up his scaffolding and removed ten courses of brick, and the rotten flues on the inside.

He couldn't match the brick colour exactly, but that's OK. How often do you look up and admire the chimney? Not often, unless like me you've just spent megabucks on getting it repaired.
New flues were installed and the detailed top has been replaced with a poured concrete cap.

Not so fancy, but much more practical, and I'm looking forward to a whole lot fewer shards of brick and crumbling mortar blocking the eavestroughs each spring.


  1. You are really getting a lot done around in and around your house! It is always something, isn't it?
    I think you are very brave to do all these things at the same time.

  2. Hope you'll be there a long time after having such work done.

    Our old house has just been totally gutted by the builder who bought it - I know it needed some work doing but not that much!

  3. New car, new kitchen, repairs. Sounds very familiar.

    Our Canadian friends were puzzled when we said that we don't have basements here in Oz. We don't have the need for heaters that are required to keep the foundations from cracking!

  4. nice job! we had a fieldstone fireplace/chimney in ND, and we were far enough north to have he same freezing-cracking problem, only in our case, it was stones that fell out, not bricks. one day one of us declared that he was going to fix it and departed for the hardware store to buy a bag of cement. after much mixing of cement & water & sand, i went inside to cook dinner, and he started the repair job. an hour later, he came in and asked me what i wanted to do with the extra stones.....

  5. I'm very close to having a lot of long-delayed repair work done to the house. Capping the chimney should have been on the list but I'd forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  6. isn't it amazing how much home repairs cost? we had to do some tuck pointing or something....I sure admire it now.....

  7. Oh yeah, we've had brickwork done on our chimney too. It costs the earth. And still leaks sometimes too.
    Yours looks good.

  8. Wow you have been busy! I can somewhat relate since we also do those in my father's house especially during the summer when I had to help paint the whole place for protection. Since houses in Norway are made of wood not bricks or stones because it's easier to warm up during the winter.

  9. You've sure done a ton of renovations lately! You must feel like you've moved into a new house. ;-)

  10. It's awesome! and boy do I understand the was a major surprise how much it costs to replace a chimney. But it's better than having those bricks topple upon an unsuspecting friend.
    I can't wait to hear about the raccoon squatters. I think our squirrel is gone, but we're not positive.

  11. Maybe the color will match better after the new section has aged a bit.

  12. Please forgive me, for not commenting in the past.
    You seems to have lot's of things to repair after the Winter.
    Sometimes I ask myself why we do live up in th North.
    Our Garden and bushes were really damaged this Winter with 1 meter or so with with Snow.---

    On Sunday, we at last get agree upon with our cat-sitters when we are driving from Norway to Southern France. Puuuhh.
    Felicia are expecting to have kittens any time now.
    Weather is changing from Sunny 25 C to Rainy 14 C- all within 24 hours.. . .

    btw. Thanks for your patience and all the wonderful comments you write.
    Hugs from

  13. Not to mention a little piece of mind once winter sets in. Which is, after all only a few weeks away now isn't it?

  14. Hello shammickite, i am another Rooke.My grandfarther was from Coombe Martin before he moved to Lancashire.His name was Reginald and he had a sister called Agnes.Could we be related? Take care, Craig Rooke.Burnley Lancashire England.

  15. Nice to see how well you take care! Yes, good working chimneys are important!

  16. Hi Craig Rooke! Not quite sure how to get in touch with you if you check back here please so email me at I have quite a bit of genealogical info about various Rook/Rooke families in N Devon so will probably be able to find a connection somewhere!

  17. Unfortunately capping the chimney usually happens after the raccoon visits.. The work looks fine. You sure are getting a lot done, eh? :)

  18. Beautiful chimney! Perhaps Craver is right and a bit of weathering will make the bricks match up more? Or, is there a possibility that the older bricks might be cleaned or bleached or somehow lightened? I know little about such things, so I'm just trying to imagine ways it might happen.

  19. So much work but so worth it all. What a process. I hate to think of the time that we have to do a few things like that too.


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