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Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 3:17 AM

I've been repointing the flashing on a chimney and noticed the capping is badly corroded with bits of concrete spalled off and some of the steel wire reinforcement exposed.

It's been patched up over the years with mortar but I've decided to hack off all the loose crud and cast a new cap in situ.

Question, do I need to chop out past all the steel, or can it be cleaned and painted, or ignored.

If I remove all the steel, do I need to replace it? It's hardly structural, but a bit of fine steel mesh (chicken wire? Galvanised mesh? etc) might add to the structural integrity.

I'm not looking for perfection but a good quality sound repair which will give another say 20-30 years.

The chimney in question is no longer used. But I'm not allowed to block or remove the chimney pot as Mrs Cat says the Jackdaws like playing, nesting, falling down it

Any advice on concrete.. or minimum section thickness?... might just go for some ready mixed (just add water stuff)

Del

(BTW. I'll be working off a roofing ladder or standing on the ridge, but will be wearing a full harness clipped onto a rope round the chimney... didn't need that sort of stuff 20 years ago but I recognise my limitations these days. There a flat roof below anyway to break the fall)

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#1

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 4:20 AM

Can you add a picture?

Will this help? The guys who did it maybe can spare some advice.

I would not ignore the steel but prepare it with an anti-corrosion coating so you can re-use it.

Dont fall off the ladder. Ms Cat still needs you to get all them birds out of the chimney (unless you do a permanent cap like in the video)

Happy hunting cementing.

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#2
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 4:40 AM

Pictures?! You want the moon on a stick!

OK then

It's not the actual chimney pot that's the problem, it's the concrete slab... maybe there's a problem of terminology... ah, maybe it's the chimney terminal? Some guy on Youtube calls it a chimney crown... wha'eva'

Anyhow you can see the poor state of it from the pic.

Ah, I found this vid which is pretty helpful.

Del

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#3
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 5:22 AM

OMG, I just realised that I am missing a chimney crown all together. I will watch this thread and see if can install one.

For me it looks like you can get away without the mesh/steel reinforcement, no?

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#4

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 6:37 AM

How about a hammered copper shroud around it, filled with grout?

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#5

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 7:12 AM

Do they have precast caps available over there?

about 35 years ago, my dad had had the same issue.... When we started with the cap, but ended up we didn't stop till we were in the basement of the house.

Yes we ended up replacing the whole chimney.

Wasn't that bad, it was a 2 day affair. But we bought the precast cinder blocks and flues, like this. And rebricked on the top.

I thought it was cheap, but it weathered pretty good and still going strong.

just be careful, don't want to have to call the fire department to rescue a cat off the roof.

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#6
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 8:22 AM

Don't think I could carry a precast slab up a ladder... and I'm too stupid to think of pulling it up on a rope.

Nope I've not seen pre-cast ones.

Del

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#8
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 8:57 AM

on a side note,....

when I visit my dad whose 90 years old.... I can visit him every week, and in November on the most windy cold day, he would want his chimney swept..... He was good enough to not stoke the furnace for a few hours for me......

It was still a pain in the butt with the wind blowing, hot ash coming through and a very steep pitch roof.

since then, when I'm visiting in the summer I'll climb on the roof to check out the chimney to see if it needs repairs and run a brush through before its needed.

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#7

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 8:23 AM

I've repaired caps like that with ready mix. You also need to apply some type of sealant to it when you are done. http://www.conproco.com/ConproShieldM.htm I do the sealant every year and it will prolong the life of the cap considerably.

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#9

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 9:23 AM

I would continue the brick work up in a pyramid style with copper wire #10 solid strand run through the structure crisscrossed on each level, then wrap the structure with copper mesh screen and attach the wire to the mesh to hold it securely....then coat it with mortar and seal it .....

...or maybe something like this...

...or this...

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 9:35 AM

Or this - I've done a couple of them using a piece of blue stone for the cap...

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#12
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 9:49 AM

Woo, now that is cool.

I've Just been up there... what a state!

No need for chisels, most of it came away in my hand. A couple of bangs with a 2lb hammer to break the big bits and it just all lifted off.

Mrs Cat wouldn't let me lob the chunks down onto the lawn so I had to bring it down bucket full at a time.

At least it's down to nice clean brickwork... no worried about steel, there was only one random rod corroded to nothing. I've turned the terracotta pot upside down so it's stuck down the hole and won't blow off. I'll maybe get it cleaned up and the shuttering up today... better check the weather don't want the shuttering to get soaked.

I think it's really a case of a stitch in time saving nine...

I'll maybe get some pics.

Del

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#22
In reply to #9

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 7:53 PM

I never tire of the beautiful handiwork by people who obviously take great pride in their work.

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#11

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 9:45 AM

One word of caution, relying on the chimney to break your fall is ill advised as you may uncover an unseen weakness in the brickwork at the most inopportune time, and have the chimney meet you on the ground! Secure your rope to a more robust anchor point.

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#13

The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 10:22 AM

Ha, the problems have all changed now!

There was a damp proof course of some bitumen based material, probably roofing felt which has all decayed. Should I replace it and if so, with what?

I've turned the chimney pot upside down and stuffed it down the hole to stop it falling off as it's now completely free.

Interweb suggest lead or copper sheet.. yeah right... have you seen the price?

I have EPDM sheet but that would probably not withstand the temperatures of a chimney... mind the fire doesn't get used, and if it were reinstated then a liner should be fitted. Should I use roofing felt (I prob have some lying around somewhere in the garage), but again flammability issues).

Am I being too fussy?

I could run the DPC to the outer edge of the terracotta pot and a little way up the outside of it so it doesn't actually enter the chimney. Or I could stop it 1/2" short of the pot.

So there I was worrying about steel reinforcement when the real prob' is DPC

Maybe just leave out the DPC, it will still be better than it was before!

This shows how much rubble I had to bring down... mind it's keeping me fit, and Mrs Cat has made me a nice cup of tea.

Hope you'r not to exhausted reading this...

Del

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 10:25 AM

Is that a tiled roof? Nice...

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#19
In reply to #14

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 3:30 PM

Tiles are very common in that part of the world, especially with younger buildings.

Slate used to be commonplace. Nowadays it tends to get used for niche applications such as in the repair or matching of heritage buildings' roofs in adjacent new-build. Slate is difficult to obtain new, being largely imported from Spain these days or being obtained second-hand from building materials recovery specialists. Tiles are easier to obtain, much cheaper per unit area though, of course, are much heavier - a factor that must be taken into account when proposing the re-surfacing of roofs on buildings that have been designed for something lighter; a family member told a story of a slate-roof house that had had tiles as a replacement and the upper walls bowing-out and cracking with the extra weight.

Tiles have a minimum pitch angle; slate can be used successfully at shallower angles than tiles and have fewer limitations on sizes.

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#20
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Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 3:34 PM

Oops. Login didn't work.

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#21
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Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 3:57 PM

So your THE anonymous poster!

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#27
In reply to #21

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/07/2015 5:05 AM

That would be telling...

;-)

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#15
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Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 11:11 AM

Maybe Mrs Cat could catch the pieces as you toss them down?!?

I'd just clean off what's there and redo it with ready mix and a good sealer.

By-the-way, you might consider masking off the top course of bricks and then some paper/cloth to cover the rest of the chimney before you start putting mix up on top...saves a LOT of cleanup later!

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#16
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Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 11:47 AM

Got it cleaned off and the pot re-positioned and held in place with a small fillet of cement.

I'll put EPDM sheet over the remaining brickwork and concrete over that to about 1.5" thickness at the edge unless someone can give a different/better recommended thickness?

One irritation was the corner of a top corner brick breaking away as I was cleaning it up. Some idiot had put a masonry nail about 1" from the corner (probably when there was a TV aerial or some such) . To keep the look of it I glued it back in place with rapid epoxy (don't tell the others). I'll make good the pointing under it and above it before doping the concrete.

Del

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 12:14 PM

Epoxy is fine...I've used this stuff with good results too...

http://usa.sika.com/en/residential/residential-home/product-type/multipurpose-adhesives.html

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#23
In reply to #13

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/06/2015 9:02 PM

A few thoughts... Thanks for sharing. I haven't worked brick in years. Very nice looking English bond brick house. The chimney mortar looks to be @ a 1/2 " joint size with a very course sand base. I would expect at the age (guestimate) you would be starting to see some ingress of moisture. Tight counter flashing but the mortar doesn't give the appearance of a tight bond at the brick. The bucket would have scared me as it appears underbuilt for the task. A heavy rubber bucket with a thick steel wire suited for the task would be my preference.

Most importantly -By chance was it Yorkshire Tea?

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/07/2015 2:20 AM

Cheers, yeah, the big bucket wasn't on the pitched roof, I used the small rubber wire handled buckets which are a managable weight.
The big bucket is just something to put the rubble in before It's taken down from the flat roof to groundlevel.

The flashing will get repointed when I've done the crow/cap/whateveritscalled...

Del

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#28
In reply to #25

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/07/2015 7:05 AM

I learned at a very early age the importance of knowing your limits,and basic physics.

I was a cocky know-it-all teenager,and my first day on a construction job I was told to

remove the excess leftover brick form the 2nd story of a building.

I was not allowed to throw them off,because of breakage.The owner was very frugal.

Analysing the situation,I noticed there was a beam and pulley that was used for

hoisting material up,so I thought,why not use it to take the bricks down.

I found an empty nail barrel,about 25 gallons size or so,as best I can

remember.

Things are still kind of fuzzy about the whole shebang,but I will do the best

I can.

I used a rope and pulled the empty keg to the top,and tied the end off to a stump.

I then went on the roof and filled the keg with bricks.

Went back down to the stump,and to make sure I had a good grip,I wrapped the rope

around my hand several times.

I then untied the rope,intending to lower the barrel slowy to the ground.

This is where a heretofor unknown force called gravity took over.

The barrel of bricks weighed twice my weight, and when the rope was untied,it

started down at an accellerating rate,and I started up at the same rate,and I met the

barrel somewhere about half way.

I was stunned by the impact,but I was determined not to fall,I refused to let go of

the rope,even when my fingers jammed into the top pulley,and they stayed jammed

with the rope burning through, until the barrel hit the ground,breaking the bottom of

the barrel out,and dumping all of the brick.

Of course,now I weighed more than the empty barrel,and it started back up,and I

started back down.

Once again I met the barrel half way, but I still held on to the rope,even though I

nearly lost awareness of my surroundings.

Finally I hit the ground, on top of the pile of bricks left for me by the barrel, and I

was thinking: Whew! I'm glad that's over.

But it wasn't over.

I must have blacked out briefly upon impact,and had let go of the rope.

Then of course the barrel started back down.

I don't remember anything after that,except an image burned into my retina and

brain of a barrel getting larger and larger,right before the lights went out.

I woke up with a bright overhead light shining in my eyes,and faces hovering over me.

Apparently I had set some kind of record for the least amount of work hours before

filing a claim for workman's comp.

It was due to this accident that I began to study physics in earnest.

One never knows from whence his inspiration will come.

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#51
In reply to #28

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/12/2015 2:48 PM

II've seen that story before, somewhere.

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: The Futility of Planning!

08/12/2015 6:29 PM

TThose darn Android devices and this word editor, always double types the first letter in the first sentence! plus other things, but that's another thread yet to come

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#18

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 3:17 PM

Solar heating systems, chimney pot repairs, bow-making - is there no end to this cat's talent? ;-)

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#24

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/06/2015 10:45 PM

The chicken wire is just to help keep the mortar together as you apply it and until it drys. Don't worry about the rust once you've encased it in mortar it shouldn't rust that much and as long as the mortar doesn't crack up it shouldn't matter. The cap is really to prevent water from getting down between the bricks and in winter freezing and cracking or allowing steam to form if it gets really hot. Since it's not an active chimney the freezing and cracking is your main worry. If you put a good concrete sealant on it after it dries you'll probably help prevent future issues.

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#26
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 2:21 AM

Cheers, good idea.

Del

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#29

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 7:31 AM

Mr. Cat, I would suggest two constructs for the sake of longevity:

1. You could use a Non-shrink/non-metallic grout. Concrete or mortar is very porous and will absorb water, and you'll end up in the same boat again a few years down the road. You don't want to let water infiltrate down into the supporting brink and mortar because of the freeze-thaw issue will produce popped chimney brick courses.

Make sure you provide at least a 1/2-inch thickness of grout at the perimeter lip, and taper up no less than a 1/4-inch per foot slope. Much higher slopes are recommended to shed rain.

If you want, after the grout cures you can paint the surface with a bituminous paint to add additional level of protection.

2. You could fashion a sloped galvanized sheet steel cap to cover the top of the chimney. I would recommend brazing the corner joints, as well as providing at least an overhang (past the brick faces) with a drip edge. I would recommend a slope of at least 1/2-inch per foot upwards. Use a good high quality silicone rubber sealant at the clay flue-cap interface and along the underside of the drip edge.

You should provide a bituminous paint on the steel cap to help prevent future corrosion.

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#30
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 8:03 AM

Whoops , too late... I've done it

I put on an EPDM sheet as a DPC tacked down to the cleaned up and patched cement with waterproof PVA. I've cast 1.5" of concrete on top of that with a good slope. I'll re-do the pointing when the concrete has cured and the shuttering removed.

I may over paint the concrete with a sealant and I'll run a bead of sealant around the pot/crown join.

Ooooh look you can see one of my solar hot water panels too.

Del

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#31
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 8:12 AM

Good style Mr. Cat, good style!

I came to the party late with my suggestions...

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#35
In reply to #31

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 1:26 PM

But a hearty thank you for your suggestions because some of us lurkers out here are thinking our chim-chimmeny caps are in need of attention before real damage starts to occur.

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#36
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 1:31 PM

You are very welcome Sir.

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 8:26 AM

Consider this for sealing the mortar:

Sodium Acetate.

A little known sealant that is also used in potato chips to give that salt/vinegar taste.

It also used for instant reusable cold packs.

Non toxic,lasts a long time.

You can buy Sodium Acetate on line,or if you are a real DIY er you can make your

own from vinegar and baking soda.

Instructions can be found on web.

I have included a link to get you started:

Nice work, by the way.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070806101941.html

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 8:47 AM

Cheers, I shall buy some salt and vinegar crisps to consume in the name of research

Del

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 11:54 AM

Be sure you wash them down vigorously with a pint!

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 2:46 PM

Interesting, too bad Cal-trans didn't know about this before they built the new Bay Bridge, could have saved a lot of money and red faces!

The question is, how does it stand up to the "lick-taste" test?

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 2:55 PM

Is Cal-Trans the company that receivedhuge bonuses for getting it done ahead of schedule?

My mistake,... I just got done reading it.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 3:37 PM

I don't want to hijack the Cat's thread but the conundrum of the bridge is scary at best. The main anchor bolts have been a problem from the day they planted them! I haven't been across it and won't let family members go across it. And sure as hell don't want to be around it during any sizable Earth Quake either.

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#40

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 4:49 PM

http://www.theruststore.com/Rust-Converter-Gallon-P40.aspx

Del, above is a link to a site that markets rust conversion chemicals.

I have used this type of product several times to treat oxidized rebar and other steel that was still salvageable rather than to replace it.

There are several name brands that will work well as they are pretty much all composed of the same chemical makeup.

I have also purchased this same chemical in the LASCO label from Home Depot in smaller quantities so I am sure the local hardware store either has some or can get it.

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#41
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Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 5:33 PM

Cheers, it turned out there was only one skinny bit of steel rod and it came away with all the concrete. I haven't put any steel in as the concrete is sitting on a good solid bed of brick and I don't think it reed reinforcing.

Ta for the link.

More pics when the shuttering comes off.... I hope it looks ok

Del

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 8:00 PM

Great pics! Your home is awesome and beautiful. I deeply favor brick & tile homes and wish all homes would be built as well as they are.

Have a great weekend and stay safe!

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#43

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/07/2015 9:31 PM

Ha, ha, when I lived in Wales, the jackdaws nested in the chimney, and when the chicks got too heavy, they ended up in the fireplace. I had a fun time chasing them from under the furniture until I could get them out of the house.

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#44

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/08/2015 8:05 AM

I realize it is now too late for this piece of advice,but it may help someone in

the future.

There are 3 types of mortar mix,at least in the USA.

They are type S,type N and Type M.

The first two are low strength general purpose mixes.

The type M has extra portland cement and is very high strength,made primarily for

below grade applications,where strength and water resistance is required.

If type M is not available, add 2 scoops of Portland Cement to each bag of mortar.

This will bring it up to and surpass the Type M specification.

Before modern materials were used for sealing basements,the recommended method

was a thin layer (1/8") of 50% portland cement and sand,spread uniformly over the

surface,and kept wet for at leat 24 hours,followed by a second coat of same mix.

If done properly,and kept wet during the cure period,it was waterproof and did not

crack,since the underground temperature and moisture is fairly constant once

back filled.

I have seen water tight basements 50+ years old with no leaks or cracks using this

method.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/08/2015 12:05 PM

I never could replicate G-ma's secret recipes, the directions were something like, 2 pinches of this or 1 pinch of that, but she never told us what the volume was of her pinch Now she's gone ......

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/08/2015 5:08 PM

1 Scoop= 1 rounded shovel full,using a standard(ahem!) pointed shovel.

The amount is not super critical,so approximate values are ok.

I am sure there is an engineer out there somewhere that will tell you to weigh the sand,

measure moisture content of the sand,consult a chart for the proper amount of water

using a calibrated bucket,etc,etc.but I have found that close is good enough unless you

are building a nuclear plant.

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/08/2015 7:41 PM

Sorry, I couldn't resist

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#45

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/08/2015 12:00 PM

I've taken off the shuttering, the top is clean and good but the edges are a tad disappointing. It's a bit thin on one corner, I could really have done with another bag of concrete, but I'm a lazy cat and a cheapskate

Still it's vastly better than it was before, and once I've done the re-pointing and painted it with sealer it should last for a good few years.

I'll scrub the marks off the chimney pot too. Not bad for a first attempt... I can't wait to do another

Del

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#48
In reply to #45

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/08/2015 5:38 PM

Careful what you wish for. One lightning strike and you'll get your wish, in spades.

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#50
In reply to #45

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/09/2015 8:27 AM

Vinegar works good at cleaning up the splashes...looks good too me!

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#53
In reply to #45

Re: Repairing a Chimney Capping

08/12/2015 6:32 PM

Nice job Del! I know who PM on my next job GA from me

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