Chimneys are funny things. They can last a very long time, if they are properly cared for. However, they can crumble faster than the Roman Empire if left to the elements. If you have a chimney that has been left unmaintained for years, you might want to look into a few chimney repair and restoration services. The following three services can restore your chimney in different ways.
Chimneys collect a ton of creosote. Creosote can cause chimney fires and minor chimney explosions. Resurfacing the entire interior of the chimney includes more than just a thorough sweeping or scrubbing. It sands away at the bricks inside to make them a very clean, smooth surface. The contractor may even ad a new thin coat of concrete to cover the bricks and prevent new creosote layers from building up.
When some of the bricks on the topmost part of the chimney are loose or there is clearly some mortar missing, the mason will climb up to the chimney and re-mortar the bricks. This involves carefully removing the loosest bricks and slathering them with mortar before gently pushing and tapping them back into place. In areas where the bricks will not budge, but there are clearly some holes in the mortar, the mason will fill the holes with fresh mortar and tool the mortar to look like the surrounding mortar. Then it is all left to dry and cure.
Some chimneys are just too far gone. When your chimney is half missing or crumbling all around, the only thing the mason/contractor can do is completely rebuild the chimney. This starts with tearing down all of the brick and mortar that is too degraded to remain. Then the mason makes sure the remaining bricks are solid and will not break off. On top of those bricks the mason builds layers of bricks and mortar until the chimney is the original height. Then the mason caps the chimney, and uses a piece of wire mesh across the very top to prevent animals and birds from entering the chimney. After it all sets, your chimney is complete again.
A Combination of the above Services
Your mason/contractor may just decide that your chimney needs two or all three of the above services. If that is the case, they will tell you so. They will also give you an estimate before starting any chimney repair work. Contact a company, like Sposato Masonry, for more help.