We understand when people laugh or misunderstand some of the terms used in the industry, such as repointing. And why would someone need to do that to keep it functioning? – “Need your masonry to face in a certain direction?”…“Picking up too much snow?”… We know, sometimes our industry terminology is just plain confusing, but “repointing” is a form or brick work that is very important to the integrity of the structure.
Directed to keep water out of your chimney, your masonry loses face, literally, if it does not. If snow makes its way into your masonry, you just picked up its worst enemy. “Repointing” is the actual technical term used for this process and one that is also sometimes confused with terms like refacing and tuckpointing.
Repointing means replacing the outer part of the mortar that holds the bricks in place. That is the only part of the mortar we can see, and it is the only part directly exposed to rain and snow.
As a result, that is where cracks first occur, and it is usually water in the mortar that threatens to bring the chimney down. If the bricks themselves are spalling, you either waited too late to repoint or used a mortar with incorrect compressive strength. Effective repointing requires skill, attention to detail, and hardening experience.
If your CSIA certified chimney sweep suggests that you “repoint your masonry”, you need to take this recommendation seriously. The hardest part of repointing is getting its hardness right. In this case, a mixture that is too dense can spell trouble. For this reason, it is much better to leave the job to a professional to ensure everything is done properly and up to code. Otherwise, your masonry work may literally come falling down at your feet.