When you use your fireplace a lot, you take special care to make sure that you keep it cleaned up in between usage, that you keep the glass fireplace doors clean, and that you keep the hearth clear of ashes and debris. But just as it’s important to keep the inside of your fireplace clean, it’s equally important to do a visual check on the exterior of your chimney. One thing that you want to be especially aware of is the condition of the mortar that’s holding your bricks together.

What To Look For

When you do a visual inspection of your chimney, what you’re looking for is crumbling mortar. Sometimes heavy rains can cause the mortar to wear away, and sometimes, when the weather is cold, your mortar goes through something called the freeze-thaw cycle. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America website, “(M)asonry materials deteriorate quickly when exposed to the freeze/thaw process, in which moisture that has penetrated the materials periodically freezes and expands causing undue stress.” And if your chimney is made up of stone, even though the stone itself is impenetrable by the water, the uneven shape of the stones means that it takes a lot of mortar to hold them together. And more mortar means more opportunity for penetration by precipitation.

What Is Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing, also known as brickpointing or repointing, is the process of removing the old and deteriorating mortar joints and putting new mortar in its place. Mortar joints refer to the spaces between the bricks that are filled with mortar. If your mortar is deteriorating and tuckpointing is required, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. One thing is how old your chimney is, and what type of mortar was used during the construction of your chimney. Another consideration is whether all of your chimney needs tuckpointing or if only parts of it need to be tuckpointed. Also, the mortar that you use for tuckpointing needs to match the old mortar, not just in color, but also in structural strength and consistency. If it doesn’t, your chimney might have unnecessary stress in certain areas.


Although researching the internet might give you the idea that you can do a tuckpointing project on your own, you may want to rethink this decision. It can be a very labor intensive task, and it’s important that a complete assessment be done so that the job is done right. In order to make sure that this is the case, you’ll want to hire a professional.

Who To Call

You want your chimney to look good, but you might ask yourself if tuckpointing is really all that important. The answer is a resounding yes. Besides looking bad, damaged mortar can also be dangerous. Left untreated, moisture can continue to seep into your chimney, and other parts of your fireplace could also be damaged. To make sure that the job is done right, give the professionals at Copper Top Chimney Services a call. These CSIA certified sweeps can offer expert advice and service when it comes to tuckpointing your chimney.