Protect & Strengthen Your Chimney With Expert Masonry Repair & Waterproofing Services

The masonry exterior of your chimney above the roof line takes a lot of weather abuse. Rain, snow, sleet, and ice can all take a toll, and because the portion of the chimney that extends above the roof line isn’t warmed by the house, it’s especially susceptible to the freeze/thaw effects of winter.

You see, masonry chimneys are porous, which means they tend to absorb and hold water. As temperatures drop and rise, the water inside the brick and mortar of the masonry freezes and thaws, contracting and expanding. This freeze/thaw cycle can lead to masonry damage:

  • cracking and receding mortar joints
  • spalling, cracking, flaking, and popping brick

If you have cracks in the joints between your brick or minor brick damage, we can help. We repoint joints by carefully removing the damaged joints, carefully matching the new mixture to the old, and carefully packing new mortar in. We can also use a trowel-grade, waterproofing sealant to replace spalling brick. But we don’t just stop with masonry repair — we work hard to prevent future damage…

Want a Long-Lasting, Beautiful Chimney? Invest In Waterproofing

Water is what causes the majority of the exterior deterioration we see, which is why it’s our mission to prevent water from being absorbed in the first place. We do this by waterproofing chimneys throughout Philadelphia and the Main Line.

Here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service, we use the best chimney and masonry waterproofing product available, a VOC-compliant, solvent-based water-repellent spray. Why do we use ChimneySaver instead of another product found in a hardware or home improvement store?

ChimneySaver Water Repellent protects masonry and concrete.
  • The product is 100% vapor-permeable, which means it allows vapor produced by the fire to safely exit, but it doesn’t allow rain, snow, or outside moisture to enter. This can’t be said for a lot of the other products out there. In fact, many other products, like silicone coatings and sealers, can slow down the exit of water vapors, leaving them trapped in the brick where they can cause destruction from the inside out.
  • ChimneySaver provides protection against efflorescence, stain, mildew, fungus, and the freeze/thaw cycle that can cause brick to spall and crack.
  • Another reason we love this product is that it doesn’t leave a glossy appearance or alter the look of our neighbors’ chimneys. In fact, no one will know how or why your chimney stays looking so good.
  • ChimneySaver carries a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty and can greatly reduce your chances of a chimney leak.

Chimney leak prevention isn’t just a myth. You can do something to keep leaks from occurring! Have your damaged masonry promptly and professionally repaired and invest in professional waterproofing services today. Call 610-626-2439 or fill out our online appointment request form and give your chimney the protection it needs.

Should You Waterproof Your Chimney Brick?

The short answer is yes. However, it’s really important that you know why the answer is yes.

Chimneys stick up out of the roof and are exposed to the weather year round. Rain, snow, sleet, and hail can all take a toll on your chimney and the brick over time, and the common denominator in all of these things is water. Water is the most damaging element to your chimney and venting system. Water can destroy brick and cause it to crack, which leads to lots of bigger problems down the road. Add to that freeze-thaw cycles, and you’re looking at a lot of costly repairs.

What is a freeze/thaw cycle?

This is when the water gets into the cracks in those bricks and then freezes. Water expands when frozen, so it makes those cracks even bigger. Over time, it weakens the structure of your chimney and causes a lot of problems – even things like chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Can I DIY Chimney Waterproofing?

We don’t advise anyone to trying waterproofing themselves. The best method to waterproof your chimney – and the one we recommend the most – is to call and hire a certified, professional chimney technician.

Why do we suggest this over DIY?

  1. There could still be damage. If you apply a waterproofing sealant to the brick and don’t repair any brick or mortar that needs repairing first, the chance of you getting the most out of the application is not good. We find many instances where the application has not been able to do what it is intended to do because there are still cracks and crevices where water can still enter. You must identify and take care of those repairs first before applying the sealant.
  2. Risk of accidents. St. Luke’s University Health Network states, “Falls are among the most common household accidents, especially for young children and the elderly, and they can lead to serious injuries like concussions, broken bones, and even death.” Now think of where you will need to be for a good deal of the time doing the waterproofing application – on a ladder and on the roof. And you will need at least one hand free to apply the sealant.
  3. We have professional know-how. Most don’t have the expertise to get the job done right the first time. We train on not just the job at hand, but also the safe application of the job. We have the equipment, eye protection, respiratory protection, roof climbing harnesses, and safety equipment – including tie-offs and ropes – to do things right. When you do hundreds of these year-in and year-out, you see it all and know how to tackle issues.

Leave it to us – call or book your appointment online now.

What Is Tuckpointing?

Pointing, or tuckpointing, is a method of brick repair used in chimneys, where missing or damaged mortar is replaced by a new material to strengthen the bond between bricks and provide excellent protection from exposure to the elements.

To do this, you will need some special tools and materials, such as a diamond blade grinder, masonry trowel and jointing tool, sharp-edged chisels, mortar mix, building sand, and hydrated lime. Here’s what the process might look like:

  • Before starting work on the brick repair project, make sure that the area around the chimney is clear of debris and loose material.
  • To apply pointing or tuckpointing effectively to your chimney brick, use the grinder to cut a groove about 1/8″ – 1/4″ deep into the existing mortar all around each brick.
  • Then use a jointer tool to form a V shape in the grooves that help hold the new type of mortar firmly in place.
  • Once you have all this done, thoroughly mix up some mortar mix with building sand according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Now fill each V-shaped groove with your prepared mixture and then smooth out overhanging excess with your masonry brush for an even finish.

To sum up, what may seem like a simple enough process from the outside isn’t as easy as you might think. In addition to everything above, there’s the necessity of matching the existing mortar to the old accurately – both in color and composition.

Don’t DIY – trust our experts to get it right. We’d love to help you out.

What Are the Components of My Masonry Chimney?

Familiarizing yourself with the components and structure of your chimney is important for both safety and efficiency. To begin, let’s discuss the anatomy of your structure. An exterior masonry chimney typically consists of three key elements: the firebox, smoke chamber, and flue or flue liner.

  • The firebox is the location where you build a fire and burn your fuel. It is typically located directly below the damper, which regulates airflow from the living space to pass through the flue to vent smoke from the firebox

  • Above and parallel to this pathway lies the smoke chamber, a upside-down funnel that helps create an updraft and forces smoke up towards the flue, so that it can be safely vented out through the top of the chimney.
  • Last, but not least is the flue or flue liner – this component serves as a passageway for combustion gases that ascend up through your chimney system to be released into the outside atmosphere.

When cared for properly, these components work together seamlessly to keep you safe while burning fires inside your fireplace.

There is a lot of math and physics involved in making sure the venting system works correctly. And having your masonry built right and repairs, when needed, is a must. Leave any all of your chimney brick repair services to a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified technician, like crew members here at Lou Curley.

Give Us a Call

At Lou Curley’s Chimney Service, we already have the safety equipment needed, the expertise to repair the brick and apply the sealant, and the knowledge and know-how to get this done right the first time. Call us or schedule an appointment online and get this one off your list!


Call Lou Curley’s Chimney Service to deal with your chimney leak repairs. We can quickly determine if a chimney cap or custom chimney cap will fix the problem.