By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Loose, crumbling mortar between the brick joints of a chimney indicates that exposure to weather extremes has taken its toll, so it’s a good idea to inspect it once a year. Tuckpointing is the process of repairing mortar brick joints, and it’s an important preventive maintenance project. If mortar is left unchecked and continues to disintegrate, you'll need expensive replacement work down the road, so when you see signs of loose mortar, don't hesitate to fix it or get it fixed.
A mason will charge $778 to repoint loose chimney mortar on a good sized chimney, about 150 square feet, which includes the labor and material; but you can do the job for $175, which covers the cost of the materials and renting the scaffolding needed. The project involves repointing or replacing mortar in the horizontal and vertical joints with a mortar mix. First the joint is cleaned out and all the loose mortar and dirt are removed, then the joint is moistened and new mortar is applied in the joint to provide a permanent seal. To carry and hold mortar while you’re working with it you can buy a metal hawk board or make one with a simple scrap piece of plywood that’s about 12-inches square. Nail it to the end of a short piece of dowel for a handle and you’re good to go.
Climbing up to the roof of a two-story house to inspect and repair a chimney can be dicey and dangerous even for the most sure-footed, so we recommend hiring out this job despite potential savings of 79 percent by doing it yourself. However, on a one-story house with a small chimney that’s accessible and easy to work on from a ladder or low scaffold, it’s doable for a handy homeowner.
The Brick and Stone Guy website has useful videos about Tuckpointing and Masonry.
That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to tuckpoint a ceiling lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor. To customize the cost to where you live add your ZIP Code in the cost box.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2019
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.