Buildling a Chimney CapCracked chimney crowns are the leading cause of chimney damage and No. 1 chimney repair we perform.  Chimney crown repair cost varies depending on the type and size of chimney; the extent of the damage; and accessibility to make the repair.

The least expensive repair involves resurfacing the crown and this is only suitable when the crown damage is limited to multiple hairline cracks. We apply a product that seals the masonry, keeping water out and preventing the cracks from deepening. The average cost for resurfacing a crown is $375.

When more extensive damage has been inflicted on the chimney crown, replacement is necessary. To complete the job, the old chimney crown needs to first be removed by chipping out the old mortar. If the damage was severe,  brick on the chimney may also need repair.

To create a new crown a form is constructed out of wood to fit the chimney with an overhang to minimize water running down the chimney. Concrete is poured into the form.  When the concrete is set, we remove the form. Sealing with asilane-siloxane clear penetrating water repellent on the sides of the chimney as well as the chimney crown help keeps moisture from getting into the chimney.  Complete chimney crown replacements range from $1,000 – $3,800 with the cost dependent on how much brick replacement needs to be done. The average cost in Chicago is about $1,000-$3000.

Of course, the best way to find out how much your chimney repair will cost, is to get a free, no obligation estimate. Give us a call today or complete our form. We’ll get back to you soon.


If you want to know how we create a new chimney crown you will want to watch this video.

The homeowner in Barrington Hills, Ill., didn’t really think about the chimney until they noticed leaking on the inside of the fireplace. A closer look revealed a deteriorated chimney cap. The original chimney was faulty—it  did not have a proper overhang. This allowed  water to work its way down inside the chimney, causing substantial damage to the chimney cap as well as the surrounding brick on the  fireplace.

We created a new custom-fit chimney crown out of concrete. The first step was to construct the wooden forms around the top of the brick fireplace. When secure, workers then poured the concrete. Metal rebar ensures that the concrete has a secure  hold to the  fireplace. A lip on the concrete keeps water flowing in the right direction – away  from the fireplace.

Once we had the chimney crown securely in place, mortar joints on the fireplace were ground out to ensure a good bond with the new mortar. Damaged bricks were replaced and the entire chimney was tuckpointed.  The final result is a chimney that looks brand new and will last another 2o years.

Even if your home is newer, improper installation of chimney caps can quickly deteriorate your brick. Make it a habit to check your chimney every few years for signs of deterioration. Efflorescence, cracks in the chimney crown and chipped mortar are a few of the signs to look for.

Questions about your fireplace? Give us a call at 708 388 2871.



ChimneyThe best way to avoid chimney leaks is to do periodic preventive maintenance. In particular check the chimney crown, chimney flashing, and brick and mortar. These areas are vulnerable to leaks. Water or moisture can penetrate, causing problems inside the home, including mold.

When talking to a tuckpointer about chimney leaks you may be asked how old the chimney is, what materials were used to build the chimney and how it was constructed. These three variables can reveal potential problem areas. The average homeowner may not know the answers but with a physical inspection,  a tuckpointer can find out quick enough.

Check chimney materials

☑ The chimney crown is often an area where leaks can occur, especially if it is made of mortar rather than concrete.  Mortar is not as strong as concrete and can absorb water as it deteriorates over time.

☑ The kind of brick and mortar used in the chimney is also a factor. Soft, porous brick is more likely to leak. Mortar mixed with too much sand can actually soak up water. Water repellant products can limit the impact and prolong durability.

☑   Chimney flashing is used in the area where the chimney and roof line meet. Flashing requires two layers of sheet metal. One layer covers the sides of the chimney and the other is embedded in the mortar joints (counter flashing) then folded down for further protection against moisture.

Check chimney condition

☑ Look for crumbling or missing pieces on the chimney crown.  Structural damage needs immediate attention. Small cracks in the crwn can often be repaired with a sealant.

☑ Rainfall can gather in the flashing area causing leaks through the joint. This can be repaired with a sealant and mesh fabric to make the joint stron enough to  repel water.

☑ For large cracks in the brickwork, tuckpointing with new mortar is recommended.

Chimney leaks can cause damage to a home. Understanding the problem is the first step to keeping your Chicagoland home in good condition. Finding someone who can repair the problem is essential and prudent.

Chicago chimney repair

Failure to address early signs of damage can result in more expensive repairs.

Harsh Chicago winters can take a toll on your chimney. The best way to avoid a costly brick chimney repair is to watch for early signs of deterioration. Inspect the brick, mortar, flashing and caulking of your chimney annually.  Here are three early signs that your chimney may need repair

1. Cracks in the chimney crown

Cracks in the chimney crown are one of the leading causes of leaking problems with a masonry chimney. Designed to divert water from the top of the chimney, the crown is sometimes incorrectly constructed of mortar which is vulnerable to cracking when exposed to freezing and thawing.   A small crack will quickly enlarge when water fills it, as it expands and contracts during freeze and thaw cycles. Replacing or repairing the crown is a relatively minor repair. The crown should be constructed with cast-in-place concrete, precast concrete or stone.

2. Cracks in the mortar

While bricks have a lifespan of 100 years or more, mortar has a much shorter life.  On a chimney, mortar can deteriorate faster because it is exposed on all sides to the wind, rain and the freeze and thaw cycles of Chicago winters. Removing the mortar and tuckpointing the areas affected is a minor repair.

3. Efflorescence on the brick

Efflorescence is a sign that water is penetrating the brick, leaving behind salt stains. When water gets between the flue and the structural masonry, this can cause efflorescence in the brick, and eventually spalling. Water penetrating the brick can also freeze and thaw, sometimes causing the chimney crown to loosen.

As unpleasant as it is to be facing a chimney repair, building owners are smart to address the problem sooner, rather than later. Left unchecked, a small crack could eventually cause structural damage to the chimney and a complete chimney rebuild may be required.  In addition to the chimney repair itself, there can also be residual damage to your home or building in the form of water damage or mold.

After a thorough inspection from the roof, an experienced masonry or tuckpointing contractor can find the source of the problem and propose a solution to these and any other problems with the chimney’s masonry construction. Protect your investment by hiring a fully bonded and insured contractor with a long history of customer satisfaction.

Chicago Chimney Repairs Needed

A deteriorating chimney may be the source of interior leaks and moisture.

Since most people don’t spend a lot of time on their roof, the first time they may notice a problem is on interior walls and ceilings. When chimney brick and mortar deteriorates, water is able to penetrate. Leaks eventually moisten interior walls. Here are some of the places you might first notice a problem.

1)      Moisture on the ceiling around a fireplace

2)      Moisture at the base of the fireplace or basement

3)      Moisture on plaster walls on the side of a chimney

Moisture enters the chimney through cracked chimney caps, porous brick, deteriorated mortar joints and improperly designed and installed roof flashings. Condensation can sometimes collect in cracked or separated flue tiles, blocked flues and chimney caps.

A Hinsdale client recently discovered a leak when the paint started to peel on the wall on the side of the fireplace. The wall also felt damp. It turned out the chimney crown had cracked, allowing moisture to penetrate the brick. Shamrock Tuckpointing replaced the chimney crown, tuckpointed the chimney and also applied a waterproof sealant to the brick, as an added measure of protection.

Every year or two, it’s a good idea to inspect your brick chimney for evidence of moisture damage. Look for signs of moisture damage such as efflorescent salt stains, deteriorated mortar joints, spalled bricks, or cracked chimney caps. Check the angle of the chimney to see if it might be leaning, indicating a structural issue. Flashings should fit tightly against the chimney.

Early detection of potential issues will keep you from more expensive repairs in the future. If you suspect a leaking brick chimney, contact a professional masonry contractor to see if chimney repair is needed.

John Gallagher is the owner of Shamrock Tuckpointing, based in Alsip, Ill..  The company serves the Chicago metro area from the South Suburbs to Northwest Suburbs, Western Suburbs, North Suburbs, O’Hare area, North Suburban Lake County, East-West Corridor/DuPage County, and Northwest Indiana.

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About the Owner


John Gallagher

John Gallagher learned the craft of tuckpointing while in his late teens. His father, a first generation Irish immigrant and construction worker, encouraged his son’s entrepreneurial spirit. John earned a business degree from Loras College, and soon afterward he founded Shamrock Tuckpointing.

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