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.


Illinois was the wettest state in the nation in June with 8.97 inches of water falling – breaking the record set back in 1895. Chicago’s Midway airport recorded more than 10 inches of rain. July is also shaping up to be wetter than normal.

With so much rain, issues with damp walls that may have quickly disappeared in the past, can persist. While no one is  happy to have to contend with a water issue, taking care of the dampness before it becomes a bigger problem is always the best strategy.

Water that seeps through walls at any point is called  penetrating damp vs. dampness in the lower part of ground floor walls which is called rising damp. Tuckpointing, brick repair and caulking can often help prevent penetrating damp. A penetrating damp patch may appear when strong winds derive rain against the house and disappear after the rain.  If a whole wall is damp, it may be that the brick has become porous with age.  Telltale signs of penetrating damp includes blotchy patches on the wall, wet and crumbly plaster, mildew on the walls or even water on the surface. Check out the common symptoms and cures.

 Dampness near ceiling adjacent chimney Check the flashing which seals the joint between the roof and chimney, it may be loose or cracked.
 Dampness near the top of an interior wallThe culprit may be a gutter that is clogged or broken.
Whole interior wall is damp Brick may become porous with age, cracks in mortar may allow water to penetrate. Tuckpointing and sealing are potential solutions.
Isolated damp patch on an interior wallCheck for cracked mortar or damaged brick which can allow water to penetrate through the wall. Replace damaged bricks and mortar.
Damp patches around windows Mortar may be broken. Repoint and reseal.













If you live in Chicago, Orland Park, Downers Grove, LaGrange or other Chicago suburbs take advantage of our free estimates. For smaller jobs you can also snap a picture and upload it right to our site via our contact form. A cure for damp brick walls may be closer than you think.

Learn more about
Downers Grove Tuckpointing
Orland Park Tuckpointing
LaGrange Tuckpointing








There is nothing worse than a brick repair that looks like a patch job. Cracks in brick are a concern and should be repaired for both structural and aesthetic reasons. But the repair shouldn’t look as bad or worse than the crack. The most common cause of a vertical crack in a brick wall is foundation settling. Before any repair is done, we have to ensure that the wall is on a solid base, so settling issues won’t cause similar problems down the road. This might require re-grading around the foundation or an evaluation of the drainage system around the building.

The second step of the repair is removing the cracked bricks. This is done very carefully so there is minimal damage to surrounding bricks. A chisel and hammer along with  a masonry drill help slowly remove the affected brick and mortar.

Matching the brick and mortar is the key to an seamless repair. On a newer building, it is easier to match the brick exactly with the help of our brick suppliers. Older buildings can be a greater challenge, but almost anything is available through suppliers of salvaged brick. Another solution is to remove bricks from inconspicuous places to use in a highly visible repairs.

Mortar matching is an art, with the most important components being cement, and the type of sand used in the mortar.  Other ingredients include include lime, Portland cement and dye. We typically test a few different samples, carefully measuring and recording the formulas.  Experience tells us how the wet mortar will look after it cures, but we can also do some quick drying methods.   We use the age of the building to guide us in determining the type of mortar.

Not all tuckpointing contractors will be as concerned as you are about brick and mortar matching.  Make your expectations known at the outset, and check references.  It’s the only way to ensure that a brick crack doesn’t turn into an even-worse looking repair.





Tuckpointing Chicago BungalowsOlder brick homes have withstood many forces of nature. Temperature fluctuations cause the brick to expand and extract. After many years of aging the mortar joints begin to deteriorate. Tuckpointing or repointing when done correctly restores the home’s physical integrity as well as its visual appeal.

Improper mortar mixture is the biggest mistake made when tuckpointing older brick homes. Such a mistake can damage a brick home. Ironically, too strong of a mortar mixture can be harmful. That’s because in old homes (pre-1890) the bricks were weaker and mortar was used not as a glue to hold brick together but as a joint to absorb moisture and allow brick movement. The mortar should be as soft or softer than the original because it will absorb water and act as an expansion joint allowing the wall to give, relieving stress. It is important to get it right to prevent damage. The amount of Portland Cement in a mortar mix can determine its softness or hardness.

Fortunately, a visual inspection by an experienced tuckpointer can provide most of the information needed to use the right mortar mix. He should assess the strength and permeability of the existing mortar. The mortar mix doesn’t have to contain the exact mix as that used in the original. In fact, that would be impossible. The goal is to come close so that old and new mortar co-exist and match closely.

Historically, bricklayers used lime and sand to mix mortar. It is the sand in the mixture that influences color and texture. Vapor permeability is another critical factor. It’s a measure of how much water vapor passes through the mortar. In older brick homes the new mortar should be as vapor permeable and as soft as the old mortar. This prevents damage to the masonry by relieving stresses to the wall. Careful attention to these mortar attributes helps prevent premature cracking of the mortar and spalling brick.

A narrow tuck-pointing trowel may be all that’s needed to scrape the fresh mortar into a joint of an older brick home, but it is an experienced tuckpointer’s observation, along with a spray mister, that keeps the mortar moist and prevents early drying.


Is it time to cross some things off the honey- do list? We’re pleased to announce that on Saturday April 18, we’ll be at the Chicago Bungalow & Vintage Home Expo to be held at McFetridge Sports Center, 3843 N. California on the north side of Chicago.  RSVP  on the website for a chance to win some great raffle prizes.Bungalow Expo 2015

If you have questions about tuckpointing your Chicago brick bungalow, cracks in your chimney, or leaks due to deteriorating mortar; this is a great place to find answers.  Owner John Gallagher will be on hand from 10 am to 1 p.m. to meet with you and discuss your project. As an informed buyer, we think you will be better able to find the right tuckpointing contractor for your job.

The event is organized by the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, a local non-profit dedicated to helping homeowners maintain, preserve and adapt their unique Chicago bungalow. More than 50 exhibitors will be in attendance so it will be a great way to get a jump start on a variety of Spring projects.

See you soon Chicago Brick Bungalow owners.

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Brick Maintenance and Repair Blog

Find useful information and tips for maintaining the value of your brick buildings.
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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