Question No. 1
Recently I was up on the roof to check my gutters and I noticed several large vertical cracks on my chimney, maybe a quarter-inch wide. I called a chimney company and they checked with a camera and also got up on the roof. I was told that I have a two-story Rampart General masonry chimney system and that I have “significant vertical cracks throughout the chimney exterior and fractures and missing mortar in the flue system.” They are recommending structural repair at a cost of over $29,000. They did quote me a separate crack repair cost and to seal the crown wash with a waterproof membrane. We have used our fireplace less than five times in the 20 years of living here. We have never had a problem with rain or wind coming in. Can I just repair the cracks? What about getting an electrical fireplace that would not need venting? As always, thank you for your help.
— Mary S.
Answer No. 1
This is the time I’d look for a second opinion. You have the entire summer to do this research. Let me know what your second opinion says, and I wouldn’t mention to the second company that you had someone come out. Let’s see what they say. Please keep me posted.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].