There was something I forgot to tell you in the post about winterizing. That’s because I felt it was fairly obvious.

You need to close your doors and windows.

And the hoard’s doors and windows were indeed closed. Well, as closed as they could be. But, there is one large problem.

Remember me?

I’m honestly surprised there *knock on wood* aren’t any birds inside. The hole in the chimney is letting in a bit of water, a lot of air and bugs, and causing issues on the first floor.

Like this one!

Chimney Lean

Let’s start on the outside. Our obvious issues in the master closet may have caused another problem. The upper section of the chimney has a northeasterly lean to it now.

But first, we need to take care of something.

I’m ok.

We can see from the photo below, the chimney is not pointed straight up and down anymore.


But, from what I can tell on historical assessment photos I found, as well as discussions with our mason, the chimney potentially has always had this lean to it. To correct the bricks below, though, it has to get redone. I want it to be straight up and down anyway.

The mason told us that this brick isn’t particularly common, but also not impossible to get a hold of. Because of the rippled face, its also difficult to work with, because mortar will stick to the outside easily.


Looking just below the roof line, this would be the exterior wall of that closet.

Anyone else have pareidolia?

The peeling paint here on the bright brown boards is evidence that the wood siding has soaked up water. No surprise there. But, we will have to analyze the siding to see if any of it has rotted and needs replacement.

Some of the shorter boards by the windows have fallen, too, and there is peeling paint exposing silver-gray wood further down. This isn’t necessarily water damage, but just house neglect. Wood siding needs to be painted every 4-5 years.


The mortar for our bricks is almost color matched to the bricks themselves, so anywhere you see gray or black, the mortar between those bricks is straight up missing. This has caused some sagging around completely detached bricks.

These bricks probably got tired and are resting.

It’s also clear in the picture above that someone tried to patch up some of the mortar without bothering to match the aesthetic of the chimney, putting the mortar flush with the face of the bricks. They also used the wrong color, I might add. Particularly annoying.

Lots of scraping and pointing to do!

Tuck pointing is not really difficult. A homeowner could do it easily on a patch basis. But on this large of a job, with this many loose bricks, I’ll defer to the professional.

The foundation though… that’s a possibility.

Easily within reach. Physically and emotionally.


One place we hadn’t yet looked was the firebox. This was covered in two screens, as well as a few layers of plastic sheeting duct taped to the outside. As if the flue wasn’t enough. Once all this was removed, it was fairly good looking, if a bit pedestrian in terms of flair (per our mason).

It’s smaller than I expected…

The firebox seems to be in alright shape, and a quick scrub should get the residual glue off of the face. There’s even a nice grate inside, which could be buffed up too. With a nice coat of paint, it could be quite the nice antique.

Coat hanger… future kindling?

I doubt that there will ever be a roaring wood fire here ever again, since the chimney is completely blocked up. Opening this would be rather a larger task, since we would need to replace the flue liner and deconstruct some of the lower portion of the chimney, too.

And, from the years of water, the flue is also rusted shut.

It’s probably for the best. I don’t want to know whats in there.

That doesn’t discount the possibility of a direct vent gas insert, which could have exhaust going out the side of the house instead of up the chimney.

We could also go straight instagram and fill the fireplace with… books? Is that what the kids are doing these days?

Anyway, we have our mason lined up and ready to start laying bricks.

Just as soon as we get this dumpster out of the way.

That’s right, another one. Back to the basement for me…

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