Is it too late for some home repairs? -

Is it too late for some home repairs?

If you've got a fireplace, chances are you walk past it half a dozen times a day. But what you don't walk past is what's on the other side; the side exposed to all the elements. It can really take its toll. Kyle Carlson can help us find those danger zones in our own homes.

"The outside of a fireplace isn't as pretty as it was inside. Deteriorating mortar can create holes and holes create a perfect access for insects, and it lets heat escape," says Carlson.

"Potentially, you could have a mold issue inside, which could spread throughout the whole house. And, structurally, your fireplace wouldn't be sound anymore. Now how does this happen? You know, this whole back side is exposed to all the elements. You get a lot of rain, hail, and it's just beating down on this mortar. So, over time, it's just going to start chipping away."

"Any brick structure, whether it be a fireplace, maybe your house is just made out of bricks, all have mortar in it and over time, this mortar is going to start to deteriorate. If not properly taken care of, you could have huge issues," warns Carlson.

Here is your mortar-mix check list:

  • Water and mortar mix in a trough
  • Mix until the consistency of mud
  • Beware of creating any clumps
  • Make it into a smooth texture

"So, I'm using an old chisel, trying to get rid of all this old mortar. You know, it's pretty easy. I mean, if you don't have an old chisel, you can always use a screwdriver, a putty knife, whatever you want. You can see how simple it is," says Carlson.

"Once you've removed all the mortar from the bricks, we actually wet down the bricks. It actually helps the mortar adhere to the brick. We're going to take our spade knife, dip it in and apply a little bit of this mortar inside the cracks. Really shove it in there tight. You want to make sure you get all the way deep in that crevice. Scrape away some of the excess. Let that set up for a little bit and wipe off the bricks.

Now, let's do the math. Cost of a mortar mix bag: $7. Your time, it is what it is. So, if you've got time, you've got $7, you can do this. Now, if this project starts to get a little more extensive, you've got to go 20 feet up in the air, you may want to hire a concrete professional. Their day rates could range from $200 to $400 a day. So depending on the extent of work and amount of mortar, it could add up. But with just a little bit of preventative maintenance on these mortar joints, it's going to potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run. It's going to keep the elements outside and your warm and cool air on the inside."

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