Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Day 3: Brick Chimney Build

Posted on | July 26, 2010 | 21 Comments

On day three the chimney went up. It took them about five hours with three guys working on the roof and mixing mortar down on the ground. I can’t believe it went up so quick. We are really happy with the results. Below two guys building the chimney, mortar being mixed and put into buckets, and inside the chimney showing the four flues.

The only thing I wasn’t happy with was the brick detail trim two rows down from the top. I had no idea they were going to add this. I would have preferred it to be plain all the way up. (update: after a walk around town I realized everyone in the historic district has a very similar stepped styled detail.) But there is nothing I can really do about it after the mortar was dry. Lesson learned. Even though I don’t want to be a control freak homeowner I do need to have more detailed discussions with contractors. Always ask, ask, ask don’t assume.

Next on our list is getting estimates for individual chimney liners and a cap. Then, it’s a new roof.

If your looking for a mason on the North Shore of Boston we used Chris Powers. Super nice guy, quick, and took care not to destroy my garden.

Chris Power
(781) 631-1929
Marblehead, Ma

Related Posts:
Day 2: Removing Brick From Old Chimney
Day 1: Set Up
Starting Chimney Rebuild
Getting Estimates For Chimney Repair

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21 Responses to “Day 3: Brick Chimney Build”

  1. ctstyle
    July 26th, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    Looks really nice! I bet you’ll get used to the brick detail and probably won’t even notice it after a week.


  2. elizabeth
    July 26th, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

    Looks excellent. Thank you so much for providing the name of a good local mason as I live in the Boston area.


  3. Katie
    July 26th, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

    Awesome — it looks great! And I agree with ctstyle. I think you’ll start not even noticing the deail work after a while.


  4. Leah
    July 26th, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

    Looks awesome… can’t wait to read about your experience with the chimney liners.


  5. Katy Elliott
    July 26th, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

    I think I’ll get use to too especially after we get the new roof.


  6. Matt Byers
    July 26th, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

    We used Chris to rebuild our chimney this past winter and he was great. It even started to snow while he was up on the scaffolding . It was nice to have fires again.


  7. Alice Almighty
    July 26th, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    I am rather fond of the detail-it looks fancy!


  8. lynne
    July 26th, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

    it looks really great. i bet later on you will love the small detail.


  9. moparbrownstoner
    July 26th, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

    I sympathize 100 percent. These small things drive me crazy too. Don’t worry — these things happen to everybody. :)


  10. El
    July 26th, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    It looks great. Do you have any suggestions about how to prevent the problem with the second row? What do you need to say to the contractor? Any ideas? Only asking because this is totally new to me ;>)


  11. Katy Elliott
    July 26th, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    I don’t think the second row is really a problem but a style decision. I should have asked, Are the bricks going to go straight up and or be plain?

    I don’t think it was my mason’s fault I just didn’t think to ask. So my suggestion is ask, ask, ask don’t assume.


  12. El
    July 26th, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

    Thanks Katie. Style decision is better. It turned out great and this blog is very helpful for learning.


  13. Megan
    July 27th, 2010 @ 6:41 am

    A few years after graduating from architecture school and I went home and saw a friend who had became a carpenter. He was telling me a story about how proud he was of a job where he was installing some cedar shakes on a home and how there was one bare wall with no windows so he did a great shake detail so that there was a really big diamond in the middle of the wall. I said you didn’t ask the architect and he said ‘no’ but the architect really liked it and I said ‘I would have killed you for not asking’. Anyhow its quite common for builders to add their flourish… A classic example is Michelangelo’s facade design for the Farnese Palace in Rome… I remember seeing it and asking our professor why he designed the brick patterns so inconsistently. She stated that the different patterns were the mason’s signature so they could come back and say ‘that’s the section I did.’ Anyhow btw I like the brick detail.


  14. Virginia
    July 27th, 2010 @ 10:07 am

    The 4 chimneys on our house (1780’s) have the same detail. My only issue is whether it is historically accurate. I have no idea. Does your oil burner vent through one of these flues or do you have a separate chimney for it?


  15. Patsy
    July 27th, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    Oh, I love the extra detailing. I wonder if it is indeed his signature. Although it looks like the chimney behind you has something similar.


  16. Katy Elliott
    July 27th, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Hm maybe Patsy. But the house across the street is not in the historic district. I’ll have to take a stroll around my neighborhood today to check out other chimneys. Maybe I’ve noticed the detail before?


  17. Brittany Noel
    July 27th, 2010 @ 11:51 am

    Wow, that was super quick! I figured this would go on for several days. Shows what I know about chimneys… It looks really nice, Katy. What are you thinking for the new roof? Any fancy shingle work?


  18. anne
    July 27th, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    I think your mason did a beautiful job!

    If it makes you feel better, the detail is more than a flourish or personal expression – it will actually give the chimney some added reinforcement. If it was flush to the top like you wanted, the top of your chimney might become more vulnerable to spalling decades from now.

    Most historic brick detailing solves some kind of functional necessity – for structure, shedding water, etc – beautiful with a purpose!


  19. Katy Elliott
    July 28th, 2010 @ 10:30 am

    update: after a walk around town I realized everyone in the historic district has a very similar stepped styled detail.

    Some the stepped brick goes all the way up at the very top and some have a detailed edge like mine.

    I guess I never really noticed before!


  20. Katrina High
    October 20th, 2010 @ 6:23 am

    Hi Katy,

    I found your website looking for king sz plaid blankets for my bed. I am trying to replicate the “Ralph Lauren look in my master bedroom, anyway my husband and I live in Maryland outside of DC and have owned a chimney sweep business for going on 30 yrs, I haven’t shown your photos to him as of yet but I think the chimney looks good and structural sound, make sure the flashing is sealed well (no leaks) before redoing the roof. I assume you plan on installing a stainless steel liner, have either ventinox liner installed or if you choose a knock off make sure its UL listed.


  21. Matt Gillard
    September 6th, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    I like the cap detail, I’m a restoration mason on the north shore. It is period correct, for your home. Good job on the chimney but I would not have used gray mortar and new bricks. Lime mortar and a red brick would be historical correct . All in all good job saveing and old fireplace and chimney.


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