A builder has just scared the life out of me by saying that my chimney is about to fall down because it hasn't been pointed. How can he know just by a visual inspection?
How can he know just by a visual inspection?
Your second photo shows that the top left may have been pointed sometime in the past 20 years; the rest hasn't seen maintenance in considerably longer.
Unless that's an optical illusion caused by the camera angle, your stack looks to be tilted over by a few degrees.
I'd book the guy in as soon as he can make it, or you might be raining bricks next time there's a storm.
If you really don't trust him - & frankly, I don't see why you shouldn't, that's some pretty obvious damage - get a second opinion.
If you really have zero experience at this, get three quotes & get each of the companies to tell you what they would do, rather than you ask. Just go for "Can you fix my chimney?" Don't add detail, then see what detail they add. One may think it's fixable with pointing only, another might want to strip it right down. One will, of course, be more expensive than the other, but often you can get a feel for how competent they are. More detail, less arm-waving.
If the tilt on the stack is as bad as it looks from that ground shot, it may need to be completely dismantled & rebuilt.
The way your question is worded makes me think you're not really sure what pointing is, or how someone can 'just see it'.
Pointing is the cement in-fill between the bricks. Your chimney doesn't really have much of that left. It disintegrates over time and needs replacing. 100 years is plenty of time.
This is what you can tell just from your photo about the state of the pointing…
- the stack needs re-pointing.
- some DIY is possible but H&S requires scaffold. Are you up for that (better result!)? -Raking out old mortar is crucial. (See above). -There are two methods.
- Angle grinder with either thick grindstock or X 2 thin masonry discs.
You grind in to about 20mm. I'd advise doing this stack in sections -worst first. [I'm not a great skill at "laying in" the mortar application (it needs an ultra dry mix)]
- The manual alternative uses a "plugging chisel". That's arduous, and why builders bodge the job.
In summary, anyone offering to do the job off a ladder needs to be avoided. Scaffold would cost £800:00 for this (alone, and for starters).
Hope this helps.