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Question DetailsAsked on 4/18/2015

Is a brick chimney repair with stucco over styrofoam glued on deteriorating bricks a good solution?

The portion of the brick chimney that needs repair is only a four foot high band near the top.

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Answered 4 years ago by Member Services


My opinion - no for a number of reasons. In fact, from a structural, waterproofing, life span, code, and fire safety standpoint - no.

And I suspect if one dug into the national fire code you would find it is contrary to code anyway. Plus if you have ever seen styrofoam insulation burn in a fire, you would NEVER consider this - it drips flaming liquid foam into every nook and cranny and starts the wood burning there - and burns fairly hot and with deadly heavy smoke - NOT the sort of thing you want in close proximity to any potential combustion source.

OK - I decided I was being lazy so I broke down and checked the code - here is the applicable section from the 2012 IRC - which is the version most areas are probably using, but this provision has been around a long time -

R1003.18 Chimney clearances.
Any portion of a masonry chimney located in the interior of the building or within the exterior wall of the building shall have a minimum air space clearance to combustibles of 2 inches (51 mm). Chimneys located entirely outside the exterior walls of the building, including chimneys that pass through the soffit or cornice, shall have a minimum air space clearance of 1 inch (25 mm).

One other thing weighing against the insulation and stucco idea - chimneys are not allowed to support anythying else, so any exterior sheathing system would have to have its own structural support - usually a metal stud frame around it supported by the house and roof framing, with any insulation and the sheathing applied to that. I wouldnot use foam in that apoplication at all - I would use the normal insulation product for use around chimneys - rock wool.

My recommendation - just get the top 4 feet repaired correctly by a mason. Depending on how serious the damage is and whether the liner (or lining rick layer) is intact, from repointing to rebuilding, probable cost in the ballpark of a few hundred to maybe $500-800 range for a normal chimney.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


One thing I spaced on in my prior answer - if the brick or joints are deteriorating, a stucco (with or without styrofoam) cover is not going to give it structural support OR repair the brick issues, so you will likely have progressive failure of the brick continuing, eventually cracking and maybe even tearing off the stucco - not ot mention the fire hazard from possible leakage of flue gases through the damaged bricks to the styrofoam - a major fire hazard.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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