Given that we are located in Hopkins, we do most of our chimney repairs and reconstruction in Edina, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and surrounding suburbs. That said, we often travel outside of the western metro for our work. The Edina chimney discussed here is one in which the original mason used what was then a traditional cap design (Point B). There is very little slope and no overhang. The result, as with many Minneapolis chimneys with this same design flaw, is that water wants to work into the bricks from above and cleave the material apart, usually through forces created during the freeze-thaw cycles.
Many of the chimneys we repair in Edina are quite high and this one was no exception. It required three full stories of scaffolding, anchored in two locations into the home for stability. Point A illustrates a common problem. The passive clay flue liner, which is filled with mortar, is un capped and left to weather. We often see how water and ice destroys Minneapolis chimneys from this avenue. Ignoring the protection of the top of passive flues is a bad idea. The answer is simply to install a cap (Point F) on the passive flue.
The screen shown at Point C is far better than doing nothing. I protects the flue from birds and squirrels, which have a tendency to fall into Minneapolis chimney flues. A number of our clients have told us stories of ducks, raccoons, squirrels and different birds who found their way into the chimney and into the home through the fireplace. Although screen caps offer some protection, they still do not protect the clay flues from damage through exposure to moisture and freeze-thaw cycles. For that you need a true flue cap (Point F).
Most of our Edina chimney repair clients prefer to replace their old mortar chimney crowns with new, cast in place concrete crowns (also called ‘wash caps’). Such caps offer man advantages such as improved drainage and overhangs around all sides to promote the flow of water away from the bricks below.
Point D is standard step flashing which is set into the bricks by the original mason. We seldom have to replace this flashing. When it does fail we normally recommend new step flashing that is interlaced with new roofing and then counter flashed with a riglet flashing. Point E shows a standard saddle that is hand framed and roofed, in this case with cedar shakes.
The cost of Edina chimney repairs such as this, where a new crown was installed as well as tuck pointing and chimney caps, was around $3,200.00. Most Edina chimney repair projects we perform cost an average of $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the scope of work and height of the job.