Our chimney had seen better days. Last winter it had caused us a lot of trouble with no draw. Smoke backflowing into the basement. No heat!
I started by breaking the bricks loose from the mortar with a chisel and a hammer. In some spots- no hammer required. It just crumbled. The upper portion here was the last repair done by the previous owner. I cursed him as I took it apart. There were broken bricks, and huge chunks of mortar where bricks should have been. I figured that was the cause of the decay.
Once I had it all apart I cleaned the old bricks to see what was reusable.
I went to Home Hardware with one of the original bricks. Who knew buying bricks would be so difficult? They had "nothing that size". I went out to take a look. They had no bricks at all. Stupid square patio stones. I needed to fix the chimney, not a walk way.
I asked them to order me some bricks. The lady didn't know what kind of bricks they were. Just regular clay bricks. The size is what's important. She measured my brick and called her supplier in Quebec. After several minutes on the phone, they established that I was looking for Ontario Standard bricks. They should be in in a week. Two weeks later, when I hadn't heard from them, I went in to see if they had my bricks. Different lady. I wasn't listed in the computer. There was no brick order, either arrived or pending. She called the other lady. They broke my bricks. When they were unloading the truck they dropped the skid and smashed them all. Do I want them to reorder them?
Are you freaking kidding me? My chimney is ripped apart, winter is coming, and it didn't occur to these people to at least call and explain? Yes, reorder the frickin' bricks.
Another two weeks passed, again no phone call, but this time when I went in, they had my bricks. Yee haw- home to fix the chimney!
It took about 5 days - 3 to 4 hours a day to get it done. #3 and #4 worked diligently, lifting an old paint can tied to a rope, one brick at a time, half a bucket of mortar at a time, from the ground to the chimney. We dragged the hose up on the roof so I could mix the mortar from there.
The view from the ground, with the cap on.