Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Rain

OK...I'm officially tired of rain.

And it looks like we're in for more rain through Saturday. It's slowed us down a little bit here, although the masons are on site today. They are working on parging the main flue. Parging is the process of coating a masonry surface with mortar. Here's an article that talks a little about parging, types of mortars and flue liners ( The discussion of flue liners is good although it leaves out the important point that by installing a flue liner you are reducing the size of the flue. If your fireplace opening remains the same, you may cause the fireplace to smoke - meaning the smoke from your fire comes into your room instead of going up your chimney. So much for the enjoyment (cough!) of a cozy fire!

Parging the flue can be challenging even in a big old flue like ours. Th
e masons need to work down from the top of the chimney to reach the narrowest part of the flue. Then to reach the center of the flue they need to climb up into the flue itself and work as best they can within that cramped space. Hopefully they can reach up to where they completed the parging from the top down. Here's a pic of the mason (or at least his legs) that drew the short straw for the job of climbing into the flue:

Here's what the newly parged flue looks like right now:

They will complete the job from the relative comfort of the fireplace opening tomorrow. The new parging will come down to the top of the historic plaster. The historic plaster will be left in place and left exposed. We are not planning to fill in missing areas of plaster that is visible in the fireplace opening.

They will also parge the flue for the second floor fireplace too. Even though there are no current plans to use the second floor fireplace, while the chimney is open we want to do as much as we can to improve the condition of the flue in case a decision is made to use it in the future. If that happens the rest of the flue can be easily parged from the top of the chimney down and from the fireplace up to complete the job.

In the meantime, I was planning to go get some more bricks today but that's not happening - I don't want to climb around on a pile of wet bricks to find the ones I need. I'm not coordinated enough to keep from falling on my head. So maybe when the rain stops...uh, how about Sunday? No - that's Mother's Day and I'll get in big trouble with Mom...Monday then.

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