This past October and November, the masons repaired the sixth and final chimney at Beauport– the Drum Chimney. We liked to say that we saved the best for last, but the masons liked to joke that it was the worst (shape) for last. It is not the most decorative of the six chimneys; it doesn’t have as many flues as the other chimneys; but it is largest of the chimneys.
The name of the Drum Chimney comes from its shape–three tiers with a series of open arches at the top and low relief arches below. There are many great features about this chimney– the base is exposed to grade on one side and a beautiful directional weathervane sits on top. The Drum Chimney has two flues–one for a large “Colonial-inspired” room called the Pine Kitchen and one for the oven in the working kitchen.
Water has been a problem at this chimney for quite some time. Staining is found on the right corner of the fireplace and many of the iron collection pieces are slowly rusting. The photo above also shows packing peanuts on the ground. These were used in the early 1990s as a way to insulate the chimney and try to minimize condensation issues. Unfortunately, this solution did not work and the peanuts were removed… although some still show up after a particularly bad storm.
During the chimney investigation, several issues were discovered. The majority of the top tier included large, open cracks and the base had several areas of spalling bricks. The flashing, like all of the other chimneys, had been installed very low. In addition, the space between the top tier and the second tier included a copper cap that was merely caulked in place. The caulk had deteriorated and the cap had pulled away from the sides, which allowed water to enter the chimney easily.
After the investigation, it was decided to rebuild the top 21 courses of brick– basically from the large crack above the bricked in arches to the top of the chimney. The directional was removed and the masons got to work…. As soon as dismantling begun, however, the chimney started to cave in and break apart. Indicating that the chimney was actually in a lot worse shape than originally hoped.
In the end, the masons had to dismantle another three feet down to the square base of the chimney and rebuild. An additional wythe was added to the interior of the second tier shaft for better stability, a new cap was installed and mounted in concrete, and the weathervane was re-installed with a longer pole to minimize the resistance from the wind, which can cause stress fractures. The arches were measured and carefully dismantled, though many bricks could not be reused.
In addition to the rebuilding of the top, the spalled bricks were replaced and the flashing was altered slightly. Similar to the other chimneys repaired, the existing flashing was left in place and new flashing was installed one to two brick courses higher. When the new roof was installed, new copper step flashing was slipped under the old lead flashing–leaving a triple-flashed chimney.