Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Will Wonders Ever Cease?

The Flower Shuttle was this morning and I left home in a rush about 8:50, before the chimney guys showed up. After the shuttle, I ran errands and I was standing in line at the pharmacy when my cell phone rang. It was Mr. Kenju, telling me....."You won't believe it, but the chimney righted itself!!"   He was right, I didn't believe it. 

In case you don't remember (or haven't been reading about our Hurricane Irene saga) the broken top part of the chimney (approximately 14 feet down from the top, which was estimated to weigh 5-6,000 pounds, had been leaning back against the edge of the roof ever since the tree fell on the house and broke it. The break opening was approx. 4".  The chimney repairmen started work yesterday morning, and by mid-day today, they had removed about two feet of the top of the chimney. Suddenly, according to the guy on the roof scaffolding, the chimney started to rock a little, and he had no idea what it was going to do - but luckily it settled back on top of the lower section of the chimney and except for some broken mortar, one might have a hard time realizing that it had ever been broken and leaning back that far!

It's sort of dark, but you can still see the break here (above the black tape and between the windows).

This photo and the two below were taken Tuesday afternoon, after the chimney did it's rocking and rolling and settled back into it's original position.


At this point, since it is back in place, we could conceivably have them repair it instead of replacing it; however, since we've learned that the chimney was not built completely to code 35+ years ago, we are opting to have it rebuilt from the break up, and they will also replace all the flue tiles and bring them up to code.  According to them, it will be just as good as new when they are done. The chimney guys said they have never seen anything like that happen in all their years of work with chimneys.

23 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow!! That's amazing! Will they be able to reuse the bricks? Sometimes when they use new bricks the difference shows up a great deal.

Anonymous said...

Judy--You just had to post this - knowing that one of your readers is a structures engineer, didn't you? I'll try to 'splain.

The tilted part of the chimney was partly supported by the upright part of the chimney and partly by the edge of the roof. As courses of bricks were removed, the center of gravity shifted away from the roof-side, putting more and more of the weight onto the upright portion of the chimney.

Eventually, the center of gravity shifted away from the roof-side enough that all of the weight was carried by the upright portion of the chimney. This was pretty unstable since the bricks at the bottom of the tilted portion of the chimney were "on edge" and any further removal of bricks caused the tilted portion of the the chimney to tip over to settle on the upright portion of the chimney.

You are wise to go ahead with the intended repairs!
Cop Car
P.S. I'm sorry. You didn't really care about all of that, did you? *chuckling*
P.P.S. The workers should entirely have expected the tipping to occur.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That is just extraordinary! Something quite amazing---And the fact that they actually saw it happen, it must have seemed like something out of a Sci-Fy movie...!
"The Miracle of The Chimney", and other tales to ponder...!

Judy (kenju) said...

Cop Car, I DO care about it and I
m so glad you took the time to explain it to us!! THANKS!

Pat said...

I'm sure you've made the right decision. You don't want a chimney with a mind of its own. Who knows what it might do next?

Millie Garfield said...

Better to be safe than sorry! I think you made the right decision.

The guys were there, they knew what they were doing and it just had to be done the right way.

Good girl!

amarkonmywall said...

Wow is right. Sort of like the monument in Washington. ;-) Still, as long as you have to deal with the insurance anyway, you're right to set it right.

Peter said...

All I can say Judy is... I hope your insurance covers all of this!!!

Nancy said...

Judy,

I often think that when failures happen to structural things on our property,we take the word of the repair people and give them the order to repair the damage without fully understanding the problem.

Along comes Cop Car and takes the time as a structural engineer to explain to all of us the exact dynamics of the situation and tells us WHY what happened to the chimney happened.

Good for her. I think we all learned something today.

Mar said...

Amazing!! I read the explanation...but still don't quite get it... so it still seems a wonder to me!!

Gilly said...

Amazing! Though thanks to Cop Car now we all know why. (I think)

Good thing you are having it rebuilt, though, better safe than sorry. And I just hope hurricanes don't come your way again!

Now if Cop Car could just come and look at the way our garage door is sagging............

Granny Annie said...

I can only emphatically ditto Pat's remark.

Anonymous said...

Judy & Nancy--You really know how to make a pedant feel better. Thanks!
Cop Car
P.S. I'm still laughing, 48 years later, at a comment my sister-in-law made as I was explaining to my 3-year-old what made her wind-up, stuffed toy wriggle about. "Oh, for Pete's sake. Just tell her the Blue Fairy makes it do that!"
P.P.S. I'm so sorry that I didn't give you a diagram of the forces involved in the chimney tipping. lol

Arkansas Patti said...

Now that is weird but I am glad you are still going for the rebuild since no telling how stable it would be as is.

Looking to the Stars said...

I love it! Your house & chimmney love you :)
I'm glad this part is going smoothly for you :)

Joy Des Jardins said...

Weird!! But great news for you. Thanks to Cop Car for her expertise...and explaining things. ~Joy

Dr. Deb said...

I had a similar thing done and they used new bricks instead of old ones. The chimney looks terrible. But yours is looking so great!

Travelin'Oma said...

This story rocks! How lucky the chimney didn't roll off onto the driveway (or somebody's head!)

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

That's pretty darned amazing.

Anonymous said...

"How lucky the chimney didn't roll off onto the driveway (or somebody's head!)"

Travelin'Oma put her finger on my concern when I wrote, "P.P.S. The workers should entirely have expected the tipping to occur."

The workers should have put a sling or support of some kind in place to keep the tilted part of the chimney from getting away from them; although, I'll admit that the chances of that happening were pretty slim.
CC

Grannymar said...

I am glad you went with the plan for replacement. You never know the woes you would store up for the future by going the fast route.

Darlene said...

I was going to comment on the miracle of it all and then Cop Car's comment saved me from the metaphysical inanity. I'm just glad that it is finally going to be fixed properly.

Anonymous said...

Darlene--Stick with me, Babe. You can handle the metaphysical and I will handle the physical!
Cop Car