See the lower red chimney?

See the upper red chimney?

But you cannot see the middle red chimney as it is covered in four layers of thick plastic, and a blue heating blanket, all carefully taped to the house to keep the newly done pointing (new mortar) of the middle chimney from freezing.

The middle chimney will stay covered for the next 30 days to protect it.  And each day I have to turn the heating blanket on.


This is what the mortar, or the lack thereof, looked like BEFORE.




The mortar of the middle chimney leached out due to an issue with the built-in gutter above. This issue is not yet corrected, but is next on the TO DO list.

The chimney pointing is now complete, and is (drum roll, please) the last line item of the 2017 Heritage Trust Grant.



NOTE: Old bricks should NEVER be pointed with modern cement. This will destroy the brick as cement is too hard. I used a lime-based mortar, wholly compatible with 1890s brick.




  1. Rick S on January 12, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Looks so much better beautiful.

    I always heard that the mortar should be softer than the bricks it’s between so that if something is going to give it’s going to be the mortar

  2. Derek Walvoord on January 12, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Very satisfying! It feels so good to get to some of these large outstanding issues! Congrats. I am selfishly hoping you do a little more detailed post on how you are getting the mortar in/on. I have never done it myself, and was disappointed when some guys I hired who “knew how to do it” were using floats like they were doing a bathroom tiling job. With the amount of water they were using, I think their mortar job will last about 5 years. Sigh. I have always been impressed with people that can use the pointing tools and make it look so nice and clean.

  3. Barb Sanford on January 12, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Wow, that’s tremendous! I can’t believe all the work it took to fix this. I’m using your Baby Steps (TM) method to finish the repair repainting in my basement. It’s going slow, but it’s getting there. Your posts are inspiring me!

  4. Dan Goodall-Williams on January 12, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    This is great news. That list just keeps getting a little shorter.

  5. Leigh on January 12, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Chimney repointing? Done! 2017 Heritage Trust Fund – Kansas Historical Society Grant list? Complete!
    Hurrah! Bravo! *happy dance*

    • Grandmere Louise on January 14, 2021 at 11:01 am

      I second this and dance the happy dance also. Oh yeah!

  6. Sandra D Lee on January 12, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    Stupendous news that work is completed for the 2017 Heritage grant! Wonderful!

    Structural strengthening is so important in all buildings, but doubly so with restoration of old buildings.

    So happy for you Ross!

    • Ross on January 12, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you, Sandra!

  7. Mike on January 12, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Nice job 🙂 I learned for myself that pointing is NOT as easy as it sounds; I estimated 2 hours for a small area, and it took all day before I was satisfied with the results. I have seen so many examples of old bricks ruined by modern mortar, sometimes put in by “professionals”. Once again, the Cross House is very lucky to have you.

  8. Christine on January 12, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Yay for the repointing being done! It looks professional.

    I noticed another round tower window is now covered with a board. I hope that means that it’s that window’s turn at the “Ross’s Spa for Original Windows”. Please tell us it didn’t get broken somehow.

    • Ross on January 12, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      That’s my privacy curtain, Christine!

      • Christine on January 12, 2021 at 2:33 pm

        Whew! It doesn’t have a center sash? I guess I never noticed that before.

  9. Cindy Belanger on January 12, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Ross, you did a great job tuckpointing. My husband’s tuckpointing is not the best, but he tries. Our handyman did some too and his was horrible. So hat’s off to you. A little burden lifted from your shoulders now that the 2017 Heritage Trust Grant is completed. Yay

  10. Linda A. on January 13, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Oh goodness. I thought the ENTIRE chimney from the tippy top to the bottom had to be tuck pointed?!!
    So the middle section was only “washed out”? Yeah!!
    Onward to more lathing and plaster!

  11. Nadia on January 13, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Omg I AM UP TO DAAAAAATEEEE!! I’ve been reading this blog non stop for weeks (please don’t tell my boss). I cannot even begin to explain what this means to me. I love old everything, old houses, old clothing, old decor, antiques are such beautiful and magnificent objects. Since when has humanity lost respect for the things that came before us? Since when old became synonim of useless? I am thrilled of joining you on this ride to the unexpected, to thos new dialogue you have created between history and modern days. I certainly hope, one day, to be able to tour the Cross House.

    I send you Ross a huge virtual hug, all the way from Argentina. Oh! And I’m part of the young-people-who-love-old-houses club, as I’m barely 29 😜

    • Ross on January 14, 2021 at 12:00 am

      And a big hug to YOU, young Nadia from Argentina!

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