fix mortar on party wall in an attic with blown-insulation
I have an attic that has new blow-in insulation in it. The attic also has a party wall (it's a row house) that is beginning to crumble, with a section of bricks now missing. It's a very old house, so the bricks are soft and lime-based mortar was used.
My questions are:
Is replacing and mortaring the bricks a DIY job?
If I hire someone to do it, can they work in my attic with the insulation in it (and will my insulation be ruined)?
I always find it helpful to get a handful of masonry contractors over to the house to give not only an estimate but an idea of how they will handle the situation. If their descriptions of what needs to be done all have the same basic elements you can better make the call as to whether it is something you'd be willing or able to take on yourself. There are always those that will tell you you are screwed if you don't get it fixed or make it seem worse, harder to fix than it is which is why it's best to listen to a few people talk about what needs to be done. They'll be able to tell you what will happen to your insulation as well.
Since it is a party wall I'd lean more towards asking a pro to at least look at it. If you screw something up that impacts your neighbors that could get ugly, but if you get someone who is insured and guarantees their work, if anything happens you can call them back to fix their mistakes.
I would also look at why the bricks are starting to crumble, attic + crumbling old bricks sounds like either old water damage or possibly moisture/water still happening. Is it damp up there at all? Is there any discolored wood around?
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