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Spalling North side face Brick Chimney Repair

I recently purchased a 30-yr. old house. I was hoping there would be less maintenance than with the 113-yr. old house we sold. There a numerous ~little things requiring attention. The North side of the Brick Chimney is badly spalled with lost brick faces that have popped off. Thankfully this face is not seen, except for where it has affected a corner brick. Short of having it re-bricked, what is best way to 1)repair the missing brick faces or parge it over, and 2)Seal the chimney brick & the repair to prevent further deterioration? 3) What Material (...mortar/cement & joint mortar grade speck for colored Brick Patch? 4) Repair Surface Prep--wire brush, moisten, etc? 5)Best sealer to apply. 6) best season/conditions--humid/dry to make repair & and to apply sealer. 7) Likely Cause? A friend contractor who reviewed the house noted that a "hard" mortar was used with the Brick exterior. With the exception of this chimney issue, there are no other brick issues.

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