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Old 09-01-2009, 09:17 AM   #1
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Default Mason for Chimney Repair

Our cottage has an old chimney that has an exterior coating of what appears to be stucco or some other similar material, presumably over a cinder/concrete block structure for the flue. The coating is deteriorating and falling in chunks and slabs onto the roof. Can someone recommend a reliable, experienced mason in the Merdith/New Hampton area who could deal with a problem like this? Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:57 AM   #2
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Default Me Too!

I have the same exact problem. A section of stucco about 6 x 18 inches has fallen off of the stucco-covered cinderblock chimney. I have had two guys come out and check it to give me an estimate TO REPAIR this small section. Both guys (one being Wolfeboro Masonry) told me that all of the stucco needed to be taken off, carted up the stairs to the driveway and disposed of (or buried on the property), and replaced with brick or stone for a total of about $8,000! Come on folks! Just because the house is on a lake and the license plates say "Mass" does not mean I am made of money!!

Any helpful referral would be appreciated. Thanks - McD
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:50 AM   #3
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Default Looking in from the outside...

...Something a tradesman who has a good reputation wants to avoid is doing bandaid repairs. This could be the tip of the iceberg as far as damage is concerned, and to repair a small section may be an invitation for more repairs being necessary later and reflect on that tradesman's work.

That being said, and not being a mason by trade, I would think that it would be possible to remove stucco and replace it for a lot less money that doing a stone or brick face on the chimney.

Next time take a picture of a NH plate and tape a copy of it over your license plate, and then hang camo netting between your house and the lake. Might help!
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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Default Just for Reference

I am not saying that $8K is not alot of money because it is for me, but we are set to start on a job that matches your description exactly, stucco being replaced with brick veneer and that came in at $13.5K forty foot 3x5 chimney, not on the lake and any contractor that adjusts pricing based on location and residence does not deserve your work, period.

A couple of things to remember is that the stucco is no longer in contact with the masonry it was applied to, this will continue to flake off even if the top has been repaired because water will have traveled as far down as it could. If you just repair the top it will fail lower down the chimney in short order. Not sure of the age of your homes but most stucco applications in the north east were applied in 70's and early 80's and not so much anymore. Stucco is not a good material for climates with large swings in temp as well as indoor to outdoor difference.

Good luck with your repairs but I would recommend removing the existing stucco and/or have a masonry mesh the chimney and install a veneer over the the entire thing. If you mesh the chimney the stucco can stay in place but I would remove as much as you can so that an inspection of the chimney can be done to make sure the structure is solid.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:28 AM   #5
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The NH license plate doesn't work for us. Must be something else.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:33 PM   #6
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jmen24 and upthesaukee:
Thanks for the reality slap. I needed that. It's just that I was thinking more like several hundred for repairs and next thing you know.....Jeesh... it's $8,000 for replacement! I nearly fell in the lake!

So I guess the gentleman from Wolfeboro Masonry was spot on. He was also kind enough to drive out, inspect the "issue", and get back to me with an estimate. I apolgize for any unintended slur.

Photo of the "issue"
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:42 AM   #7
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One thing to note is that the chimney I mentioned is at least twice the size of the one in your photo. I would look at another price and see what that looks like, especially if you are uncomfortable with the original.

Because the flashing is not visible at the eave were it intersects the chimney I would start looking their. If I had to guess by looking at the photo the water is getting in behind the stucco at the roof intersection with both (roof side) corners of the chimney, running behind the stucco to the shoulder of the chimney and exposing itself then causing the surface water damage below. All that would stem from a flashing issue at the cricket (if it has one).

The damage at the top of the chimney would be caused by an improper seal at the mortar wash and the stucco. The water would seep in behind the stucco and after freezing would break out the stucco in random spots further down the chimney. That is just a guess and would be hard to say for certain without more photos.

Last edited by jmen24; 09-02-2009 at 08:51 AM. Reason: additional information
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:26 AM   #8
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What should the re-pointing of an average (??) two-story chimney cost? Any estimates??
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:27 PM   #9
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Try Josh at JC masonary, I know he does some nice work. I am just not sure of price. If I can find his # I will post it .
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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Default Things are looking up at the Pond......

Thanks to encouragement and some hints on patching stucco from from CG13 in a private message, I took a stab at this myself. The affected area has been cleaned out and a skim coat of pre-mix stucco has been applied. The rest of the (freakin') chimney has been wire-brushed, patched where needed and a thick coat of paint has been rolled on. It took most of the week-end, but, it was nice to be outside and it didn't cost $8,000! After this patch dries up nice I'll try another skim coat of the pre-mix stucco and we'll see what happens!
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:21 AM   #11
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Default See post #10

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomCat View Post
Our cottage has an old chimney that has an exterior coating of what appears to be stucco or some other similar material, presumably over a cinder/concrete block structure for the flue. The coating is deteriorating and falling in chunks and slabs onto the roof. Can someone recommend a reliable, experienced mason in the Merdith/New Hampton area who could deal with a problem like this? Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.
MomCat
Call McDude...for $8000, he will travel almost anywhere to fix a chimney, and it can be done on a weekend, where you can sit there and watch...now that would be quality entertainment.
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Old 09-07-2009, 07:16 AM   #12
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That being said, and not being a mason by trade, I would think that it would be possible to remove stucco and replace it for a lot less money that doing a stone or brick face on the chimney.

Next time take a picture of a NH plate and tape a copy of it over your license plate, and then hang camo netting between your house and the lake. Might help!
Upthesaukee: I'm still thinking about that camo netting between the house and lake. If I install it do you think I would still have to pay a view tax?
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:37 PM   #13
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Default Probably not...

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Upthesaukee: I'm still thinking about that camo netting between the house and lake. If I install it do you think I would still have to pay a view tax?
Just make sure you have an opening in the netting, as that will give you free inter-net access .

Ok, stab at humor done, back on topic.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:56 AM   #14
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Try Josh at JC masonary, I know he does some nice work. I am just not sure of price. If I can find his # I will post it .
Thanks, ACutAbove. Would that be Josh Steele of Local Masonry (774-8065) in Bristol?

Has anyone had experience with Heritage Enterprises/Stephen Peoples in Moultonboro?

McDude--
I'm impressed!! Nice job! Unfortunately, however, we can't afford you as "quality entertainment."

Upthesaukee--
Thanks for the tip re the camo netting--we'll use it the next time the tax assessor comes around. As for the Mass. plates, we try to keep them out of sight in the garage. For some reason, folks in NH seem to read them as Ma$$achusetts plates. If only they knew...

Thanks for all for the informative (and entertaining) posts.

MC
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:11 PM   #15
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Thanks to encouragement and some hints on patching stucco from from CG13 in a private message, I took a stab at this myself. The affected area has been cleaned out and a skim coat of pre-mix stucco has been applied. The rest of the (freakin') chimney has been wire-brushed, patched where needed and a thick coat of paint has been rolled on. It took most of the week-end, but, it was nice to be outside and it didn't cost $8,000! After this patch dries up nice I'll try another skim coat of the pre-mix stucco and we'll see what happens!
Hey McD, you did what appears in your pictures a great patch job on the chimney. My concern is the angle of the ladder. There is a diagram on the side of the ladder showing one what is a safe angle for ones ladder and the one you have it on IS NOT IT. Check it out before using it the next time so there won't be any broken bones.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:53 PM   #16
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Momcat,

If you are still looking for a mason, I would highly recommend Roger Gilbert and Buddy Johnson (R&B Masonry) from Sanbornton, NH. Roger has been in the business for 50+ years. They replaced an old stone chimney for us about 4 years ago with a cinderblock chimney with a stone veneer.

Good luck!

Buddy can be reached at 524-7381
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:04 AM   #17
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My concern is the angle of the ladder. There is a diagram on the side of the ladder showing one what is a safe angle for ones ladder and the one you have it on IS NOT IT. Check it out before using it the next time so there won't be any broken bones.
RLW: That's what they told me in the ER over at Huggins also
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:17 AM   #18
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Momcat,

If you are still looking for a mason, I would highly recommend Roger Gilbert and Buddy Johnson (R&B Masonry) from Sanbornton, NH. Roger has been in the business for 50+ years. They replaced an old stone chimney for us about 4 years ago with a cinderblock chimney with a stone veneer.

Good luck!

Buddy can be reached at 524-7381
Thanks for the tip--we'll certainly call them for an estimate before we make a decision. The Forum is such a great resource, and its members are "the best."
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:58 AM   #19
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Keep in mind that stucco is only there for looks and when it comes apart it doesn't look good,for sure,but doesn't compromise the integrity of the chimney.The firebrick and outside shell should be fine,so there's nothing wrong with a "home repair' job to save a little cash.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:26 AM   #20
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As a true NH native, stucco chimneys do not belong in NH! That is why you are having all kinds of problems. What ever happen to fieldstone or brick masonry?????
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:13 AM   #21
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As a true NH native, stucco chimneys do not belong in NH! That is why you are having all kinds of problems. What ever happen to fieldstone or brick masonry?????
agreed. We bought this place from the owner/builder who built it @ 1976. Not only was stucco popular back then but, as we've discovered as we've gone along, renovating the place from top to bottom, he took a lot of shortcuts which often amounted to the cheap way out. I'm sure many of you cottage owners out there can relate to this!!
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Old 09-27-2009, 12:20 PM   #22
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Default Yes and No

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Keep in mind that stucco is only there for looks and when it comes apart it doesn't look good,for sure,but doesn't compromise the integrity of the chimney.The firebrick and outside shell should be fine,so there's nothing wrong with a "home repair' job to save a little cash.
While you are correct that the stucco is a face bonded adhesive that serves little purpose other than looks, a deteriation of this material can cause structural damage to the chimney.

When stucco loses its grip on the outside face of the brick below, it creates a pocket. If water has the ability to reach that pocket it will allow the water to seep into the lime mortar and defects within the bricks face. If this occurs during a freeze thaw cycle in the spring and fall the water that is absorbed by the mortar will freeze and create a seperation in the bond with the brick. Without an external material on the brick the water will not hold in place and has a harder time causing this damage. Stucco was not originally designed or intended for use in cold weather climates for this exact reason.

The possiblility of this damage occuring is greater than you think. A chimney inspection by a chimney sweep will also yeild you answers that would point you in the right direction without the expense of going all out on the repair. You can then perform the repair yourself it that is what you are looking to do.

But remember the material you are having to repair did not just get damaged for no reason, not repairing the actual issue will not fix the problem and all the time in the world spent facelifting the material will be in vein. It WILL cost more eventually and may cause considerable damage to other areas of the home as the water pockets and chases become wider and allow more and more water through.

This is not a, you have to use a contractor statement, most repairs around the home can be handled by an armchair handyman, or someone that just likes to tinker. Just take a few minutes while performing the repair and really look at how it could have happened in the first place and fix that while you are at it.
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Old 09-27-2009, 04:16 PM   #23
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Default Chimney repair

I would not use Peoples.... he did work on our place. Quality was not there. We had our chimney rebuilt partially and artificial stone placed on outside. Also a neighbor had his chimney rebuilt on the roof end. We both used Jay Guarino from Meredith. Would use Jay a million times before anyone else. He knows his business inside and out. Been doing it for many years. He's in the phone book....lives out by Waukewan Golf Course.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:37 PM   #24
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As a licensed home inspector I have seen many chimney's over the years. If I saw cracked stucco over a masonry chimney I would be very suspicious of damage to the chimney itself. I have also found that many older chimneys do not have a tile liner. If your chimney does not have a liner, the addition of a properly installed liner is highly advisable.
In short, patching the stucco while cosmetically appealing may not address the root cause of the problem and may be hiding a potentially dangerous situation.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:22 AM   #25
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That is why us old NH natives stick to fieldstone fireplaces. They last foreva!

My Grandfather built this one back in the 20's. Have not been touch since! Never even had a lina!
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:57 AM   #26
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Many thanks to everyone for the feedback. Ours is also a late-1970s vintage chimney, and it was already in place and passed inspection when we bought the property in 1995. As some of us on this forum have learned, the stucco-over-cinder-block construction was a VERY bad idea. JMEN24 offers the same explanation as the professionals we've consulted. Painting (and thus sealing) the stucco only makes matters worse, as the chimney can't breathe and them moisture continues to do damage. It looks as though we'll have to tear down and rebuild from the point where the blocks have not been affected, an expensive proposition, but the only safe and sensible solution over the long term.

Tummyman, thanks for the reference re Jay Guarino.

Has anyone had experience with Chimney Restoration Group?
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:56 AM   #27
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Good Luck and I hope everything works out, the piece of mind will far out weigh the dollars spent.
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:59 AM   #28
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Default Tim Therrian

We had some work done recently by Tim.

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It started as a standard Chimney Sweeping. Tim spotted several potential problems and some conditions that really needed to be fixed.

They repaired flashing, cleaned and reset our wood stove and even spotted some brick repairs on the front of our house that really needed attention.

He is very good at explaining the "whole" job, and educated us on all manner of safely using and maintaining our stove and chimney.

They showed up on-time and his crew did a great job of cleaning up after themselves.

Plus... he's a real nice guy!
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:20 PM   #29
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Default Reputable chimney inspector and maintenance

Hello All,

bought the house back in April, home inspector said both fireplaces were fine. Brought in a chimney inspector after purchasing for another inspection and cleaning, (he is listed on this list, don't want to trash anyone, just want someone who is trustworthy and reliable). He said the upstairs one was fine and didn't even need to be cleaned but the downstairs one we shouldn't use and needed a new lining and etc. etc. Lots of dough! So I brought back the home inspector because I was upset that he said they were both okay. He looked at it again and said it was fine and that the other guy just wanted to make money off me. So I called the guy listed below who was suppose to get back to me with an estimate and never did. His wife said he would get back to me, and once again he never did.

So, I want to bring someone else in because I do not feel messing around with fireplaces is a laughing matter. Now that it is colder we have been using the upstairs fireplace but it seems like when we go downstairs there is a bit of a smokey smell from the other one which has not been used and has a separate flu.

If anyone knows of someone who is reliable and trustworthy please let me know.

Thanks,

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Old 11-04-2010, 09:29 AM   #30
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Now that it is colder we have been using the upstairs fireplace but it seems like when we go downstairs there is a bit of a smokey smell from the other one which has not been used and has a separate flu.
What's happening is the cold air sinking down that flue. You may or may not be getting smoke down it from the other one. I used to get a smoky smell down mine even though I didn't have the other one burning. I found that my furnace's forced draft direct vent was creating a negative pressure in the house and the easiest place for the outside air to equalize was through the chimney. The forced draft system has been tossed.
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:15 PM   #31
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What's happening is the cold air sinking down that flue. You may or may not be getting smoke down it from the other one. I used to get a smoky smell down mine even though I didn't have the other one burning. I found that my furnace's forced draft direct vent was creating a negative pressure in the house and the easiest place for the outside air to equalize was through the chimney. The forced draft system has been tossed.
We do not have a furnace. The house is electric (yikes) which we don't use. We had some rennai heaters installed and use those.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:46 AM   #32
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Default Also in need of repair

We just noticed a water leak coming in just below the lead flashing along the side of chimney shown in the photo. As I don't see a compromise in the lead sheet, I suspect water is entering at one of the cracks in the cap.

I plan to call the masons recommended here. Any others? We are in West Alton.

On our walk today we were on Scenic Drive near Ellacoya and talked to a mason working on a chimney. His name is Norm Godbout and he said that he is quite busy but maybe could take a look. Anyone have knowledge of his work?

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Old 05-08-2015, 10:15 PM   #33
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Hi, wondering if the names in this thread for Chimney Repair are still good??
Anyone have any other names of people to call?
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Old 05-09-2015, 07:41 AM   #34
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We had Fire N Stone do the repair for the issues noted in post # 32. They did a good job at a reasonable price on the promised schedule.
http://www.firenstone.com/
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:54 AM   #35
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We had Fire N Stone do the repair for the issues noted in post # 32. They did a good job at a reasonable price on the promised schedule.
http://www.firenstone.com/
Did you have them repair the mortar between the bricks also? I'm curious how much something like that would cost - I need to go through the same thing, unfortunately.
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Old 05-09-2015, 01:34 PM   #36
Slickcraft
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Did you have them repair the mortar between the bricks also? I'm curious how much something like that would cost - I need to go through the same thing, unfortunately.
They repaired the crown with mortar and then applied Crown Coat sealer. Also they re-pointed the brick with mortar and then applied a clear sealer to all the brick & mortar. Total cost was $1,100 four years ago.
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Old 05-09-2015, 04:36 PM   #37
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They repaired the crown with mortar and then applied Crown Coat sealer. Also they re-pointed the brick with mortar and then applied a clear sealer to all the brick & mortar. Total cost was $1,100 four years ago.
Thank you!
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