Your chimney performs a vital function—it carries dangerous carbon monoxide and smoke outdoors where it can’t enter your home. That’s why you must watch for signs that it needs Chimney Repair.
Look for cracks in the mortar between bricks. This is a sign that your chimney needs tuckpointing.
If you find a puddle of water on the floor near your fireplace or notice stains on the ceilings around the chimney, there may be a leak in your chimney. Leaks can cause expensive damage to your home, so it’s important to have a professional inspect the problem and make any necessary repairs.
A water leak is most often caused by damaged or missing flashing. Flashing is a metal material that roofers use to create a waterproof seal where the chimney stack meets the roof structure. Chimney leaks can also occur if the chimney is built without a cap or chase cover. A missing chimney cap or damaged chase cover leaves the fireplace uncovered to rain and snow, which can easily penetrate masonry surfaces.
Another common reason for a chimney leak is a deteriorating flue liner. The flue liner consists of clay tile or concrete and protects the chimney masonry from the intense heat produced by a fire. If the flue liner deteriorates, hot gases from the fireplace can escape into combustible building materials like the attic or roof framing. This can cause a fire that could destroy the chimney or damage your home.
Chimney leaks can also occur due to the natural shifts and stresses that happen in a home’s masonry. As a result, a small crack can quickly grow into a big leak if the area is exposed to moisture. Eventually, the chimney will need to be rebuilt or replaced entirely.
The best way to prevent a chimney leak is by scheduling regular inspections with an experienced chimney company. During an inspection, your chimney expert will pour water in and around your fireplace to test the area for leaks. Then, they will check the flashing and repoint or rewaterproof your chimney as needed. If you haven’t had an inspection recently, schedule one today to get your chimney ready for heavy rains!
Seeing white deposits on the outside surface of your chimney can be a scary sight. It’s a common problem that occurs on masonry materials and is often a sign of a serious issue within the chimney structure. The powdery, chalk-like deposits are called efflorescence. Despite its appearance, it’s not actually harmful to the chimney and can be easily removed with water and a brush. However, it’s important to know that if your chimney is suffering from this problem, you’ll need to call a professional to get the problem fixed before it worsens.
Efflorescence is formed when moisture seeps through the bricks and dissolves the soluble salts that are naturally present in the masonry structure. The dissolved salts then evaporate when the water comes into contact with the exterior surface of the chimney and leaves behind a chalky, salty residue on the bricks. While this isn’t a major concern in and of itself, it can indicate that the masonry structure isn’t fully waterproofed.
A chimney with efflorescence may need a chimney liner installed to help prevent leaks and damage. In addition, it’s a good idea to get an annual inspection from a certified chimney sweep who will check for signs of water damage along with looking for other structural and warning issues in the chimney structure.
The best way to prevent efflorescence is to make sure that your chimney is built using quality masonry materials that don’t have a lot of soluble salts and are dense enough to stop water from permeating the bricks. In addition, proper drainage away from the masonry structure will help to keep moisture from building up inside and causing the formation of soluble salts that lead to efflorescence.
Efflorescence can also be removed with a stiff brush and a mixture of vinegar and water. If the stains are severe, a masonry cleaner can be used to remove the buildup and leave the chimney looking like new. There are also DIY instructions online for the use of muriatic acid diluted with water to remove tougher stains from masonry.
When the mortar between bricks starts to crumble, it’s time for a chimney repair. This deterioration is a sign that the mortar mixture has been compromised, either through environmental exposure or mistakes in the original mix. This is not something that will improve on its own, and ignoring it leaves the chimney exposed to moisture damage. Water that gets into the masonry will absorb and then expand as it freezes, creating cracks and leaving the brick vulnerable to further damage.
The best way to avoid costly chimney repairs like this is to keep up with annual inspections and tuck point repairs, allowing the professionals to catch issues before they get out of hand. This will prevent the chimney from developing major problems and help extend its life.
One of the most common causes of deterioration in brick chimneys is water penetration. This problem can be extremely damaging, causing the chimney to crack and eventually fall apart. The best way to prevent this is by keeping up with tuck-point repairs, adding waterproofing, and performing regular maintenance to the flashing.
Another sign of deterioration is white staining on the bricks, which is known as efflorescence. This is caused by the absorption of water into the masonry and the subsequent deposit of mineral salts on the surface. The stains are easily removed, but if the underlying issue is not addressed, it may be a sign that the chimney will need to be repaired or replaced.
Lastly, one of the most dangerous signs of deterioration in a brick chimney is loose bricks. This problem is usually caused by the builder using low quality mortar or by over-compressing the masonry as it is built. As the mortar between the bricks deteriorates, it loses its ability to support the brick and can cause the bricks to become loose or even break off from the chimney.
Brick chimneys are durable and designed to last for a long time thanks to the mortar joints that take the brunt of wall movement, foundation settlement, and other stresses that can damage the brick. However, these joints will crack and deteriorate over time, especially if the mortar is made from inferior ingredients or if it is not properly compressed. This is why it’s important to use high quality masonry cement and properly tuck-point the mortar in your chimney as needed.
Bricks in chimneys are often exposed to harsh weather conditions, with little or no protection from rain, wind, snow and ice. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for bricks to become loose or cracked. If this is left unattended, it can lead to water penetration that may damage the rest of the structure. However, if caught early enough, loose bricks are a relatively simple repair to make.
The most common cause of moisture problems is the absence of a chimney cap. This can allow rainwater, leaves and other debris to enter the chimney and saturate the masonry materials. In addition, water can easily penetrate the mortar and brick through cracks in the crown and through dislodged roof flashing. Lastly, the footing of the chimney may be too thin or poorly sunk to support the weight of the stacked masonry materials.
Repeated freezing and thawing cycles can also damage the mortar in your chimney. This process is called spalling, and it can weaken the masonry and allow water to leak into your home. Chimneys with older brick are especially prone to spalling, and you should inspect your chimney for this kind of damage as soon as possible.
It’s important to note that a spalling chimney can be dangerous, and it should always be repaired by a professional. Leaving a spalling chimney unattended can lead to the collapse of the entire structure, which could threaten your safety and that of your family.
A skilled chimney mason can repair spalling bricks with a brush-applied mortar joint filler, which will ensure that the joint is not only water-resistant but also completely sealed from future damage. They will also use a matching mortar pigment to ensure that the new mortar blends in with the existing mortar joints.
While most homeowners would never consider taking on a project as dangerous and complex as repairing a chimney themselves, there are some who are willing to try. However, working on a chimney is not an easy task, and the proper equipment is expensive to purchase. Additionally, the risk of injury is significant. If you have the right information, you can turn a project that requires a professional into an at-home DIY brick repair to save money.