Chimney repair should be left to professional chimney contractors. They know how to work on roofs and follow strict safety procedures. They also have the tools that homeowners don’t have.
Common chimney repairs include fixing cracks, repairing wood rot, and rebuilding the chimney stack. If ignored, these issues can lead to costly and dangerous consequences. Visit https://chimneysweepcharleston.com/ for professional help.
Cracks in chimney masonry can be serious, depending on their size and location. Hairline cracks that appear periodically in a chimney head or horizontal bed mortar joint are usually harmless. However, long cracks extending across a chimney’s face are cause for concern. Cracks located near a chimney’s foundation can indicate shifting or settlement in the ground below. In these cases, a helical pier system may be needed to stabilize the structure and avoid damage.
Chimney cracks can also be caused by poor construction. If a chimney is built without an adequate gap between the flue liner and the masonry structure, there will be a constant stress on the bricks of the structure. Over time, this can lead to cracked and crumbling masonry. It is important to have a gap or space of at least one inch between the liner and the chimney structure.
Another area of a chimney that is commonly prone to cracking is the chimney crown. This is the sloping cap that covers the top of the chimney, and it can be especially vulnerable to moisture because water tends to collect there after a rainstorm. Cracks in the chimney crown are often a sign of deteriorating mortar joints, but they can also be caused by a shift in soil beneath the foundation.
Cracks in a chimney’s masonry are not only unsightly, but they can compromise a home’s safety. The chimney may leak gases such as carbon monoxide into the house, which can be extremely dangerous. Cracks in a chimney can also allow debris, such as branches and leaves, to enter the chimney and cause further damage. Fortunately, if homeowners keep an eye on their chimneys and catch cracks early, they can save themselves a lot of money and headaches by having them repaired sooner rather than later. Chimney professionals can help homeowners spot and repair cracked masonry, so it is important to schedule regular chimney inspections.
When moisture gets inside a chimney, it can cause a lot of damage, from structural problems like mold and wood rot to water stains, mortar damage, rusted accessories and even tilted or collapsed chimneys. While this damage may seem minor at first, it can worsen quickly and lead to more serious issues if not repaired as soon as possible.
One of the most common causes of leaks is damaged flashing. Flashing is a thin strip of metal that connects the roof and the chimney. When it’s properly installed, it can be a long-lasting and effective solution to leaking chimneys. However, flashing can often be damaged by rain and other weather, or it can be poorly installed.
Chimney leaks can also be caused by a deteriorating chimney crown, which can crack and fall off, leaving the structure vulnerable to water. Some homeowners use masonry sealants to repair this issue, but they tend to fail quickly. A more permanent and durable fix is to have the chimney rebuilt, replacing the crown and replacing the flashing.
While some products are sold at home improvement stores that claim to be able to stop chimney leaks, most of these simply trap the moisture, leading to bigger problems in the long run. The best way to prevent chimney leaks is to have it regularly inspected by a qualified professional, especially before heavy rains.
Whenever a homeowner spots water or moisture on the walls, floor, ceiling or furniture around the fireplace, it’s a sure sign that the chimney has a leak. The longer the moisture stays in the house, the more damaging it will be to finishes like paint, paneling and drywall, as well as wood and plaster.
Using a hose and stationing one person in the attic or from a point on the roof where they can see the ceiling directly below the chimney, the other should pour water along the lower side of the chimney, one shingle at a time, for two minutes. The spot where the water drops should be marked firmly with a lumber crayon to prevent it from fading before repairs can be made.
Chimneys seem like pretty indestructible structures, and they are — but there are things that can damage even the strongest chimney. One of the biggest culprits is water. From warm summer rain to the cold snow, sleet, and ice of winter, moisture can damage chimney components, and it can lead to dangerous conditions for you and your family.
Brick is very porous and naturally absorbs moisture. This can cause the brick to crack, crumble, and fall apart, which is a problem known as spalling. If this happens, you will notice pieces of masonry falling onto the roof or ground below the chimney. The best way to avoid spalling is by waterproofing your chimney. Waterproofing keeps excess moisture out of your chimney, but it also allows the moisture that does get inside to escape as quickly as possible.
The flue lining is another essential component of the chimney that can be damaged by water. Whether the lining is made of clay tile, stainless steel, or a poured concrete liner, it will deteriorate if exposed to water over long periods of time. Chimneys with a damaged flue lining will not draft properly, and they can also leak toxic fumes into the home. If you notice signs of flue lining damage, such as cracks or bits of masonry breaking off, you should contact a chimney sweep right away for repair.
Another common issue caused by water is rust. This is usually a sign of a problem with the chimney flashing, which is located on the part of the chimney that meets the rooftop. The flashing is typically aluminum, sealed with tar, and bends over the sides of the chimney and shingles to protect against rainwater entering into the chimney. If the flashing is cracked, torn, or missing, it will let rainwater enter the chimney and your home, which can be a major headache to fix.
Regardless of the type of chimney you have, it is important to keep up with regular maintenance. Routine chimney inspections can catch issues before they become worse, including cracks and moisture problems. Water problems can quickly escalate, so if you suspect your chimney is in need of repair, it is imperative to call right away.
Chimneys that aren’t maintained on a regular basis are susceptible to structural damage, which can occur in the form of cracks that allow smoke or poisonous gases to enter the home or a leaning chimney that is at risk of crumbling. It’s important to know how to recognize these signs of structural damage so you can contact a masonry professional for repairs before the problem gets worse.
Cracking in a chimney is often caused by moisture that seeps into masonry materials and freezes and thaws repeatedly, wearing down bricks and mortar over time. The resulting cracks can be repaired with a process called repointing, where the old mortar is removed and replaced with new material to repair the cracked surfaces. Spalling is another sign that the chimney masonry is deteriorating, where bricks flake, chip and break apart, leaving rough patches on the surface of the chimney. Widespread spalling is a major problem that requires immediate attention from a professional, as it indicates that water is penetrating the structure and causing serious damage.
The integrity of a chimney is also affected by the way it was constructed. Construction errors, such as using the wrong type of flue liner or a shallow footing, can create problems with the structure later on. Also, natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances can damage a chimney, such as a tree falling on it or a chimney fire that damages the chimney’s foundation.
In many cases, a chimney’s stability is dependent on the condition of its foundation, which is typically a poured concrete pad under the firebox. If the chimney’s foundation is damaged, the entire structure can become unstable and may even collapse. Chimneys with foundation problems often require a full rebuild, which can be expensive.
Chimneys are prone to damage due to their exposed location at the top of a roof. A chimney should be inspected regularly by an experienced professional, especially before the heating season begins each year. When a chimney is properly cared for, it can serve its owners for a long period of time. Getting a chimney repaired when needed is crucial to ensure its longevity and safety, especially in the case of cracks that can allow flammable creosote to reach wood framing or other combustible materials in the house.