Category: Construction

How to Tell If Your Chimney Needs Repair

The first sign that a chimney may need repairs is a visible leak. A leaking chimney can deteriorate masonry and cause water damage to the surrounding walls. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed before it worsens.

Another indicator that a chimney repair is needed is spalling bricks. This occurs when moisture enters brick, concrete, or stone, causing the surface to crack and crumble. You can visit Charleston Chimney Repair for more information.

The chimney crown protects your entire chimney system from harsh weather conditions like rain, snow, winds, and temperature changes. It is like the umbrella that keeps everything below it dry. If the crown cracks or breaks, water can easily enter and cause damage to the masonry, flue lining, damper, and other components. A cracked crown indicates that it’s time to call in a professional chimney repair service.

Chimney crowns can be repaired in several ways, depending on the type of crown you have and how much damage is present. If the chimney crown is made of brick, it may need to be rebuilt. This involves dismantling some existing brick courses and then rebuilding the rest. If the chimney crown is made from concrete, a repair service can fill the cracks and seal the surface.

A repair service can also use a chimney cap with a mesh that allows smoke and vapors to escape while keeping debris, insects, and small animals out. It also has a spark arrestor to prevent fires that could spread on the roof. A chimney cap is a great way to extend the lifespan of your chimney crown.

It’s important to get regular maintenance done on your chimney, including inspections and cleanings. During an inspection, a professional can spot problems with the chimney crown and recommend a repair service.

If you have small cracks in the chimney crown, they need to be filled right away. Even a tiny crack can let in water and other contaminants that can damage the masonry and lead to expensive repairs.

These small cracks in the crown can worsen over time. Freeze-thaw damage happens when water absorbs into the cement structure of the chimney crown, then freezes and thaws, damaging it.

Eventually, the cement can start to crack and crumble. If left untreated, these cracks will expand and allow more water to penetrate the masonry. It’s best to catch these small cracks while they are still relatively minor. Chimney professionals can fill in the cracks and seal them with a durable chimney crown coating. This process is quicker and less expensive than replacing the entire chimney crown.

Chimney leaks are a huge problem and can cause a lot of damage to your home. Water can ruin drywall, ceilings, wood, and more. It’s also a health risk, leading to mold and mildew. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to make sure your chimney is safe and prevent leaks from happening in the first place.

The most common reason a roof leaks around a chimney is the flashing. The flashing is a thin metal material that channels rain away from specific parts of your roof. The roofer typically installs it during a roof installation. It’s usually an L-shaped piece that goes up the side of your roof. One part is generally visible, and it’s called the counter flashing. The other, which you normally don’t see, is the step flashing under your shingles.

Flashing can get damaged from storms and rust. The sealant used to bond the flashing can also wear out, leaving your chimney vulnerable to water leaks. This is a repair that a professional can easily do.

It’s a good idea to check the flashing on all areas of your roof that are exposed to moisture. Chimney leaks can cause a lot of damage, and it’s important to stop them before they get out of hand.

Several products on the market are designed to waterproof your flashing. They have an elastomeric sealant and often have a fabric in them to reinforce the strength of the seal. You can find them at most home improvement stores and online.

If you have a chimney leak, call for an inspection. It could be expensive to do all of the structural damage resulting from a chimney leak, and it’s much better to catch them early. A regular maintenance cadence, including routine inspections, is the best way to prevent these kinds of problems from occurring in the first place.

A chimney is vital to heating and circulating air in your home, but it can also be a major fire risk if the bricks are not in good condition. Chimneys and vents must be free of flammable materials, including rust and creosote. Fortunately, you can often stop rust and other common problems with regular maintenance.

Bricks in the chimney can become damaged from water or extreme temperature fluctuations, resulting in cracks and other damage. These can compromise the chimney’s structural integrity and allow moisture to enter your house, which can cause mold or mildew and damage the wood lining.

The mortar that holds the bricks together in a chimney or other brick structure starts to wear out over time, mainly due to expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes. When this happens, it weakens the bricks and can allow smoke, carbon monoxide, and stray embers to get between the bricks or onto the roof. A chimney expert can repair cracks in the chimney stack with new mortar or rebuild the stack if it’s at risk of collapse.

Chimney bricks can also be prone to spalling, which is the crumbling or flaking of bricks from exposure to moisture and repeated freeze-thaw cycles. This can be extremely dangerous for your chimney and home because it allows moisture to penetrate the bricks, causing them to warp or collapse. A professional can replace the affected bricks and reseal the area to prevent further water damage.

If your chimney is lined with fireclay flue tile, it’s important to check the liner for damage regularly. The classic clay chimney liner is durable, but if it becomes cracked or damaged, the water and heat that flow down the chimney can damage the flue’s interior, leading to a leaky home. Modern chimney liners are made from stainless steel, which is durable, easy to install, and resistant to corrosion.

Chimneys are located high above the roof, meaning they’re vulnerable to storms and other weather elements. If a storm damages your chimney, it can damage the top of your house, leading to leaks and other issues. Suppose you’re planning to tackle a chimney repair project yourself. In that case, you must understand the dangers of working on a rooftop and have access to safety equipment, such as a harness, fall protection, and sturdy ladders. It’s also a good idea to have a professional inspect your chimney before beginning any repairs yourself, as they can recommend the best methods and tools for your unique situation.

White stains are commonly seen on the exterior of chimneys. While it’s easy for homeowners to see and brush them off as a part of the natural aging process, this white residue is more than just a cosmetic issue. The stains are known as chimney efflorescence and are a clear sign of water damage.

Efflorescence is created when water reaches the brick and dissolves the salt naturally contained in the masonry structure. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind a powdery white-colored salt deposit that is most visible on the surface of your chimney. You may also notice these deposits on basement walls, cement blocks, clay, sand, or other unsealed porous surfaces.

Chimneys that have a lot of efflorescence are likely to experience water infiltration problems shortly. As moisture is drawn to the masonry by gravity, it can work through tiny fissures and hairline cracks to the inside of the chimney.

Over time, the moisture can destroy the masonry and allow leaks to develop. These leaks can lead to a chimney collapse and, in severe cases, a house fire that threatens your safety and property.

When you see signs of white stains on your chimney, it’s best to schedule an inspection with a professional sweep. The certified chimney experts will determine the extent of the damage caused by moisture and recommend a course of action to repair it. This could include a chimney waterproofing application, chimney crown repair or replacement, brick-and-mortar repairs, and more.

In addition to the damage it can cause to a masonry chimney, water infiltration can destroy your home’s interior. It can ruin insulation, carpeting, padding, and wood if left untreated. Moisture that creates stains on your chimney also adds to the moisture in your attic, which can cause mold and rot in wood framing. This excess moisture can then be drawn down into the living areas of your home and ruin ceilings, walls, carpets, and other surfaces. A chimney expert will help you resolve the problem and stop the moisture infiltration as quickly as possible.