When your chimney has become damaged by weather, falling debris, or time, your home and family are in danger of collapsing masonry and chimney fires. To ensure the safety of your home and family, it is necessary to examine your chimney annually and make any necessary repairs.
On the outside of your chimney, chips and breaks increase the surface area of the brick and create a more porous surface for water absorption. Greater water absorption leads to deterioration of the brick and mortar. On the inside of your chimney, a cracked flue presents a danger of a house fire. By repairing damaged chimneys, you avoid costly deterioration and structure fire.
Types of Chimney Damage
Your chimney crown helps keep rain and small nesting animals out of your chimney. When your chimney crown is cracked, water can leak in. Cracked crowns are relatively easy to repair, requiring minimal grinding and/or epoxy for smaller cracks and replacement for cracks that cannot be repaired.
When your chimney flue is cracked, you are in danger of a chimney fire, which can easily turn into a structure fire. Your flue can become cracked due to former chimney fires or for other reasons. The top of the flue, which is an inch or two above top of chimney, can become damaged by snow and wind and may begin to develop rot near its top. If the damage is extensive, you may need to replace the flue with a steel liner. Often, the flue can be pulled out and replaced with terra cotta.
When the joints between the bricks or stones of your chimney begin to fail, you may find chips of masonry around the foundation of your home. You may not see any signs, however, so it is best to examine your chimney every spring to see if the mortar between the joints is holding up. Breaks in the joints can be caused by shifting of your home, seasonal weather, and falling debris. The technique of repointing repairs the joints between the bricks of your chimney. Re-pointing involves grinding the mortar approximately one inch back and replacing with new mortar. If your chimney has suffered considerable damage, it may make more sense to replace the chimney.
Damages to chimney flashing are common and are often noticed during a rain storm, when water enters the house through cracks around the chimney and drips down through the ceiling. Chimney flashing is made of lead, which is both durable and malleable. When applied correctly, flashing forms protective covering around the base of your chimney to protect your home from water.
During winter, ice can force its way under the flashing and loosen its hold on your chimney. Once the flashing has been loosened by ice, wind blows up into the opening and continues to loosen the connection between your flashing and your roof and chimney. Homeowners should check the flashing each year to determine if it needs to be replaced or re-adhered. Flashing should be replaced when it has become mossy, dirty, or excessively scraped. Moss, dirt, and scrapes increase the surface area of the flashing as well as its ability to hold water, which speeds up the deterioration of the flashing.
Other Chimney Services
Pressure washing your chimney removes the dirt and moss that contribute to deterioration of your mortar, masonry, flashing, joints, and crown. By keeping your masonry clean, you extend its life and save money in repairs due to deterioration.
Our restoration cleanup service takes stock of your chimney without the full inspection price tag. During a restoration cleanup, Valley Masonry checks for:
Chips or bricks on the ground
Build-up of creosote, chips, and organic matter in the clean-out door
Creosote build-up in the pipes leading to the thimble
Cracks in the hearth or mantle
Loose bricks, chipped mortar and any other damage to chimney structure
General code violations that could endanger home or family
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