Chimney Repair Services That Upgrade Components Without Refurbishing
When a chimney shows signs of damage, it needs to be repaired before the problem worsens. Chimney specialists can perform targeted repairs that upgrade fundamental components without requiring a full-scale rebuild.
Moisture entering your home through the chimney is a serious safety concern. It causes spalling (crumbling of the outer layers of brick masonry), leading to more costly problems. Contact Baltimore Chimney Repair now!
A chimney crown is the part of a chimney on top of the structure, covering the top opening of the flue. It is typically made of concrete and, like all parts of a chimney, it will show signs of wear and tear, especially after prolonged exposure to foul weather and moisture. This is why it’s important to have a professional chimney sweep perform annual inspections and spot even small indications of damage and deterioration in the crown before they get out of hand.
The most obvious sign of a damaged chimney crown is visible cracks in the surface. These can be quite small, but even a hairline crack is enough for moisture to enter the chimney, causing further deterioration and water leaks into the home. Eventually, the bricks and masonry of the chimney crown can be damaged to the point where they begin to crumble, called spalling. Spalling bricks will need to be replaced, a process known as tuckpointing that requires removing the old mortar and replacing it with new, color-matched materials.
Another sign of a chimney crown in trouble is stains on ceilings and walls near the chimney. When the chimney crown gets damaged, water can seep into the masonry, leading to extensive damage, including structural problems with the roof and home. Fortunately, this is also an easy problem to fix. A professional chimney sweep can seal the cracks with a waterproofing material. The sooner this is done, the less expensive the repair will be, and the more likely the crown will be able to resist further damage. Use a waterproof material designed for chimneys and apply at least three coats for the best results.
There are a few components that every chimney needs to work properly. There’s the chimney cap that keeps animals and debris out of your fireplace, the masonry, the visible brick-and-mortar most people associate with a chimney, and the flue that directs smoke and gases up and out of the home.
Chimney flue tiles are designed to protect the lining, and they play an important part in the safety of your chimney. A cracked flue tile allows heat, combustible creosote, and other combustion byproducts to escape from the flue, which can lead to serious damage inside your home.
A crack in the flue can also create a chimney leak that allows carbon monoxide to seep into your home. This odorless, colorless gas can cause dizziness, headaches, and even death in high concentrations. The leaking gases can also damage your home’s structure, causing brick to crumble and mortar to loosen.
The best way to prevent cracks in the flue is to schedule regular chimney cleaning services. During a chimney sweep, the flue will be cleaned and inspected for any damage or gaps that need to be repaired.
It’s possible to repair a crack in the flue by back-butting the broken tile with mortar and allowing it to dry. A new flue tile is then dropped into place, and a few days later, the cement will harden, securing the new tile firmly to the chimney. This procedure is less costly than a complete flue liner replacement, required if your clay flue tiles are cracked and damaged beyond repair. This requires partial demolition of the chimney to replace the deteriorated clay tiles.
Brick chimneys are amazingly durable but must be well cared for. A chimney that isn’t in good condition can collapse with little notice, posing a serious safety risk for people and pets inside the house. Fortunately, catching minor issues early is one of the best ways to keep chimneys functioning properly for longer.
One of the most common signs that a chimney needs repair is when mortar cracks. Mortar joints take the brunt of stress from wall movement, foundation settlement, and exposure to weather elements. Over time, these joints can crack and deteriorate more quickly than the bricks themselves.
Chimneys with deteriorating mortar should be repaired immediately. Repointing involves removing and replacing the old, damaged mortar with fresh, new mortar. This is a relatively easy chimney repair job for a qualified mason, and it’s one of the most effective ways to restore a chimney’s structural integrity.
Another common sign that a chimney needs repair is spalling bricks. This occurs when the outer layer of brick breaks apart, exposing more porous layers underneath. This damage can compromise the chimney’s structural integrity and lead to moisture problems. Fortunately, applying a clear silane-siloxane water repellent easily addresses this type of brick damage.
A masonry expert should inspect all visible surfaces of a chimney for signs of deterioration. Stand back and visually examine the masonry from a distance, and use binoculars to spot any irregularities in the brickwork. A masonry specialist should also check flashing for leaks commonly caused by water seepage through the chimney’s roof. A qualified mason can replace and caulk the seams in these areas to prevent further water damage and interior rot.
If you’ve ever noticed loose bricks or crumbling mortar in your chimney, it’s time for a professional inspection. Crumbling bricks indicate significant water penetration that can lead to severe structural damage and even chimney collapse. A skilled technician can remove and replace loose bricks and repair damaged mortar, a process known as tuckpointing.
Loose bricks are another symptom of water penetration that leads to spalling or the flaking and breaking masonry materials. This weathering is caused by freeze-thaw action or water leaking into porous masonry materials. The resulting expansion of dissolved salt causes the surface to break off, especially in areas most exposed to weather and temperature fluctuations. Chimneys with leaky flue liners are particularly susceptible to spalling.
Besides being unsightly, a chimney with loose bricks is a serious safety hazard. A deteriorated chimney structure may collapse, causing walls to cave in or a roof to leak. A leaky chimney can also lead to rot and mold, a health hazard for homeowners. A professional technician can inspect your chimney for signs of a leaky flue lining and recommend a solution.
When replacing a loose brick, make sure it matches its neighboring bricks perfectly. This ensures the new brick will blend in and help conceal the repaired area. Once the old brick is removed, apply a coat of clear silicone sealant to the anchor point and the replacement brick. Wipe away any excess silicone sealant with a cloth before it dries, and then press the replacement brick in place. Before applying a second coat of sealant, mark the new brick with an X with masking tape to warn pedestrians not to step on it until it’s fully cured.
Water damage is a common problem that can lead to chimney failure. It often occurs when a rain shower or snowstorm damages a chimney, but it can also occur in the interior of the chimney. If you see signs of leaking water, including staining on the walls or ceiling around your fireplace, this is a sign that your chimney is letting in water and needs repair.
Water leaks are particularly dangerous because the masonry in your chimney is naturally porous, which means it absorbs rainwater. Over time, this moisture can cause the masonry to crack and crumble. This leads to gaps that allow more water, causing even more damage. This cycle can repeat itself repeatedly, causing a chimney to lose its structural integrity.
When a chimney leaks water, the moisture seeps into your home, damaging the walls, foundation, and carpeting. It can also lead to mold and mildew buildup, a serious health risk for your family.
A regular chimney inspection can help prevent this problem. Chimney professionals will inspect the flashing, which seals the chimney from the roof, and ensure it’s free of cracks, holes, and deterioration. They can also install a chimney cricket, a metal piece that redirects water away from the chimney base. In addition, they can caulk all of the seams and joints to ensure the chimney is completely water-tight. Keeping up with regular chimney maintenance and routine chimney inspections can help prevent expensive chimney leaks that can be hard to detect. A professional will catch and repair problems early, preventing them from worsening. This can save you money on chimney repairs and may even save your home from potential damage.