Chimney Repair: Signs That Your Chimney Needs Repair
Chimneys get a lot of weather exposure, and that takes its toll. Creosote buildup and freezing and thawing can lead to deterioration of the masonry and flue lining.
Chimney leaks are another common sign of chimney deterioration that homeowners should monitor and repair. This can help prevent water damage to the home and other problems, like mold. For professional help, contact Charleston Chimney Repair.
Chimney flue liners are designed to absorb the heat and moisture of smoke, ash, and gases produced by fireplaces, wood stoves, and furnaces. Unfortunately, these liners are subject to extreme temperature changes and can crack or break. Cracked tiles allow creosote and other debris to escape into the home. This is dangerous because creosote ignites easily and may cause a chimney fire that can damage the masonry work. The cracks also create holes through which combustible carbon monoxide can leak into the home. Carbon monoxide is known as the “Silent Killer” because it is tasteless, colorless, and odorless.
Cracked tiles are often caused by sudden events such as a chimney fire or lightning strike. Inferior construction or the ongoing settling of a home can also contribute to cracked flue tile. Luckily, there are several ways a chimney professional can repair a cracked flue liner.
If a cracked flue tile is reachable from the top of the chimney, it can be broken apart with a hammer and replaced with a new tile. The new tile is back-buttered with chimney cement and lowered into place. The cement will seep into the cracks and voids in the mortar and cure over the course of a few days.
However, if there are many cracked and broken tiles that are not accessible from the top of the chimney, it is likely best to replace the entire flue liner with a stainless steel lining. Stainless steel liners are one solid piece and do not crack like clay tiles.
The most common flue liner in older homes is made from clay tile. Over time, these liners deteriorate because the heat from chimney fires isn’t evenly distributed, and they expand and contract more than other materials. Many experts recommend installing a metal or cast-in-place chimney liner instead of a clay tile liner for increased durability.
An annual chimney inspection is the best way to detect a cracked flue liner or any other chimney problems that need to be repaired. A licensed chimney technician will use a video camera lowered into the flue to examine it for cracks, gaps, and other issues. They can then make a diagnosis and determine the most effective chimney flue liner repair solution.
Spalling bricks are an early sign that your chimney structure is in serious need of repair. When brick spalls, it exposes the porous interior of the masonry, which leads to water damage that can ultimately destroy the masonry. Water damage also promotes mold growth, which is not only a health hazard but unsightly as well. If the masonry is damaged to such an extent that it collapses, the entire chimney structure can cave in, which is a dangerous situation for your home or business and could cause expensive structural damage.
Brick spalling can be caused by many different factors, but the main factor is moisture. Moisture can get trapped in the pores of brick during a freeze-thaw cycle and expand so much that it breaks the brick apart. It can also happen due to poor construction of brick or salvaged brick that has a tendency to spall quickly. Poor drainage around the foundation of a building or home is another major contributor to brick spalling.
While some people may choose to seal their bricks to protect them from moisture, this actually makes the problem worse. Brick sealers trap the moisture just behind the brick face rather than allowing it to evaporate out of the masonry. It is best to avoid these types of sealants, especially on older brick. Instead, it is recommended that homeowners and businesses invest in quality drainage systems to help move water away from masonry structures.
If your brick is beginning to spall, it’s important to contact a professional as soon as possible. They will be able to identify the cause and fix the issue before it gets worse. If the masonry is severely damaged, it might be necessary to rebuild the entire chimney. However, if only a few bricks are affected by spalling, it can be repaired with tuckpointing. To do this, a small trowel is used to “butter” all four sides of the replacement brick with mortar. The new brick is then pushed into place, and the excess is removed. The mortar is then smoothed with a tuckpointing tool to make it look like the original brick.
The fundamental law of nature dictates that smoke and noxious gases should go straight up, not back down. Chimneys are designed to facilitate this process by providing those gases with a clear path to the sky. They do this by creating a draft, or barely perceptible movement of air, that replaces the air that escapes the fire. This motion of air also pulls fresh oxygen toward the fire, which keeps it burning strong and efficient.
However, chimneys can develop several issues that disrupt drafting and send smoke back into the home. Fortunately, most of these problems can be solved by the pros without risking the safety or efficiency of your heating equipment or the integrity of your chimney.
One common reason for blowback is a closed damper. When a fireplace is in use, the damper needs to be open so that the smoke has somewhere to go other than into the home. It’s an easy fix, but it can often be overlooked.
Another cause of blowback is a cracked chimney crown. This isn’t a problem that can wait, and homeowners should contact their local professional to address it soon to avoid serious water damage.
Cracked crowns can be repaired with remortaring, sealant, or tuckpointing. These methods are typically more affordable than a complete chimney restoration, which can cost up to $4,000. Chimneys made of brick can experience spalling, or the deterioration of the brick surface due to moisture. These deteriorations can lead to crumbling or flaking of the masonry, which isn’t good for your chimney and shouldn’t be ignored.
The best way to prevent these kinds of problems is through regular cleaning and inspections. During these visits, the professionals can look for blockages and other chimney problems that aren’t obvious to the naked eye.
The most important thing to remember about chimneys is that they are meant to be structurally sound. They need to be kept clean, free of obstructions, and properly sized for the structure of your home. Chimneys that are too small or tall for the structure can lead to a wide array of issues, including improper drafting and a weakened chimney that can collapse.
Chimney leaks are a common issue with chimneys. They can cause significant damage to a home’s structure and lead to moisture problems in other areas of the house. Chimney leaks can be caused by a variety of things, including a damaged chimney crown or cracked bricks. It is important to have your chimney inspected regularly by a professional to prevent leaks.
Most commonly, chimney leaks are caused by damaged or deteriorated chimney flashing. The chimney flashing is the metal material that goes around the base of your chimney and integrates with your roof (whether it’s shingles or another type). It is crucial that this area is sealed properly, or water will seep into the structure of your home. Chimney leaks can also be caused by a poor chimney cap or deteriorating mortar.
Leaks are often accompanied by a musty or rotten smell. The musty odor is caused by mold and bacteria that are invading the interior of your chimney. Leaking chimneys are also a safety hazard, as they can allow dangerous fumes to enter your living spaces.
A chimney leak is typically easy to spot, but it can be difficult to pinpoint the source. There are many signs that indicate a chimney leak, such as water stains on your ceilings or walls. Chimney leaks can also be a problem for your health, as they can lead to serious mold and rot problems in your home.
If you suspect that you have a chimney leak, it is important to contact a professional right away. A chimney repair expert will be able to determine the source of the leak and make repairs as needed.
To help you avoid a chimney leak, it is recommended that you get your chimney inspected by a professional once per year. This will ensure that the flue lining and chimney structure are in good condition and safe for use. In addition, a professional inspection will help you identify any potential issues and fix them before they become a larger problem. Contact a chimney repair company today to schedule your appointment.