The Freeze and Thaw Cycle

The worst thing that can happen to your chimney system no matter what time of year is water damage. A chimney leak can damage the masonry, compromising its safety and efficiency, but it can also damage other portions of the home. When water is allowed into the home by way of the chimney, it will seep through walls and floors until it reaches a low point and forms a leak. This can cause damaged building materials, wall coverings, floors, ceilings, and furniture. It can also lead to mold and mildew that can affect your health and overall value of your property. A little chimney damage can lead to extreme damage that will take time and money to repair.

Winter Damage
Water is bad at any time of year, but during winter it can be catastrophic. This is due to the cycle of freezing and thawing that occurs as temperatures regularly dip below freezing throughout winter.
The problem begins with minor damage. Small cracks and gaps in the masonry can allow water in easily. A light rain or snowfall can put moisture into existing cracks and gaps that seem harmless. As temperatures drop, however, this water freezes. As it freezes, the water expands, breaking apart the masonry. When a fire is lit in the system, or as temperatures rise during the day, the water melts and moves further into the damaged masonry. This process repeats itself throughout the cold season and results in serious damage—called winter damage that will follow throughout the year.

Common Winter Damage
At Brickliners we commonly see winter damage during spring inspections. This damage can range from minor cracks and gaps to serious structural damage. Winter damage can affect masonry or parts, and should be addressed as soon as possible. A little damage to the masonry now can lead to serious water damage after a wet spring. Have your winter damage repaired now, and avoid extra costs and headache later.
Spalling Masonry – The freeze/thaw cycle can lead to spalling masonry. Spalling masonry is cracked and crumbling bricks and mortar. It can allow moisture into the chimney system and the home, but can also allow bricks to fall onto the flashing and roof below, adding to the damage.
Recommended Repair: Brickliners can repair spalling masonry through a process called re-pointing or tuckpointing in which a professional removes the brick and mortar, and replaces the mortar with new of equal color, strength, and consistency. An amateur may not properly match the mortar, which can weaken the system instead of strengthen it. Depend on Brickliners so that your system will be fully restored, not just repaired.
Crown or Flashing Damage – When water freezes and thaws it doesn’t just affect the masonry itself. The crown atop the flue may also become cracked and damaged throughout winter. The flashing can also shift and dislodge with the help of moisture and ice. It’s important to have these things corrected as soon as detected, to continue to prevent water penetration and damage.

Not only can we repair damage caused from water, but we can also prevent it. Talk to a Brickliners associate about waterproofing services that will keep water out all winter long.

Don’t wait. Call Brickliners today at 802-872-0123.

Related Articles

The Value of a Chimney Cap

Of all of the parts, pieces, and functions of your chimney system, the chimney cap may be the most valuable. It’s one of the most

What Is Chimney Waterproofing?

Many are told that waterproofing is a necessary step in keeping their chimney better protected, but what exactly does this mean and what does the