Masonry is a complex compound of materials that can withstand centuries of natural elements and use. However there are some things that can cause major damage to your masonry chimney, lowering efficiency, raising fire risk, and causing stains and damage to walls, ceilings, and fireplace. Because the risk is high, it’s important to maintain your chimney system properly, schedule regular chimney sweeps and annual inspections, and be aware of signs indicating masonry damage.
Signs of Masonry Damage
Masonry is a combination of mortar and metal, which can be extensively damaged by water. It can also become damaged by certain natural occurrence including tornadoes, hurricane-force winds, earthquakes, and fire. It’s important that the chimney is straight up and down on all sides, or plumb. If the chimney leans it can cause leaking, and structural damage.
Signs of masonry damage include:
- Cracks in the foundation
- Widening of joints
- Crumbling mortar and bricks
- Cracked and missing bricks
- Leaning chimney
- Water damage
When to Call a Professional
If you suspect masonry damage, the time to call in the professional is NOW. Only a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) can assess damage and repair masonry properly.
Brickliners chimney sweeps are trained and experienced in a full menu of masonry services including:
- Chimney and fireplace construction—This should take place during new-home construction or renovation and should not be done by a general contractor who isn’t trained in chimney safety and construction.
- Chimney and fireplace restoration—If the chimney is old, or doesn’t pass a routine inspection you may opt for a restoration or update. A certified chimney sweep can even restore the structure of the chimney and fireplace system if needed.
- Tuckpointing—Natural elements can damage the exterior masonry over time. Tuckpointing is a tedious process of removing cracked and damaged mortar, and replacing it with new mortar. The new mortar should match the old in strength as well as color. If the mortar is not equal in strength to the existing mortar, it weakens the structural integrity of the masonry.
Chimney crown repair—If the chimney crown is cracked or damaged it should be repaired to prevent water damage to the chimney system. A professional is able to assess the damage and can either repair minor damage with a sealant, or reconstruct the entire crown.
- Firebox repair—The firebox withstands wear and tear over time, but also endures high temperatures regularly. Using a damaged firebox can cause fire and structural damage, but a certified chimney sweep can replace or repair the firebox to full functionality, and you don’t have to worry about your comfort or safety.
It is important to stay ahead of masonry problems when you depend on a chimney and fireplace for home heating. By the time damage is evident to the untrained eye, there is most likely already extensive damage. A Brickliners chimney sweep is trained to look for issues and damage before they become dangerous, expensive problems.
If you have concerns about your masonry chimney, call Brickliners today at 802-872-0123 or schedule an appointment online.