Home Improvement

Chimney Repair – What to Do When a Chimney is in Need of Repair

Charleston Chimney Repair in good repair protects a home from fire hazards while safely conveying combustible gasses like carbon monoxide. But a chimney that needs repairs can pose a dangerous and expensive problem.

Chimney cracks can often be repaired with sealants or repointing. Repointing involves grinding the mortar joints and filling the gaps with new mortar.

The chimney crown provides a vital service by keeping water, dirt, and debris away from the flue lining and masonry structure. If cracked, crumbling, or otherwise damaged, moisture can enter the chimney, causing serious but avoidable problems.

Even tiny cracks in the chimney crown should be repaired immediately. This is because the water in these cracks can seep into the bricks and mortar, causing further damage. The crown should be made of a waterproof material, such as concrete. When cracks are present, a professional should seal them immediately.

A professional can repair cracks in the chimney crown by filling them with a special mix of patching and cement materials. Once the mix is applied, a waterproof sealant should be brushed over it. A good choice for this is a brushable elastomeric chimney crown coating like Chimney Rx. This is available in various colors to match the chimney’s appearance.

Cracks in the chimney crown are only sometimes easy to detect, especially for homeowners who spend little time looking at their chimneys. If a chimney crown has hairline cracks, however, moisture is still getting into the chimney, and they must be repaired right away.

Moisture entering the chimney through a cracked or poorly constructed chimney crown will cause various problems, from rusty fireplace doors to water leaks inside the home. Water leaks from a chimney crown can cause extensive structural damage to the roof and interior walls.

A homeowner should look for a puddle of water near the chimney as a sign that there’s a problem with the chimney crown. Some issues, including cracks in the chimney crown or deteriorated mortar joints, can cause this. If the moisture problem is left unattended, it can lead to spalling bricks and a collapsed chimney structure. A chimney crown replacement is more extensive and costly than simply patching the existing one. To prevent further deterioration, homeowners should have a professional evaluate the chimney crown at least once a year and ensure it’s in good condition.
Brick walls and chimneys are durable structures, but they must also be protected from the elements. Brick deterioration is often caused by water damage that causes mortar joints to crack, crumble, or erode. Usually, the only visible sign of a damaged mortar joint is the color difference between the brick and the surrounding mortar. This is a clear indication that the mortar needs to be repaired. A common way to repair damaged mortar joints is a process called tuckpointing.

Tuckpointing uses new mortar to fill in the voids between the existing brick. When doing this, it is important to match the color of the existing mortar so that the tuckpoint repair is unnoticeable. First, mix a batch of mortar that matches the existing brick and clean the repair area by removing any loose material with a brush or scraper. Next, you will need to use a grout bag, narrow trowel, or wood stick to force the new mortar into the voids of the old mortar. Be sure to remove any excess mortar that spills over onto the brick. As the mortar dries, you can sculpt it to match the existing joint and make the tuckpoint repair invisible.

Once the tuckpointing is done, apply a waterproofing agent to protect the repaired mortar joints from water damage. Select a water repellent that is not film forming, as these will do more harm than good by trapping the moisture vapors underneath, wreaking havoc on the brick. After applying the water repellent, you will need to mist down the wall a few times a day for two or three days so that it will dry properly.

Repairing mortar joints is a relatively easy and inexpensive project many homeowners can do. However, when the damage is extensive or affects the structural integrity of the building, it may be best to hire a professional. When hiring a professional, always look for someone who is licensed and insured and has experience working with historic masonry.

A chimney is a masonry structure, and when it comes to masonry, the key is in the bricks themselves. Loose bricks are not only unsightly, but they can compromise the masonry structure and lead to more serious issues such as water damage, a dangerous chimney collapse, and a fire that spreads to other areas of your home.

Fortunately, loose bricks are usually a relatively simple problem to fix. Depending on the location and extent of the damage, you can replace a single brick or multiple bricks with ease. When replacing a brick, it is important to use one that closely matches the style and color of the existing bricks. This will prevent a noticeable mismatch and help the repaired area blend in with the rest of the chimney.

To repair a loose brick, begin by carefully removing the old mortar with a mason’s hammer and cold chisel, taking care not to damage any surrounding bricks. Once the masonry is clean, it’s time to start placing new mortar. To do this, place a dab of mortar on the back of the brick and press it into position. Repeat this process for all the loose or damaged bricks, working carefully to ensure the new mortar is properly placed.

Once the loose bricks are repaired, it’s a good idea to apply a waterproofing sealant to the entire chimney surface. This will prevent future water damage and extend the life of your chimney.
The key to a long-lasting, durable chimney is regular maintenance and inspections. Performing these tasks will help identify problems before they become more serious. With the proper knowledge and tools, you can safely repair common chimney problems like cracks, loose bricks, and spalling yourself.

Remember, however, that you should always hire a professional chimney sweeper for major problems such as severe cracks or crumbling bricks. A professional can also address leaks, which are often more serious than loose or cracked bricks. In addition, a qualified chimney sweeper can perform more complex repairs like rebuilding the chimney or inserting a chimney cap.

When a brick chimney experiences spalling, the deterioration of mortar and bricks causes large pieces to flake off or break away. This is a serious problem that can lead to expensive and complex chimney repairs. It also paves the way for other issues within your home, such as rot, mold, mildew, and other health hazards. It’s important to address spalling as soon as you notice it.

Chimney spalling occurs when moisture penetrates the masonry of your chimney. As water expands and contracts within porous bricks, it breaks them down, creating cracks that can spread throughout the entire chimney structure. Several factors contribute to this issue, including:

The best way to prevent spalling in your chimney is to schedule regular maintenance services. Our certified chimney sweeps will identify and solve the root cause of your spalling problem so that it doesn’t recur. We’ll recommend a breathable sealant that allows moisture to escape instead of being trapped in the chimney system. We’ll also assess the flashing, crown, and chimney cap to determine if they need repair or replacement.

Once we’ve repaired the causes of your spalling, we’ll work to improve any damaged bricks and mortar with tuckpointing. In this process, we scrape away old deteriorated mortar and then add a new layer of a joint compound that matches the appearance of your bricks. We use Porter-cement-based or a mix of lime and sand for this step. We’ll also check the appearance of any new bricks we must replace.

When brick spalling is left unattended, it can lead to various other problems. For example, a leaky chimney can damage wall boards, insulation, and other parts of your home. It can also promote the growth of dangerous mold, mildew, and bacteria. A spalling chimney can also be a fire hazard and put your family’s safety at risk. It’s essential to call as soon as you notice any signs of deterioration to keep your chimney and your family safe. We’ll diagnose the problem, find a solution, and get it fixed right away!