Signs That It’s Time to Start Repairing Chimneys

Chimneys are complex structures that can be extremely hazardous to work on without the right tools and training. If you notice signs of chimney damage, it is imperative to have them repaired as soon as possible.

Rust can indicate moisture in the air, and even if it seems like natural weathering, it could be part of a leak. Charleston Chimney Repair should be used to perform these repairs as a safety precaution.

chimney repair

Suppose the mortar joints between the bricks of your chimney are beginning to fail. In that case, it is a serious problem that needs to be repaired as quickly as possible. It’s a simple fact that as these cracks in the masonry structure develop, more moisture can seep into the chimney. Moisture seeping through these small cracks can lead to deterioration and damage. If ignored, it can eventually cause the structure to collapse.

A mason is a professional who can repair this type of damage by filling in these cracks with a new layer of mortar. This process is known as re-pointing. The correct type of mortar must be used when re-pointing your chimney. For example, if your chimney was built with Type S cement and it is repaired with Type N mortar, this can damage the softer bricks. It’s crucial to use a mortar that matches the original material used when your chimney was constructed.

Chimneys that aren’t properly maintained can also suffer from various other problems that must be addressed. For example, gaps can sometimes form between the flue and the crown (the concrete cap that covers the top of the chimney). Water entering this gap can flow down the sides of the flue and may even enter the home through the ceiling. These gaps need to be filled in with a high-heat mortar caulk to prevent water leaks.

Another common problem is called spalling, which occurs when the faces of the bricks begin to fall off and flake off. This is quite obvious and can be seen from the ground or through the roof of your house. It’s easy to spot, and once it begins, it can be very hard to stop.

It is also important to watch for damage to your flashing, which is the metal that keeps rain and snow water from running down the inside of your chimney. You can usually spot this by looking for holes or rust in the metal, as well as for loose or missing pieces of flashing. This can cause water to leak into your house, as well as to crack and erode the brickwork.

Water leaks are a major sign of chimney trouble. If rain seeps into your home through the chimney, it can cause damage to walls and ceilings. It can also create various health problems, including mold and allergic symptoms. If you spot signs of water damage in your house, it’s important to schedule an inspection right away.

Chimney leaks often occur at the joints in the masonry or flashing of your chimney. It’s important to have this area inspected and caulked when necessary to prevent moisture from entering your home. Chimney professionals use a special type of caulking that can withstand high temperatures and weather conditions. This type of caulking differs from the caulking you find, typically latex or silicone caulk that won’t withstand the elements and will fail over time.

Another common way that water enters your chimney is through the joint where the flue meets the chimney crown. This is a common area where gaps form throughout several seasons. Fortunately, this is usually a simple fix. Chimney masons can remove the old caulking, clean out the gap with a wire brush, and then fill it with a new mortar bead.

Leaks can also occur at the top of your chimney, where the flashing meets the roof. This is a common problem that occurs when the flashing isn’t installed correctly or when the caulking has failed. Chimney masons can re-flash the area with a more durable and long-lasting material.

Moisture entering your chimney can also lead to a condition known as efflorescence. This is a white residue that results from salt migration on the surface of bricks. Over time, it can lead to crumbling and structural failure of your chimney.

Chimney leaks are serious and need to be repaired as soon as possible. Keep them from worsening, or you could face costly repairs and damage. If you have any questions about leaking chimneys, don’t hesitate to contact a certified chimney professional. If you’re planning to do any work on a roof, be sure to wear a safety harness. These are available at most hardware stores and tool rental outlets.

Chimneys are sturdy and enduring, but they’re not immune to wear and tear over time. One common sign of deterioration is rusting. This acidic oxidation damages masonry and metal components and can lead to leaks, flue deterioration, and brick spalling. It’s best to catch rust stains early, and the easiest way is with regular chimney maintenance and inspections. A professional chimney service can identify small amounts of rust and take action before they spread, eliminating the need for costly repairs and making your home safer.

Chimney rusting typically appears as reddish-orange or brown streaks that run down the sides of your chimney. It’s often caused by corroded or decaying metal components like the chimney cap, damper, flashing, and chase cover, typically ferrous metals (iron or steel). Because of their height and location, these components are especially vulnerable to moisture damage.

The problem is often worse at the point where the chimney meets the roof. This area is particularly susceptible to leaks because water tends to pool at this point, allowing it to seep into the chimney through the shingle seams and mortar joints. This water penetration accelerates masonry deterioration and can lead to expensive and dangerous chimney leaks.

A professional can repair this damage by replacing the shingles and installing new flashing and a chimney cricket. Often, the flashing needed to be installed properly or in the correct sequence with the roofing, resulting in chimney leaks from day one. A cricket also helps prevent ponding water from rusting a hole in the simple flashing found on most chimneys and causing leaks.

Chimney rusting can be prevented by upgrading to stainless steel components and scheduling annual maintenance with a certified chimney technician. Stainless steel is durable and resistant to corrosion, which makes it the superior choice for chimney caps, flashing, liners, and chase covers. Stainless steel is safer than galvanized steel because it doesn’t contain a zinc coating that can leach into the masonry.

The masonry of a chimney is always exposed to the elements, putting it under immense stress and strain. Over time, the bricks and mortar joints can deteriorate, so they’re vulnerable to spalling—when a brick pops off its surface. This damage is a sign of serious structural problems. It must be addressed immediately to protect your home from further damage and prevent a leaking chimney.

There are many causes of spalling, including water absorbing and degrading the masonry materials over time. The freeze/thaw effect of winter weather can exacerbate this problem by expanding and contracting the masonry. It can also weaken the ties between bricks and cause mortar to crack or crumble. Chimneys are particularly susceptible to spalling because they’re constantly exposed to the elements on all sides.

Spalling can be prevented with regular masonry inspections and repair work. The first signs of spalling can be repaired with tuckpointing, in which the chimney technician scrapes away areas of the old mortar and adds new material. Alternatively, a damaged brick can be replaced with a similar-looking one. Once the masonry is repaired, it’s a good idea to have it coated with a waterproofing agent that will keep moisture out and prolong the life of the masonry.

Depending on the severity of your chimney’s spalling, it may need to be rebuilt completely. It’s important to hire a professional chimney technician to assess the damage and determine the best way to fix it. It’s never a good idea to cut corners or attempt DIY solutions when repairing your chimney.

If you’re concerned about a leaking chimney, contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation estimate for a complete masonry repair. Our licensed, insured technicians can identify the root cause of the leak, make the necessary repairs, and install a protective barrier to prevent future leaks. We can even recommend a chimney cap that will help protect your chimney from rain and snow while still allowing proper venting for the flue gases. We can also inspect and repair your roof flashing to see if it’s the source of the leak.