Masonry Chimney Repair 101
Do you have a wood-burning fireplace? Every time you light a fire, you put wear and tear on your chimney. Cold temperatures, water intrusion, and other weather conditions can also take their toll. Even during the summer, gravity and settling soil adversely affect the bricks and mortar that comprise your masonry chimney.
Eventually, your chimney will need repair work to prevent the damage from worsening. Is it time to schedule a chimney repair? What repairs might your masonry chimney need? Let’s find out.
What is a Masonry Chimney?
Chances are, if you have a chimney, it’s a masonry chimney. This means the chimney is constructed from stone materials, such as:
- Bricks and mortar
- Stones and mortar
- Concrete blocks
Chimneys wrapped in siding or other materials aren’t masonry chimneys, but they still require regular inspections and occasional repairs.
Signs You Need Masonry Chimney Repair
Failure to repair your deteriorating chimney could result in poor aesthetics and increase the risk of a house fire. Here’s how to tell when your masonry chimney needs repair:
- The mortar looks sandy, or it cracks and crumbles when you touch it.
- You see cracks forming between the bricks.
- You notice spalling, which is when the face of a brick separates from the brick itself.
- Some bricks or stones are coming loose.
- You have found a stray brick or stone from the chimney in your yard.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s wise to act sooner rather than later. After all, the problem won’t resolve itself, and the repair will only become more complex and expensive the longer you wait.
Most Common Masonry Chimney Repairs
Properly constructed and maintained masonry chimneys can last for decades. To extend the life of your chimney, call a masonry chimney repair company the moment you see signs of trouble. Here’s what a technician can do to restore your chimney:
- Repair chimney cracks: Cracked chimney mortar and bricks are the most common masonry issue you can have. Be sure to repair the cracks before demolition is the only option left!
- Install a flue liner: Older masonry chimneys have clay flue tiles, which can crack and shift over time. Installing a modern flue liner reduces fire risk and improves carbon monoxide safety.
- Repair the mortar crown: Exposure to the elements eventually degrades the crown, allowing water to enter from the top of the chimney. If caught early, a special silicone-based mortar can patch hairline cracks. Otherwise, an old, cracked chimney crown may need to be removed and a new one laid in its place.
- Repair damaged bricks and mortar: The freeze/thaw cycle causes spalling and cracking, allowing water to enter the chimney. A technician can remove and replace damaged bricks to stop the problem from spreading. If the bricks are still sound but the mortar is crumbling, the technician can clear away the debris and apply new mortar, a process called repointing.
- Analyze the threat of leaning: A leaning masonry chimney puts stress on the surrounding building structures. If the internal lining tears, smoke and fumes could exhaust into the upper story. This is why it’s critical to repair a leaning chimney as soon as possible.
Schedule Masonry Chimney Repair in MD, DC & VA
As a full-service chimney and fireplace company, Chimney.com can perform all the repairs listed above and then some. We have been in business for over 30 years and guarantee the quality of our work. Our team is licensed, bonded, and insured for your peace of mind, and we happily provide free repair estimates before the work begins.
Contact us today to schedule a chimney inspection and repair in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington, DC.
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