Often, aging chimney structures and venting systems need repairs. Here are some of the chimney repair services we provide:
When water penetrates the bricks and freezes, the faces of the bricks can “pop” off, leaving even larger areas for water to enter. This is where a few spot cuts could stop the problem from spreading. Spot cuts are when individual bricks or a small cluster of bricks need to be removed because of cracks or spalling. Bricks will be matched to the existing brick as well as the mortar.
Cracked and missing mortar joints are yet another way water can enter a chimney and over time cause further deterioration. These mortar joints need to be ground out and replaced with fresh, color matched mortar.
- Mortar Crown
The mortar crown is the chimney’s first line of defense against the elements. Over time, and with certain environmental events, the crown will deteriorate, crack, and become absent in areas which allow water to enter the chimney structure. When this happens, the existing crown needs to be removed and a new one laid with a special mortar mix made for durability.
- Flex Crown
Flex crown mortar preserve is a silicone base mortar preserve that adheres to the mortar and insures water does not enter the crown and damage it further. For small cracks and slight separation, this is the way to go!
The firebox is definitely an important factor in a wood burning system. It is the starting point from which the clearance to combustible materials is measured. The rebuilding of a firebox will ensure your clearance to combustibles is code compliant and can possibly prevent costly house fires.
Smoke chambers are the open area that is directly above the firebox. The smoke chamber tapers going up to where the flue starts in order to funnel smoke into the flue. This area is where most fires start due to poor construction. Without the correct clearances and solid masonry work the smoke chamber is not safe and should be parged with chamber-tech, insulated mortar (not regular mortar). This will fill gaps and give you the clearances you need.
Chimney flashing protects the area where the roof meets the chimney and directs water around the chimney and down the roof. When the silicone becomes old it must be resealed with a new bead of silicone. In our experience we have found that over 85% of water problems in homes are caused by inadequate flashing, rusted flashing, or deteriorating sealant where the flashing meets the chimney. If the metal flashing is damaged or rusted it must be replaced.
Traditional dampers (throat/bottom closing) are located in between the firebox and the smoke chamber and are usually made of cast iron. Dampers are used to cut off air flow to and from the flue, air which causes cold air to down draft. Over time, traditional dampers deteriorate and stop creating a sufficient seal against downdraft. This is repaired by installing a top closing damper system. These are installed by the top of the chimney flue with a control handle mounted in the firebox attached by an aircraft grade cable. Top closing dampers are much more energy efficient and add extra protection from water damage compared to throat closing dampers. We only use top closing dampers constructed from stainless steel, a proven long lasting material.
Chase tops or chase covers are custom fabricated metal covers for structures that house factory-made fireplace flue pipes. These are often found in townhouses and condos, but are on some single-family homes as well. Frequently, these chase tops are out of sight and out of mind. It isn’t until they rust and cause streaks to run down the side of the building, making it an eye-sore, that it becomes obvious. In our experience, these rusted chase covers have been found to be a major source of water damage. Our chase tops are custom made from high quality stainless steel and carry a lifetime warranty.
Refractory panels are located in the firebox of prefab (factory made) fireplaces. Over time, heavy use of the fireplace causes these panels to crack and compromise the safety of the fireplace and must be replaced. Underneath those panels are potentially combustible materials and even the smallest crack is a fire hazard. We also replace existing prefab units and install new prefab fireplaces in almost any location of your home.
Caps are usually metal rain guards and/or animal guards mounted on the top of the flue. Caps keep water, debris, and animals from entering the flue. Debris such as leaves and branches, and animals like raccoons, birds, and squirrels present a danger in various ways. The animals could enter the home or block a flue venting carbon monoxide and risk a poisonous gas leak to your home. Caps are a cheap and easy way to prevent these situations. In years gone past, we have found that a lot of hardware stores have sold chimney caps that are not constructed of stainless steel and will rust, causing ugly brown stains, and an eye-sore. We at Chimney.com proudly use stainless steel chimney caps that will not rust and the installation as well as the material is guaranteed for a lifetime.
Oftentimes, animals such as raccoons, birds, and squirrels can get into your chimney and cause an issue. We at Chimney.com use safe and humane animal removal practices. Occasionally, we have encountered a particular bird known as a Chimney Swift. In North America, the Chimney Swift is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and neither birds nor nests can be removed from chimneys without a federally-issued permit. In such situations, we allow the bird to exit on its own accord.
Exhaust fans are top mounted electric fans that “pull” air up the flue and induce draft. These fans are used to solve extreme draft problems and are best used in conjunction with a liner. They have speed adjustable wall mounted switches. The electrical work for any exhaust fan can vary from house to house depending on degree of difficulty and access of existing electrical supply. Exhaust fans are very useful to make useable what was once an unusable fireplace due to flue size by electrically reducing the draft.
Fireplace and chimney flue liners allow for safe venting of smoke and carbon monoxide. Traditional masonry chimneys have clay flue tiles that crack and shift over time. When these clay tiles crack and create gaps in the flue, it becomes unsafe for venting smoke and carbon monoxide. Creosote can build up in gaps creating risk for a chimney fire and carbon monoxide can leak into the house through gaps. The modern solution for this problem is a chimney liner. We line all fireplaces, hot water heater and furnace flues with U.L. listed stainless steel flexible liners that come with a lifetime warranty. We are specifically licensed to line gas appliances, as well fireplace flues.