There is no doubt that old masonry chimneys are sturdy structures. They are built from materials that were made to stand the test of time. Over the years, however, those materials have to stand up to water, freezing temperatures, the intense heat of fireplaces and strong winds. With that in mind, there are several reasons your older chimney may need repairs.
Damaged flue liner
One of the most common problems in older chimneys is a damaged flue liner. The heat from the fireplace, water seeping into the chimney and exposure to freezing temperatures can cause clay flue tiles to crack or crumble. A damaged flue liner allows heat and gases from your fireplace to escape into your home. Deteriorating liners can be replaced with stainless steel liners, or they can be relined with a pourable material that fills in any cracks or holes and hardens to form a strong, protective barrier.
Crumbling bricks and mortar
Your chimney’s bricks and mortar are porous, drawing in moisture. When temperatures drop, the moisture within the masonry freezes and expands, causing the bricks and mortar to crack and crumble. Through a process called tuckpointing, crumbling masonry can be extracted from the chimney, and new mortar can be filled in. Crumbling bricks also can be removed and replaced.
Cracked chimney crown
Just like the chimney’s bricks and mortar, the chimney’s masonry crown can crack and crumble due to the freeze-thaw cycle. Because the chimney crown diverts water away from your chimney, a damaged crown can leave your chimney vulnerable. Cracked crowns can be repaired or rebuilt to protect your chimney from water damage.
A settling foundation can cause a host of problems with masonry chimneys. They can cause bricks to crack and chimneys to lean. If you notice extreme cracks or leaning in your older chimney, you should have the chimney evaluated by a certified chimney professional to ensure its structural integrity.
Unfortunately, sometimes older masonry chimneys have faced such damage — due to the problems we’ve listed above or for other reasons — that they need to be entirely rebuilt. If you find that masonry damage has compromised the safety of your older chimney, Environmental Chimney Service can help. We can rebuild your masonry chimney to restore the look of your home and to guarantee that you have a safe, structurally sound chimney.
Environmental Chimney Service also can help you avoid damage to your masonry chimney. Water is a chimney’s greatest enemy, as it can cause a host of problems, including the ones we’ve listed above. Our chimney waterproofing application keeps water from penetrating your chimney while still allowing the masonry to “breath.” If you have an older masonry chimney that is in good repair, waterproofing can be a good way to avoid damage and repairs down the road.
If you have an older masonry chimney that’s giving you concern, call Environmental Chimney Service to schedule an appointment today! Our chimney experts can evaluate your chimney, address your concerns and help you come up with an effective repair and protection plan.