Ho! Ho! Oh no! Is your chimney looking a little shabby, slanted, or eroded? No need to let it dampen your holiday spirit. We have five simple things you need to know about chimney repairs, replacements, and how to know the difference. Follow these tips to make sure Santa can squeeze down your chimney safely this year.
The Difference Between Rebuilding and Repairing
There are many factors that impact the integrity of a chimney. Environment, elements, care, and quality of installation. All of these can come together to damage your chimney in a variety of ways, however, not all damage is created equal.
If your chimney crown is breaking down, if there are cracks, loose bricks, or your flue liner is deteriorating, these are all serious issues you must address—however, they are considered repairs. If you take care of these types of issues as soon as you see them, your chimney will be able to be restored to a strong, functional condition. Depending on the damages and severity, it may cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, however these repairs will still be much less expensive than a replacement.
If you are particularly negligent of your chimney and rarely clean the flue or check the crown, it is possible that extreme damage, such as leaning and foundational crumbling can occur. In these cases, it is more likely that you will have to completely replace your chimney to prevent costly damage to your home.
Keep your eye out for structural issues, leaning, cracking, or deterioration to stay ahead of any issues, and of course, always clean and maintain your chimney to keep its structure as sustainable as possible.
Repairing Your Crown
Crowns are incredibly important and often overlooked parts of a chimney. They protect your chimney from inclement weather and keep it functioning properly. But without care, the crown itself can break down, especially in cold weather. When fireplaces are lit the chimney, including the crown, heat up and cool down. When freezing temperatures occur the water that gets absorbed into the chimney over time freezes and then thaws, causing extension and contraction which begin to break down your chimney crown.
When you notice erosion near the crown, use an elastomeric coating to protect the structure from the elements and moisture. If you notice quite a bit of damage, call in the experts to repair the crown before more damage can be done.
Mortar and Joint Repairs
Mortar joints are the parts of the chimney that hold the bricks together. They are usually made with materials that can sustain all types of weather, however, like all things, there is a breaking point. If you see your chimney’s joints becoming eroded, missing pieces, or completely missing in some spots, it’s time to repair them before severe damage occurs.
If your bricks are good in shape, this is an easy repair. By reinforcing the mortar, you’re securing your bricks and making your chimney safer. Ignoring this simple fix can lead to serious issues with your chimney and eventually an entire structural break down.
It’s easier to tell when there is a problem with the outside of your chimney, but the inside is just as important. The flue is what expels smoke and debris out of your home, through the chimney. The flue liner is what helps propel these materials through the chimney and outside. Liners continuously handle smoke and combustible particles, and over time they begin to deteriorate, crack, adn wear down. When this happens and cleaning and maintenance are ignored, your liner can become hazardous, which means you’ll need a replacement—and that is costly.
First and foremost, always care and clean your flue liner to keep your chimney functioning, but in the case that you haven’t kept up or you live in an older home that doesn’t have a flue liner, it’s a good idea to call in the experts to replace or install one. The money is well worth the pace of mind that your home is safe.
It’s not ideal, and it is expensive, but it happens. If your chimney is beyond repair, or if an expert informs you that repairs may only help prevent serious issues for a short time, it’s smart to invest in a total chimney replacement.
Leaning foundations can cause serious damage to your roof and the attic or ceilings of your home. Damaged crowns can lead to moisture build ups within the roof, cracks, rust, and lead to water damage inside the walls of your home. If your flue is nonexistent or coated in thick debris and smoke residue, it’s likely a fire hazard and nearly impossible to clean at a certain point. All these factors combine to make your chimney a ticking time bomb, and at this point, a total replacement is your best, safest option.
Yes, it’s costly, but it’s much less than the damage a chimney of poor quality can cause to the rest of your home. Give us a call and we can help access your chimney and help you make any necessary repairs or talk full replacements.