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Uh-Oh! Did Winter Ruin Your Chimney? Here’s How to Find and Repair Damage

Feb 24th, 2021 // Chimney Flashing Repair

When the harsh winter weather fades, the days get longer, and the sun peeks out more, you may discover that your chimney took a bit of a beating over the colder months. Chimneys often are the targets during winter storms, freezing temperatures, and blustery winds. 

Here are a few telltale signs your chimney needs repair and how to do it. 

Cracks 

Clearly in any roofing feature, if you see a crack, that’s an issue. However, chimney cracks can lead to serious damage when not addressed. Winter weather can cause cracks to expand in the freezing temperatures, which can lead to moisture build up, and weaken the structure of the base. Without adding new mortar and sealing up emerging or existing cracks, your chimney can deteriorate from the outside in—or even collapse. 

Beyond the base, the crown of your chimney, located on the top to protect the rest of the brick and mortar base, is an integral part of protection. When cracks form, the entire structure of the chimney is compromised. And, since it’s at the very top, it is exposed to the harshest conditions during winter. 

If you notice small, minor cracks forming on the crown, you can seal them with a waterproof material. However, if the cracks are deep and the damage has already begun to spread, it is best to replace your crown completely. 

Leaks 

Leaks can be caused by a variety of weather related complications. Masonry damage, crown damage or removal, chimney caps falling off, or warped flashing all can contribute to your chimney starting to leak. 

Crowns and caps can be replaced, however, if the damage has gotten bad enough, the inside of your chimney could need repairs as well. If you noticed a strange, musty smell near your fireplace, discoloration near the flashing or base of the chimney, or damp, went patches on the ceiling or tops of the walls near your fireplace, these are signs your chimney is leaking. 

To remedy the issue, you’ll need to go up inside, detect how severe the damage is, replace the mortar and brick, and reseal the areas where cracks and damage have led to leaks. This can be a difficult task, considering many homeowners don’t have the tools necessary to work on chimneys from the inside out. If you don’t feel prepared to fix the damage of a leaky chimney, call a professional service before the damage gets any worse. 

Wood Burning Remnants 

If you have a wood burning fireplace, the debris from using it all winter can cause some serious buildup which can lead to serious damage. Creosote and soot are often found inside the chimney, they naturally occur when burning wood. However, if you have enough buildup, internal fires can start—in fact many chimney fires begin from too much creosote buildup. 

If you haven’t cleaned your chimney in a while, you are long overdue for a thorough sweep to ensure you aren’t living with a fire hazard. Professionals will come in with tools, solvents, and other necessary cleaning supplies to ensure your chimney is spotless for the next season. Considering creosote is highly flammable, it’s best to clean your chimney after every winter season at the very least. 

The best thing you can do when you discover mother nature wasn’t so kind to your chimney during the winter is to fix the issue right away. We’re here to help if and when you need a chimney repair or replacement. 

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