Every homeowner knows the dangers a damaged chimney can bring to their home. But do they know the visible signs of a chimney in need of repair? Most wait until they experience water damage before they call a specialist to fix their chimney. Instead of doing this, all homeowners should educate themselves on the visible signs of chimney degradation. By reading this article, you will learn to 6 clear signs that indicate your chimney is in need of repair.
1. Damaged Mortar Joints
Between every brick on your chimney are mortar joints. They’re made of concrete and support the structure of your chimney. Over time, after being exposed to moisture and weather, mortar joints begin to crack and crumble. During freeze-thaw cycles in the winter, moisture enters a small crack in your mortar joints, freezes, and then turns the small crack into a big one. As this cycle continues, the structure of your chimney will further deteriorate. Any weather that compromises the integrity of your chimney’s mortar can cause your chimney to collapse.
2. Spalling Bricks
In addition to crumbling mortar joints, the bricks themselves can deteriorate and/or fall out of your chimney. This has obvious consequences as bricks are the essential part of a chimney. Some signs of spalling bricks are bits of masonry around the circumference of your chimney or on the ground nearby. Spalling bricks are similarly caused by moisture entrance and the freeze-thaw cycle of winter. Neglecting to repair spalling bricks can eventually lead to the destruction of the structure.
3. Chimney Crown Cracks
The chimney crown is the first line of defense against outdoor elements. In the case of a damaged chimney crown due to excessive moisture, water can penetrate the flue liner and enter into you home through your chimney. In order to keep you chimney and home safe, it is important to make sure your chimney crown doesn’t have any cracks.
4. Missing or Damaged Chimney Cap
Your chimney’s cap, whether copper or aluminum, provides a barrier against precipitation, debris, pests, and other unwanted objects that could potentially enter your home. Like all metals, chimney caps can corrode and rust from weather and age. It is important to check on your chimney cap to make sure it is working properly and is strong enough to protect your home. These are easy to replace by a professional roofing specialist.
5. Chimney Liner Shaling
A clear sign that your flue liner is shaling are liner tiles or “flakes” piled up at the bottom of your chimney. If your flue liner is evidently damaged, it is vital to contact a professional as this can lead to a house fire if left untreated. Many people are moving to a stainless steel flue line to prevent shaling and consequential damage.
6. Efflorescence or White Staining
Efflorescence is white discoloration on your chimney. it can be a sign of a moisture problem and can result in shaling and spalling of your chimney’s mortar. Efflorescence is easy to clean off, but if this is not done, it can build up and lead to premature deterioration of your chimney.
If you notice any of these signs of damage on your home’s chimney, it is time to call a specialist. Here at G.F. Sprague we can inspect your chimney and diagnose any damage that threatens the structure and security of your chimney, roof, and home.