Common Off-Season Chimney Repairs Made by Homeowners
It’s not for no reason that chimney inspections are recommended annually. Safe operation of your fireplace or stove largely depends upon the condition of the chimney. Constantly exposed to the outdoor elements, chimneys have an enemy in moisture intrusion, which can occur in many different ways. In addition to harsh external elements, there is intense heat in the chimney flue. Combined with moisture, deterioration of the all-important lining is accelerated. If there has been a chimney fire, the chimney liner may have been damaged, which is a critical safety issue.
When you follow the advice of chimney safety experts and have your chimney inspected each year, you can usually address problems before they become extensive and costly. Spring and summer are the best times to have a chimney inspection, so that repairs can be made in plenty of time to be ready for winter. The following are a few of the most common kinds of off-season chimney repairs chimney experts make for homeowners.
Flashing is the metal part of the chimney installed flush with the roof, and it is prone to leaks. The process of flashing installation is very tricky, and inexperienced installers often get it wrong. There is supposed to be a watertight seal between the edge of the flashing and the chimney masonry, but it’s tough to achieve. Flashing also tends to deteriorate more quickly than other components of the chimney, allowing moisture to go where it shouldn’t be. Leaky flashing can lead to mold and mildew and can potentially cause extensive structural roof damage. For flashing repair, a trained chimney sweep is the right person to call.
Waterproofing agent can be applied to the chimney, in order to prevent water damage that occurs as a result of voids, cracks, gaps, and missing mortar. It is often necessary to make repairs first and then apply waterproofing. It’s not recommended to waterproof a chimney that is already damaged by moisture. Repairs need to made first, so that the condition of the chimney is restored and internal deterioration won’t continue.
Masonry commonly lasts a century or more, but the mortar only lasts about 25 years, at most. When the mortar begins to crack and break off, repairs are needed as soon as possible. Otherwise, moisture will entire the masonry system and create conditions for the masonry to become damaged. For instance, during freezing and thawing cycles, the internal moisture expands and contracts. Deterioration occurs, and the external part of the masonry starts breaking and popping off. If repairs aren’t made, the chimney could lean, topple over, or collapse.
Tuckpointing is a cost-effective way to repair chimney masonry. The old mortar is removed and fresh mortar is put in its place. Have tuckpointing done by a professional chimney technician, and you can count on your repaired chimney having a fresh, like-new appearance.
In summer and really all year around, the chimney damper has a very important role. It is supposed to prevent the chimney from operating like an open window and driving up utility costs. When the damper doesn’t operate or seal as it’s supposed to, repair is sometimes possible. As needed, it’s worth it to replace a faulty damper.
Restoration of the Chimney Crown
At the very top of the chimney, the crown provides a first layer of protection against moisture. Similar to an umbrella, the crown prevents water from getting between the flue and the chimney exterior. It also prevents excess water from continually wearing away at the chimney stack. To check the condition of the chimney crown, it’s necessary to climb onto the roof. A qualified chimney technician can make an accurate determination as to whether a cracked crown will be fine with repair or if teardown and rebuild are needed.
Contact Chimney Solutions for Chimney Repair
The best decision you could make, as far as chimney maintenance and chimney repair, is to call on qualified experts like those at Chimney Solutions. Dedicated professionals can be depended upon to make quality chimney repairs and ensure the safe use of your fireplace or stove. Call Chimney Solutions today at 770-255-1300 to schedule your annual chimney inspection and, if needed, have chimney repairs taken care of during the off season.