You can increase home safety and minimize chimney maintenance costs if you are careful not to ignore common signs of chimney damage. Homeowners are often unaware that chimneys are vulnerable to damage caused by harsh outdoor elements, especially moisture. When a masonry system is infiltrated by water, a process of masonry destruction begins. If you see any of the following common signs of chimney damage, it is important to contact a trusted chimney sweep company with CSIA-certified chimney sweeps as soon as possible.
The mortar between bricks and stones helps to protect the masonry from moisture intrusion. Mortar eventually begins flaking, cracking, and breaking off, if for no reason other than its age. At best, mortar holds up for 25 years, though it can wear away sooner.
If you keep a close eye on your chimney’s mortar joints and contact chimney sweeps when you first see signs of deterioration, the amount you can save on repairs is significant. A procedure called “tuckpointing” involves scraping out the old mortar and adding new mortar. This cost-saving approach to repairing chimney mortar damage is only possible if no moisture intrusion has occurred. The alternative to tuckpointing is a partial or complete masonry rebuild.
Fireboxes and dampers don’t typically rust. It only happens when moisture is inside the chimney and fireplace system. And moisture is never a good thing when it comes to chimneys. If you see rust in the chimney or fireplace, schedule repair at your earliest convenience because any related chimney damage will only worsen until the root of the problem has been resolved.
When bricks break and chip off, spalling is occurring, and you can see a pile of debris around the chimney. The typical cause of spalling is moisture in the chimney system. Once there has been an infiltration of moisture, freezing and thawing cycles in winter cause movement that destroys the bricks. Don’t ignore this common sign of chimney damage because your chimney will begin to lean, and it could collapse.
If you see white staining on your chimney, it means there is efflorescence, and repairs are needed. The stains are caused by water-soluble salt inside the masonry that has traveled to the brick face, leaving a white deposit. The stains can be cleaned off easily, but the affected bricks need to be replaced. Otherwise, the moisture will continue to spread through the chimney system, wreaking increasing havoc.
The biggest problem with chimney flashing is that the metal tends to rust and cause roof damage, chimney damage, or both. The flashing can also pull away from the chimney due to high winds or faulty installation. If you notice that the metal isn’t flush against the chimney, it’s a sign of a possible chimney leak in the making, in addition to moisture damaging the masonry.
Chimney Solutions offers high-quality services performed by CSIA-certified chimney sweeps. If you live in or near Alpharetta GA and you’ve seen any of the common signs of chimney damage, instead of ignoring chimney issues, give us a call at