Cold Weather and How it Affects Your Masonry Chimney

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The cold weather of winter affects everything. We notice things like aching joints and the fact that it takes longer for our car to start and warm up. But we don’t always notice things like brick and mortar, or asphalt – until they begin to crumble or a pothole develops in our usual route to work. But cold weather has a lot to do with potholes and crumbling brick and mortar.

Water seeps into your untreated brick, mortar, concrete, and pavement and settles quietly down into the microscopic cracks. It sits there until it either evaporates, which requires quite a lot of heat, or until it freezes and makes bigger cracks. As it melts, it seeps further down into the new crack and expands once again when it freezes. You can see how this process can be very damaging.

The freeze-thaw cycle wreaks havoc on all masonry including your brick siding, brick chimney, and your sidewalk. It even damages asphalt roads, driveways and parking lots, and causes potholes in time. The only way to stop the freeze-thaw cycle from damaging your chimney is to apply a waterproofing agent every three to five years. Here are a few things you may notice going on with your chimney this year:

  • Cracks: Cracks can be extremely small or all the way through the brick and mortar. Big cracks need to be repaired as quickly as possible because they weaken the structural integrity of the chimney.
  • Spalling: Spalling, also called flaking or chipping, becomes more evident if you start to notice small pieces of brick in the landscaping around your home or in the fireplace.
  • Leaks: Leaks may appear as dark circles on the ceiling or dampness on the walls inside your home. You may never notice a leak unless you get into the attic for that box you stored up there 5 years ago. Water damage can cause wood rot or insect infestation. Rotten wood has the potential to collapse, which puts your entire home and family at risk.

Chimney Repair

The extent of repair required depends entirely on the extent of damage done. A badly damaged chimney with missing bricks may need to be extensively repaired or even rebuilt. It’s much better to have a chimney inspection and cleaning at least once a year to catch potential problems before they become serious issues.

Chimney Cleaning and Inspections in Bryn Mawr

We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.

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