Masonry is a good choice for your home or any structure because it is very strong and long-lasting. You don’t have to worry about it too much unless it hasn’t been inspected or taken care of properly. Masonry, like many other siding and building options, is not maintenance-free. It must be maintained and waterproofed occasionally to keep its strength. Let’s look at a few things you can do to protect your masonry chimney from elemental damage.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you hire a certified chimney sweep at least once per year to inspect your chimney and fireplace. A regularly used fireplace and chimney should be inspected more frequently to avoid severe creosote buildup. Creosote buildup is a fire hazard waiting to happen and should be removed as regularly as possible.
Make sure that you perform a visual inspection to look for potential problems before the rainy weather and before the winter months. It’s very important that inspections aren’t dismissed as unnecessary. You may visit the CSIA website for updated statistics on chimney fires due to creosote.
Masonry is very susceptible to damage from the weather. The chimney stands at least three feet above the roof, so it takes more of a beating from wind, rain, and hail. The chimney cap and crown are in place to protect the body of the chimney from damage, but they can’t ward off everything indefinitely. Water penetrates both brick and mortar, and seeps deep into the structure of the chimney. The freeze-thaw process creates small cracks that become large cracks and compromise the structural integrity over time.
Chimney maintenance and repair isn’t costly as long as you catch the damage early. The instant you see spalling or cracking in the masonry, you need to consult us for repair work. We repair damaged mortar joints and help you take measures to avoid additional damage throughout the year.
The Full Replacement
If you do not repair the chimney at the first signs of damage, you may have to look into replacing it. The amount of damage will dictate how much of the chimney needs to be replaced and how much can be salvaged. A masonry chimney that has been severely neglected is dangerous and puts the entire rest of the house at risk. Don’t attempt to repair it as a DIY project until you’ve consulted a chimney expert.
It’s easy to forget about the fireplace and the chimney because they’re somewhat out of sight – out of mind. If you don’t see or hear a lot of issues, what’s to worry? We recommend a visual inspection of the chimney at the same time you look at other elements of your home such as the roof, skylights, windows, and siding. It’s not always the most powerful storms that damage masonry; sometimes it’s the constant wind and freeze-thaw process that erodes brick and mortar. Water is a very damaging element and you should make every effort to protect your chimney from water damage.
We provide all types of chimney services to homeowners along the Main Line, throughout Delaware County, and the surrounding areas. We offer monthly discounts on chimney services. For example, this month we’re offering $20 off of a chimney cleaning. We will offer something different for September, so keep an eye out to see what it is.