Know Your Brick and Mortar Chimney – What is Spalling?

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It’s easy to sit back and appreciate a fireplace. You put the wood in, you light it, and you sit back and enjoy the warm glow that comes from it. Homeowners rarely know the lingo that goes beyond the notion of comfort. The cozy fireplace, the amazing visual design flow, all those things connect the ideas of having a chimney and fireplace, right?

But when you discuss things with experienced chimney experts, the ones that clean, fix, and ensure safety for your home’s chimney, things aren’t quite so simple. There are a lot of elements and terms that a lot of homeowners don’t understand at first. For instance, the issue of brick spalling; most clients haven’t heard that. What’s happening to a brick if it is spalling?

Spalling Defined

Spalling is a term that is used in the industry to talk about crumbling or chipping of masonry. This is not caused by just one thing. It can actually be caused by a lot of things. Bricks don’t last forever. Even the best masonry job will chip away in time if it isn’t protected from elemental damage. Water and other elements do a great deal of damage to brickwork.

What Does It Look Like?

Spalling brick looks a lot like splintering wood. The pieces are slowly peeling away, sometimes in large chunks. This type of damage is reparable, but it must be caught quickly. This is where a yearly chimney inspection comes into play. A certified chimney sweep will notice spalling immediately and recommend that it be addressed before they will allow the chimney to pass inspection.

The Value of Chimney Inspections

How valuable is your home? How valuable is your family? Chimney sweeps perform chimney inspections that help you protect your home and your family from chimney fires and dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide. We feel that our job is much more valuable than many people give it credit for. Yes it is a dirty job; we go home black from soot and creosote on an almost-daily basis, but that’s just the price we pay for assisting you with something so very important.

Regular Maintenance

How many times do you take your vehicle to have the oil changed each year? Most homeowners would probably say every three months. You only need a chimney inspection and cleaning once or twice per year. Sounds pretty simple when we put it like that, doesn’t it? Regular inspections, cleaning, and maintenance on your chimney will also allow us to discover spalling and damage to the chimney more quickly. The more quickly we find the damage, the more efficiently it can be repaired.

The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) recommends that a chimney that is used on a regular basis be inspected and cleaned (if needed) twice per year. That’s still half the number of times you have the oil changed in your vehicle.

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