How to Recognize, Repair, and Prevent Masonry Spalling

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Water penetration can be one of the most damaging issues a chimney can experience over time. In addition to causing issues with the integrity of your masonry, spalling is a common side effect of water leakage. Here are some tips on how to recognize, repair, and prevent masonry spalling.

Spalling is what happens when the bricks or stones of your masonry start to flake off or go missing because of water damage. Often, the main cause of spalling is when water absorbed in the bricks from rain or snow is absorbed into the bricks, then freezes and thaws. The softer the brick, the more susceptible it is to spalling.

Recognizing Spalling

Flaking and crumbling bricks are the most common and easily seen sign of spalling. This crumbling can be anything from small flakes of brick falling to the roof to whole bricks falling from the chimney. Aside from the damage to your chimney and reduction in efficiency and safety, falling pieces of masonry can be an insurance hazard as they have the potential to cause injury.

Repairing the Chimney

The good news is that spalling doesn’t have to be the end of your chimney. An expert will be able to remove the mortar in your chimney and replace it with new mortar matched in color and strength to the existing masonry. It’s important to hire someone with experience as matching mortar improperly can lead to compromised integrity and future repairs. Chimney repair is not just cosmetic, it’s structural, so replacing bricks or stones and mortar work requires some skill.

Preventing Spalling

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSA) recommends annual inspections and regular cleaning to keep your chimney clean and functional. A certified chimney sweep will have the experience and knowledge to notice problems with spalling during their inspection. Many times, they have the eye to notice issues or potential issues far before a homeowner notices.

The easiest way to prevent spalling and other water damage is to waterproof your chimney. Installing a chimney cap and flashing will help keep water out of your chimney, and there are sealants that can be applied to masonry to prevent water from entering the masonry.

Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a consultation. Our chimney experts at Lou Curley’s Chimney service are CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified. You’re sure to get the best quality care when you call us for a consultation, chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or chimney repair.

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