Proper care and maintenance is extremely important in maximizing the useful life of your chimney. One of the worst causes of damage to chimney occurs during the winter and early spring months during the freeze thaw cycle. Cold temperatures on their own are hard on masonry materials. Damage caused by freezing and thawing can cause so much damage and deterioration that your chimney can be in danger of collapse.
How Does Freeze-Thaw Damage Occur?
Freeze-Thaw damage is one of the most common causes of damage to chimneys, as well as one of the most common reasons that water is so destructive to your chimney. Masonry materials like bricks are naturally porous, which means they can absorb a good amount of water. Once moisture is trapped inside bricks and mortar joints, it freezes there every time the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature rises again, the force of the water thawing can be strong enough to cause cracking and even breaking apart of the materials. The more freeze-thaw cycles a chimney goes through, the higher the potential for deterioration and bad damage becomes.
Preventing Chimney Damage with Waterproofing
Because of the natural porousness of masonry materials, preventing freeze-thaw damage means creating a barrier against water penetration. The best way to keep water from getting into your chimney is through waterproofing. Having your waterproofing checked each time your chimney undergoes regular maintenance will allow you to avoid costly freeze-thaw damage.
Chimney professionals have access to and knowledge of the best methods for waterproofing. Latex paints or clear sealants can trap vapors and gases inside your masonry, which can actually increase damage. Having your chimney professionally waterproofed is the best way to prevent cracked and broken bricks.
When to Waterproof?
Many people put off thinking about their chimney and fireplace until the weather starts to turn cold and they get an urge to light their first fire of the season. The best time to think about chimney maintenance and repair is actually during spring and summer. Chimney sweeps are often easier to book during these times, and dry, warm weather makes it an ideal time to work on your home. Acting early will also ensure that you’re able to enjoy your fireplace all winter without interruptions.
Give us a call here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 and we’ll schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA Certified chimney sweeps to ensure that your chimney is clean and in proper working order.