What Are The Common Signs Of Chimney Damage?

Common Signs A Chimney Needs Repair

There are many small signs that a chimney has been damaged and is in need of repair. Understanding the common signs of chimney damage will give you better insight into the severity of the situation and can help you be informed about whether or not it’s time to call a professional masonry service. There may be physical signs of erosion and damage both in the chimney bricks and the concrete mortar. If you see cracks in the chimney bricks this can be an indication that the damage is more serious. Bricks that have cracks in them may be indicators that the structural integrity of the chimney has been compromised. Similarly when chimney bricks flake or chip apart this is a sign of spalling. When a chimney is suffering from spalling it is important to schedule a chimney repair before the issue gets worse.

Damaged Mortar

Morar is another extremely durable material, but like all materials it will degrade over time. If there are cracks appearing in the mortar of the chimney, it may be time to schedule a repair, but generally speaking it isn’t as serious as bricks being damaged. Mortar will naturally erode over time, and the damage will worsen over time. It is less likely this type of damage can cause immediate harm, but reaching out to a chimney repair service to get a professional opinion is best. Taking the initiative to have an inspector come assess the damage of the mortar often saves homeowners time and money since the damage is repaired and the chimney restored before it can get significantly worse.

Catching Chimney Damage Early

Chimney damage is unique in that it can be difficult for a homeowner to see the damage occurring. Unless a homeowner has some previous experience or knowledge in chimney repair it isn’t likely they will notice signs of a chimney needing repair. Understanding signs that the chimney has been damaged, has suffered from erosion, or needs repair can help a homeowner decide to call in a professional chimney mason to inspect the brick and mortar structure. A chimney is typically quite durable, however when facing any physical damage or erosion a chimney will begin to deteriorate at a faster rate. It is important to spot a damaged chimney or flue earlier than later so the erosion doesn’t cause the chimney to fail structurally or in any other way. Continue reading to learn more about chimney masonry, chimney repair, and how a fireplace works normally so you can make an informed decision on your chimney. If you see anything wrong, schedule an inspection with a masonry expert to take a close look at the chimney and fireplace.

Water Damage & Interior Signs of Masonry Damage

While many of the signs of chimney damage appear on the exterior of the chimney, some types of damage will show on the interior near the fireplace, such as water damage on the wood or wallpaper of your walls. Water and moisture are two common interior signs that your chimney is damaged. Any signs of a leak are indicators that damage has occurred somewhere in the chimney. Water and moisture can be indicators that your chimney has a damaged flue, or that the chimney has eroded and water is entering inside the chimney, fireplace, and potentially the interior of the home. A leak in either a gas or wood fireplace could mean the chimney cap is damaged as well. Sometimes homes don’t have chimney caps installed which can lead to water damage, so chimney caps are important for a home fireplace. While water and moisture buildup are signs there is a leak in the chimney, it doesn’t necessarily point to where in the chimney the leak is occurring. A professional chimney and masonry service will be able to identify the source of water damage and make necessary repairs.

How Masonry Damage Occurs in a Chimney

Both mortar and brick naturally decay over time and will require attention and repair, however avoiding repairs can cause the damage and decay to become exponentially worse over time. Deterioration of a chimney happens most commonly due to natural elements like rain, water, and moisture. As a chimney naturally decays the materials become even further susceptible to additional damage. Damage to the surface of the masonry structure allows moisture and water to enter which will lead to further damage. In areas where the winter months bring freezing temperatures water enters inside of the chimney materials, and then freezes. Once the temperature shifts to a higher degree the water thaws, causing the ice inside of the bricks to expand and shrink. This Freeze-Thaw Cycle weakens the joints of a chimney over time, which allows even more moisture to penetrate the chimney walls. Chimney joints that don’t receive regular repair maintenance will lose integrity and should be sealed properly to prevent more serious damage from occurring.

Flue Damage & Chimney Smoke

Another common fireplace issue that homeowners face is problems with excessive drafts and smoke coming from the chimney into the home. While drafting issues aren’t caused by damage to the chimney bricks or the mortar, blockage can result in smoke not properly drafting out of the chimney and can be a safety hazard. Oftentimes fireplace drafting problems are caused by a blockage in the chimney. This blockage could be something as simple as a bird nest, but can cause issues with the flue and push smoke back down into the fireplace and into the home. This should be addressed immediately because smoke being pushed back through the fireplace can be extremely dangerous and in some cases can start a fire. Having the chimney cleared allows the smoke to follow its natural path up the flue and out of the chimney. If your home fills with smoke whenever you light a fire in your fireplace, turn off the gas, stop the fire immediately, vent the smoke by opening windows, and schedule a chimney inspection.

A Leaning or Unstable Chimney

If a chimney is leaning or appears to be tilting, call DeMarco Inc. today so we can schedule an immediate chimney inspection. Without exception a chimney that is leaning is a safety concern that could cause serious damage and should be addressed quickly. A chimney should always be structurally sound and stand straight up. Any signs that a chimney isn’t standing straight could mean the chimney has structural problems and could potentially fall causing damage to your home. A leaning chimney is most commonly attributed to either water damage or damage to the foundation of the home. Water damage causes the joints of the chimney to degrade and lose their strength. This sort of wear-and-tear damage can typically be prevented by having a chimney repair service come and repair the mortar. Water damage to your chimney may seem like a small problem, but it can quickly grow into a larger issue. The repair cost of a water damage problem will only increase with time, so having your chimney properly maintained will keep moisture out and repair costs low. Contact a masonry repair service immediately if you believe your chimney is unstable.

Chimney Flashing Repairs

Chimney flashing protects your preventing water to leak in through the chimney where it meets the roof. Not only is this an important part of keeping a chimney and fireplace in good condition but this prevents water from causing damage to your home. Any visible signs of water leaks could be a result of damaged flashing. It’s important to repair chimney flashing quickly after the problem becomes known since the damage will only get significantly worse over time, especially if water is leaking in often. Properly installed steel chimney flashing can last up to 25 years, however some maintenance may be required.

Chimney Flue Liners

It is highly recommended that any gas or wood masonry chimney have a chimney flue liner. If your home doesn’t have a flue liner in your chimney one can be installed to prevent a chimney fire and lower the risk of a house fire. Depending on the style of flue liner installed in your chimney they may last 15-50 years. Any evidence of flakes, rust, or excess smoke likely means your flue liner needs replacing. If you have questions regarding your flue liner please reach out to us today. Schedule an inspection to have one of the professionals at DeMarco Inc. take a closer look at the inside of your fireplace to determine if any repairs are necessary.

Chimney Inspections

As a part of maintaining a masonry chimney having professional inspections done will save you time and money. A DeMarco masonry professional will come to your home to look at the exterior of your chimney to look for cracks, damage, and anything else in need of repair. They will then inspect the flue and fireplace to look for signs of erosion, water leaks, moisture buildup, or anything else that could point to issues. A damaged chimney will erode faster, so having a repair service provide professional maintenance will keep the chimney in good condition and prevent larger damage from occurring over time.

Masonry Experts and Chimney Repairs

DeMarco Inc. provides full masonry and chimney repairs for Central Ohio. With a skilled staff of expert masons we work with many styles of masonry chimneys on a regular basis. Both bricks and mortar are very durable, long lasting materials, but if not properly cared for and maintained are susceptible to natural elements. Any damage that occurs to the bricks or mortar of a chimney can rapidly turn into a worse problem. Erosion of these materials grows exponentially over time if not treated early. DeMarco Inc. handles general masonry repair, chimney repair, and we take on historic restoration projects of masonry buildings. We are passionate about masonry restoration and have revitalized historic buildings in our own city bringing them back to life and giving them a stronger structural integrity that will continue to last decades. For more Information please contact us and we can provide a free quote and schedule an inspection for your chimney.

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1160 South Front Street, Columbus, OH 43206