Summertime is probably not the time when you are thinking about a warm cozy fire in your fireplace. But you should be thinking about preparing your fireplace for the fall and winter months. Keeping your fireplace in good condition is essential to keeping your home safe from potential fire damage or smoke damage. A chimney that is in disrepair not only looks bad for the overall condition of your home but also devalues the home as well as making it unsafe. As a homeowner, you need to know how to maintain your fireplace. Keep reading for chimney repair tips that pros want you to know.
Prevent Debris from Entering the Flue
You do not want anything falling through the flue as that can cause a myriad of issues. Preventing snow, leaves, sticks and animals from coming in is essential to keeping your chimney in good shape. To do this, you will need to purchase a cap that will fit properly on top of the chimney. There are a few different styles of caps. Some can slide into place, while others require being attached to the flue. Other types need to be affixed to the crown (the cemented top of the chimney) with adhesive. It is very important that you make sure that the cap is the correct size for your chimney, otherwise it could disturb the flow of the gases or cause smoke to blow into your home. If, while installing the cap, there are cracks created in the flue, crown or in the brick, then that will cause further issues that will need to be addressed.
Repair A Cracked Crown
As mentioned before, the crown is located at the top of the chimney, made up of a special kind of mortar. It creates a seal to prevent water from getting inside the chimney. If water does soak in, it could eventually cause cracking which can compromise the masonry to the point where an entire rebuild is necessary. If there are cracks in the crown, it will need to be repaired as soon as possible. To do this, clean any remaining parts of the crown and fill in the cracks. Add a new layer of mortar to create a newly sealed crown. As you make these repairs, make sure that you purchase the correct kind of mortar that will allow for contraction and expansion due to changing temperatures. The crown will also need to slope downwards to allow the water to drain off the roof.
Seal The Bricks
Issues can occur with the bricks in your chimney, such as leaking. To rectify this, take a power washer to the bricks to clean them. Afterwards, purchase a sealant specifically made for chimneys. Spray it on the bricks of the chimney. Be careful as you perform these tasks when you are up on your roof.
Water Repellent Treatment of Your Chimney
Treating your chimney with water repellent is very similar to sealing bricks. It is not required that you pressure wash the bricks beforehand, but it is recommended. Apply the water repellent to the chimney. Make sure that it is designed for chimney use before purchasing. This sealant will help prevent mold, dirt and water from soaking into the bricks. Typically this sealant will last for seven years before needing to be reapplied.
Repair Cracked or Damaged Mortar
Over time, the mortar between the bricks can become damaged to the point where it is cracked and pieces fall out, leaving holes. This is bound to happen after years of being exposed to the elements. Once you have determined where the damaged mortar is, make sure that the area is cleaned out of the old mortar. You cannot just fill in the holes, you will need to clear out all of the old mortar with a chisel first. Then purchase the mortar and mix it following the instructions. Make sure that it is the proper kind of mortar. To apply, use a mortar bag and a trowel.
Chimney repairs are essential to keeping your home maintained, beautiful and safe. At Ray Arnold Masonry and Contracting, we know how vital your chimney is to the structure of your home. That is why we make chimney repairs our top priority. For more information on chimney repairs, check out our blog. If you are interested in having your chimney inspected and/or repaired, please contact us today!