How to Know if Your Chimney Needs Repairs

A chimney can provide your home with warmth, entertainment, and relaxation. It works hard to make you feel comfortable in your home. A quick look at a chimney may have you thinking they are indestructible. Although they are fairly durable, weather and usage over time can take its toll on your chimney.

Some of the problems chimneys face are issues with mortar, bricks, flue liners, and crown. If these issues are not dealt with in a timely manner, they can cause significant damage. Chimneys can collapse or become a fire hazard if not maintained.

Aside from getting regular chimney cleanings and inspections, a great way to take care of your chimney is by familiarizing yourself with how to recognize problems early on. If you know what to look for, you can call in an expert to fix the issue before it turns into something more extensive. Catching issues early on can also do your wallet a favor!

Here are seven telltale signs to know if your chimney is in need of repairs.

Rusted Parts

If you notice any rust in your firebox or on the damper, it is a sign of moisture in your chimney. Moisture is often there and can cause damage over time.

Take a closer look at the damper if it becomes difficult to seal or operate. These issues could be due to damage from rust. Moisture in a chimney does not just cause rust. It can be the start of numerous problems such as cracking flue tiles, which can be especially dangerous. Damaged flue lining can allow too much heat into areas that are vulnerable and cause a house fire.

White Discoloration

The white discoloration is another telltale sign your chimney needs repairs. The white staining on your chimney surface is called efflorescence and appears when there is moisture damage. It is not aesthetically pleasing to look at, and causes premature deterioration if neglected.

Simply cleaning the surface will not always solve the problem. You may need chimney experts to clean and make repairs and then coat the bricks with a water-resistant sealant.

Damaged Wallpaper

Take a look at the walls surrounding your chimney. If you spot any wallpaper damage, it could be due to excess moisture. There may have cracks, damaged parts or need a coat of water-resistant sealant. Any time there is a sign of moisture, it is a red flag that your chimney is not performing at its best and needs inspected.

Deteriorating Mortar Joints

The mortar joints, or spaces between the bricks, should get checked regularly. Any damaged mortar joints can lead to accelerated damage to the masonry. It allows for greater exposure to moisture, so it should be repaired right away if spotted.

If water seeps into the damaged spaces, small cracks can quickly turn into larger problems. Moisture can freeze in the cracks during the winter and thaw in spring, resulting in bigger, more problematic cracks. Over time, the chimney can weaken and collapse.

Shaling Flue Tiles

The flue liner is located on the inside of your chimney and keeps it working safely. It helps channel the smoke, heat and combustibles from your firebox out of your home.

Look out for broken pieces or thin slices of flue tile slowly piling up at the bottom of your chimney. Exposure to moisture and years of use can wear down the flue liner, which is a sign that it is in need of repairs. A faulty flue liner can let heat into vulnerable areas in your home and cause a house fire.

Although it is easy to spot broken pieces at the bottom of your chimney, you will need an expert to get in and take a closer look for any flue problems.


Spalling is another telltale sign your chimney is in need of repairs. This issue can occur when water makes its way into the surface of the masonry. It causes pieces to fall, flake, or peel off. It is fairly easy to spot, and it is essential to fix or it will continue to fall apart.

Check outside around the bottom of your chimney. If you see pieces of brick, stone, or concrete that have come off, it is falling apart and going through spalling.

Crown Damage

The chimney crown is a large piece that covers the top of the chimney. It protects the chimney from deterioration caused by harsh weather conditions. When you regularly inspect your roof or chimney, take a look at the crown.

If there are cracks, you will want to repair them as soon as possible. Cracks allow moisture to enter, which will later lead to more cracks, shaling, spalling, and other unwanted issues.

Schedule a Free Quote Today

If you notice any of these telltale signs, you will want to get it repaired as soon as possible. Schedule a free quote today with Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting. We have over 70 years of experience in the business and will eliminate any chimney issues you may have.