Nothing compares to relaxing around a cozy fire in the comfort of your home. Fireplaces are perfect for entertaining or chasing away a winter chill, but they require maintenance. Specifically, you need to monitor your chimney to confirm it hasn’t sustained any damage.
Chimneys are an integral part of many homes. Often, they are the central structure around which the construction team built the rest of your home. Even if that’s not the case, it’s still vital that you ensure your chimney is in good condition. Here are some signs that indicate you need chimney repair.
Spalling is a technical term that you may not have heard before. Spalling is a type of damage that occurs when water enters the bricks that make up your chimney. Once inside, the water causes peeling, flaking and other problems. In some cases, bricks will push outward or even fall.
If you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, the damage to your chimney will happen more quickly. When water freezes, it expands. When it melts, it contracts and might drain away. As this happens, the force of the change places an enormous amount of strain on your chimney.
Luckily, the signs that spalling is occurring are easy to spot. You will see chips or flakes of masonry around the base of the chimney. As long as you remain alert, you can catch this issue before too many problems arise.
Shaling is another issue your chimney may face. It refers to when pieces of flue tiles begin to collect at the bottom of your chimney. It’s one of the few warning signs you’ll get if your flue lining is damaged.
Damaged flue linings are otherwise hard to see. You may need to consult with a professional who will use a special camera to confirm your flue lining requires repair. Since shaling isn’t guaranteed to occur, we recommend having an inspection done regularly.
If your flue lining is damaged, don’t wait to repair it. In the worst-case scenario, a damaged flue lining could result in a house fire.
A stainless steel flue lining is a popular choice for a replacement. Stainless steel is sturdy, and it resists corrosion and cracks.
Rust on Your Damper
Rust on the damper of your fireplace is a sign that water is getting into your chimney. That is fairly common as not all chimneys have chimney caps. Water can erode and crack the masonry, and it can damage your flue lining too. Installing the right cap can help keep the chimney dry.
If you are not familiar with the terminology, a damper seals your fireplace when it is not in use. It keeps your home warmer by preventing cold air from entering. When it’s open, the damper funnels smoke up and away through your chimney.
Damage to your damper is usually relatively apparent. If it isn’t sealing properly, you will notice an increase in airflow when it’s closed. It may also become hard to open and close.
Visible External Damage
Any visible damage to your chimney or the area surrounding it is a sign you need to call an expert. Spalling, shaling and rust aren’t the only indicators of damage.
Cracks might appear in the crown or sides of your chimney, particularly if your house is not a recent construction, old and weathered. Houses can settle as they age, especially when proper steps are not taken to avoid it. If builders didn’t take that into account, damage may develop.
If you notice a crack in your chimney, contact a professional repair expert immediately. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that structural damage will occur. Minor, relatively easy fixes can quickly spiral out of control.
It’s not just your chimney that might indicate a problem. Be on the lookout for damage to the walls and ceiling around your fireplace too. Water damage and mold can be a sign that your chimney leaks. Damp or peeling wallpaper is common in these instances.
Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with your chimney. It’s still perfectly functional, but you just don’t like the way it looks. If this is the case, you may want remodeling more than you need a repair. Typically this is the case for the inside veneer of your chimney. As you remodel the home, you may want an updated look to the fireplace inside.
Even the highest quality chimneys will struggle to withstand decades of wear and tear. An older, worn-looking chimney might be a sign that your chimney will need repairs sooner rather than later.
A new and updated chimney can add curb appeal to your home while having the peace of mind of knowing it’s built right.
At Ray Arnold Masonry, we’ve been offering quality services for more than 65 years. We’re committed to customer satisfaction and pride ourselves on the excellence of our craftsmanship.
We offer a range of masonry, chimney repair, waterproofing and general contracting services with our customers’ needs in mind. If you have questions or concerns or would like more information, contact us today.