If you have a masonry fireplace and chimney, you have a major advantage: Bricks and mortar are strong and can last for hundreds of years. That being said, masonry does require some regular maintenance and repair to keep it structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing and functional. When it comes to masonry fireplace and chimneys, there are some common repairs we are used to addressing.
When the mortar between your chimney’s bricks begins to crumble, it can look alarming. While it can expose your chimney to water damage, make your chimney structure unstable and detract from your home’s aesthetic, crumbling mortar can be removed and replaced fairly simply. Through tuckpointing, we carefully withdraw the crumbling mortar between the bricks and replace it with new mortar to keep your chimney’s structure strong.
Just like the mortar joints between them, chimney and fireplace bricks can break down overtime. Typically referred to as “spalling,” the crumbling of bricks is caused by moisture entering the bricks porous surfaces and freezing during cold weather months. Those bricks should be removed and replaced to keep your chimney safe and looking good.
Cracked flue tiles
If your chimney liner is constructed from clay tiles, as many are, those tiles can crack and crumble over time from moisture exposure and the extreme heat of your fireplace. Cracks in your chimney liner can allow heat and smoke to escape your chimney, endangering your home’s structure. It generally isn’t cost effective to replace flue tiles, so damaged flues generally are relined with a metal chimney liner or with a poured sealant that fills in any cracks or weaknesses in your chimney to make it safe again.
Deteriorating chimney crown
Too many masonry chimney crowns are built hastily using mortar rather than concrete during the chimney’s construction. That can lead to chimney crowns that crack or crumble easily, though even concrete crowns can wear down over time due to weathering. Chimney crowns play an important role in protecting your chimney from exposure to moisture and should be repaired if you notice cracks or holes.
The area that clearly takes the most heat in your fireplace and chimney system is the firebox. The firebox deals with the extreme heat of your fires and prevents that heat from reaching your home’s structure. On top of the heat, the firebox also deals with the water vapor and corrosive byproducts your fires create. Inevitably, fireboxes develop cracks that make them dangerous and unsightly. We can seal minor cracks ore rebuild badly damaged fireboxes to keep your fireplace safe and attractive.
If you notice any of these common masonry problems in your fireplace or chimney, call The Chimney Sweeper to schedule an appointment today! We can help you come up with a plan for repairing your chimney’s masonry, and our masonry experts will have your fireplace ready to use before you’re ready to light your first fire next fall. Ask about chimney waterproofing to help protect your chimney’s masonry from future water damage!