The Importance of Chimney Repair
Chimney Repair Reading PA is important to keep fireplaces safe and working properly. Problems like cracks in the chimney’s brick and masonry, leaks, and creosote buildup can lead to dangerous problems such as house fires.
Water damage from heavy rains can cause chimney masonry to crack and crumble. Unless it’s addressed quickly, the damage can grow worse and cause costly chimney and home repairs.
A chimney crown is the concrete layer covering most of the top of your chimney. It helps prevent water damage to masonry by sealing off the chimney from its structure and shedding snow and rainwater away from the masonry. When it becomes damaged, water leaks in and causes a variety of problems, including staining and deterioration.
A cracked or leaking chimney crown can lead to many different issues, and it is important that this area be repaired as soon as possible. Chimney repair professionals can inspect the crown and determine if it needs a rebuild, patching, or waterproof sealant. The type of repairs required will depend on the severity of the cracks and other signs of damage.
Chimney crowns are prone to natural wear and tear over time, and they can also be damaged by improper installation or poor weather conditions. The best way to protect your chimney crown is by having it inspected annually to identify and correct small problems before they become worse.
If you notice pools of water on the chimney crown, in your firebox, or inside the flue, this is a sign that the crown is no longer doing its job and needs to be repaired. Water damage can be costly, and the longer it goes untreated, the more extensive the damage will be.
Other signs of a damaged chimney crown include dark spots on the mortar joints, gaps and cracks in the mortar, and falling pieces of the chimney. If the crown is severely damaged, it may need to be replaced altogether.
To repair a chimney crown, the first step is to clean the surface with a wire brush to remove any dirt or debris. Next, the professionals will apply a waterproof sealant to the chimney crown. This will prevent moisture from damaging the chimney masonry and stop further cracking in the chimney crown.
ChimneyRX is a brushable crown repair product that can be applied to hairline cracks in a chimney crown. It is a waterproof sealant that can be brushed on, allowing professionals to easily cover even the smallest cracks. Once the product is applied to the crown, it must cure for 4-6 hours.
Repairing a Chimney Flue
When a chimney flue is properly functioning, it keeps poisonous gases like carbon monoxide from entering the home. This gas is odorless, tasteless, and invisible, which makes it a real danger. A flue that is cracked or broken, however, allows dangerous gases to escape, and it can also allow combustible creosote to escape and build up outside the chimney. Creosote, which is highly flammable, can ignite when exposed to flame or high heat and can cause chimney fires that threaten the safety of the structure and the well-being of the inhabitants.
When cracks in the clay tiles of a chimney’s flue liner occur, it’s time for a repair. Typically, the cracks are near the top of the chimney because that’s where the most intense heat occurs and where the tiles experience the greatest stress from temperature changes. These areas can be checked for damage and cracks by standing on the roof with a ladder to see the upper sections of the chimney.
Often, these areas can be repaired by using a product made specifically for masonry that’s injected into the cracks with a pump and then hardened with a blowtorch. These products are widely available in stores and online. If the cracks are larger, they may need to be filled in with mortar.
Many chimneys have liners that protect the brick structure and keep out water, animals, and other debris that might enter the flue and make it unusable. These liners can be either rigid or flexible, depending on the needs of the chimney system. Rigid liners are better for chimneys with narrow flues, while flexible liners are more suitable for wider flues and for masonry chimneys that need to withstand high heat conditions.
Chimneys aren’t designed to withstand direct rainfall, but moisture inside the chimney can do serious damage. A cracked chimney crown, for instance, can lead to water damage in the masonry section of the chimney and a leaky flue lining. The chimney crown is the cement cap that sits on top of the masonry chimney and keeps rain, snow, and ice from pooling on top. Chimney crowns that are cracked or damaged should be repaired as soon as possible.
Repairing a Chimney Cap
A chimney cap, or crown, is a fixture on top of your chimney that serves several purposes. It helps to keep moisture, critters, and debris out of the chimney while also acting as a spark arrestor and reducing the risk of fires that can damage your roof or house. Chimney caps can be made of metal, masonry, or wood and are easy to repair as long as you have the right tools on hand.
Over time, a chimney cap can become damaged or worn by the elements. As a result, it will need to be repaired or replaced. This is a relatively simple process that you can do yourself, as long as you are comfortable accessing the top of your chimney. Chimney caps can be purchased online or at most home improvement stores and are reasonably priced.
The first step is to clean the top of the chimney flue and crown with a wire brush. You will need to remove any moss that has formed and any other debris from the top of the chimney. Once the chimney is clean, you will need to prepare it for a new chimney cap by applying a wash coat of caulk around the edges of the crown. This will help to seal the gap that may form between the chimney crown and the flue.
Once the caulk is dry, you will need to apply a second coat of caulk to the sides of the chimney cap. This will help to ensure that the cap is in place and does not come loose or fall off during a storm.
Another benefit of a chimney cap is that it will prevent wild animals from nesting in the chimney. This is a common problem that can lead to chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Chimney caps will keep birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small creatures out of the chimney, where they can build nests that will quickly burn or cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Repairing a fireplace
When brick and mortar begin to crack, it’s often a sign that a chimney needs repair. A professional masonry expert can assess the damage and recommend the proper repairs to bring it back to a safe condition.
Moisture is the biggest cause of cracked masonry. Chimneys are exposed to snow, ice, rain, and temperature changes year-round, so moisture seeps in between the bricks and causes what’s called spalling, which damages the surfaces of the brick and stone. The weakened surface can then crumble or fall apart, exposing the interior metal parts to corrosion and other damage.
Over time, moisture can also degrade the refractory brick in the fireplace itself. This can lead to broken or missing firebricks, which can create a fire hazard. It can also cause the mortar joints to become displaced or to separate from the refractory brick. Repairing a chimney requires resetting the damaged or loose refractory brick and re-mortaring the joints.
A leaking chimney is another problem that requires immediate attention. This can allow smoke, fumes, and vapors to leak into the home and can also damage or discolor walls and ceilings. It’s important to note that homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover chimney leaks, so you’ll need to have these problems repaired as soon as possible.
Other chimney issues that may require immediate attention include a chimney that has a hole in the flue lining, a damper that won’t open and close properly, or a crack in the chimney crown that could allow poisonous gases into the home. If you notice any of these signs, call a chimney sweep right away to schedule an inspection and repair service.
One last thing to note is that attempting DIY chimney repair can be dangerous. Specialty tools and equipment are usually needed to do a thorough job. A professional chimney sweep has the necessary equipment and training to safely complete any repair that’s required. If you are considering DIY chimney repair, make sure you follow all safety precautions and always wear a fall-arresting harness when working on a roof, especially if the chimney is high up. These harnesses are available at home improvement centers and tool rental outlets.