What to do if you have Crumbling or Spalling Chimney Bricks?
Have you ever heard another homeowner say that, after a recent inspection, their technician told them that their chimney is spalling? This means that the masonry that makes up the visible portion of their chimney system has started cracking, crumbling, and may even be missing parts of it. So what should you do if, after your annual chimney inspection and sweeping, you find out that you also have a crumbling or spalling chimney?
Why Does Spalling Happen?
Spalling or crumbling brick is not only a visual eyesore, but it’s also indicative of a larger problem. Spalling usually means that there is something else going on with your chimney system.
Some of the reasons for a spalling chimney that our Chimney Specialist technicians have seen include:
- Your chimney’s general age
- The effects of Mother Nature
- Home settling
- Poor masonry materials
Each of these, however, leads to the same result: water has invaded your chimney and begun breaking down the materials. Whether due to age or the constant battering your chimney structure takes from the elements, water and masonry are a bad combination. Brick and mortar are porous.
When water makes its way into tiny cracks within them, it starts breaking down the materials. As water freezes, it expands and creates larger holes and cracks — which then allow even more water in, which freezes, and so on. This pattern continues to repeat until the chimney starts spalling with crumbling bricks and gaping holes in your mortar.
The dangers of a spalling chimney
Is a spalling chimney dangerous to your home? Yes, and in several ways. First, water damage will frequently lead to mold. This directly affects your family’s well- being and can lead to a host of health issues. Second, the structural issues with a spalling chimney mean that it can eventually lead to a home fire. Or worse yet, it can allow dangerous gasses to back up into your home without you even knowing it.
How to fix a spalling chimney
Fixing a chimney that is spalling begins by cleaning out the crumbling debris and starting over with a process called repointing. This replaces missing materials with new ones. And depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to rebuild portions or
even all of your chimney structure.
Once repaired, the next step is to waterproof it. This includes replacing or repairing any other damaged components including your cap, crown, flue, damper, and flashing. Finally, future-proof your repair investment by applying a waterproof sealant to all exposed surfaces to extend its life to its maximum potential.
If you notice any signs of chimney spalling, you should schedule an appointment right away. Preventative maintenance will always be more cost-effective than reactive repair.
Our team will review your chimney’s structural integrity both during an annual inspection and anytime you call us for off-season maintenance. Would you like to schedule an appointment? Then contact Chimney Specialists, Inc at (608) 929-4887 or via our website to book your appointment.