How to Tell if You Need a New Chimney
Chimneys can last for more than a century, but the time inevitably arrives when a new chimney becomes necessary. Unfortunately, the need for replacement of a chimney sometimes comes prematurely. It’s important to be able to identify signs that your chimney masonry may need repair. Neglect of regular chimney maintenance often leads to a leaning chimney in danger of collapse. The following are some of the telltale signs that you need a new chimney.
If your chimney masonry has white staining, something called “efflorescence” has occurred. The stains are a sign that at least a partial chimney rebuild is necessary. Efflorescence occurs when moisture and salt are inside the brick masonry. The salt mixes with the moisture and then travels through the masonry, leaving a deposit of white staining on the brick face.
White chimney stains are easy to remove, but the moisture inside the bricks is another story. Anytime moisture enters into masonry, a process of destruction has begun. The freezing and thawing cycles of winter cause movement in the masonry as the water expands and contracts. The process wears away at the bricks and leads to complete deterioration.
Note: Not all bricks contain salt. Therefore, just because a chimney does not have white staining does not mean that it also does not have moisture intrusion.
Damaged Chimney Crown
The chimney crown at the very top of the chimney is highly prone to cracking and deteriorating. The job of a chimney crown is to keep water from flowing between the chimney flue and the exterior of the chimney. When a chimney crown and other chimney components are not checked routinely, a homeowner usually ends up with the need for a partial chimney rebuild or an entirely new chimney.
No Chimney Cap
If a chimney cap has been missing from your chimney for an extended period of time, your chimney has been exposed to the destructive effects of moisture. Chimney caps may be accessories, but they are crucial in the effort to keep moisture out of the chimney masonry. Rain simply pours right into the chimney system if a chimney cap is missing.
Contact a chimney sweep expert to diagnose the condition of your chimney before adding a chimney cap if one has been missing altogether. It’s possible you may need a chimney rebuild before adding a protective chimney cap.
There are many different types of chimney caps to choose from. Full-width chimney caps are the best because they cover the entire chimney crown while also keeping water from pouring down the chimney flue.
You can cut the cost of chimney maintenance by keeping an eye on different components designed to keep moisture out, including mortar. The lifespan of mortar is only about 25 years at most. Once it begins to deteriorate, moisture is able to freely enter the masonry system.
If, on the other hand, you spot mortar damage early, it’s possible to avoid the need for a new chimney. Tuckpointing is a cost-saving solution for damaged chimney mortar. Chimney experts scrape out damaged mortar and replace it with fresh mortar, restoring the structural stability of the chimney.
Contact the chimney experts at Chimney Specialists Inc. for a new chimney, partial chimney rebuilds, tuckpointing, chimney cap replacement, chimney cap installation, and all chimney maintenance and repair services. We also offer a huge selection of quality hearth appliances as well as professional installation. Visit our showroom at a location below or give us a call using the information that follows:
Chimney Specialists Inc.
869 Main Street, Highland, WI
Dubuque Fireplace & Patio
925 Century Drive, Dubuque, Iowa