How Long Do Chimneys Last? When To Repair or Rebuild The Chimney

Homeowner Guide to the Fireplace and Chimney
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People purchasing a home with a chimney and fireplace or homeowners with older homes often ask what the average lifespan is for a chimney. Vancouver, B.C., has long winters with cold weather, leading some homebuyers to want fireplaces. Fireplaces add ambiance and warmth to any home, and families can gather around the fireplace on chilly nights for comfort and family time. But, the fireplace must work correctly and safely, depending on the chimney’s condition. For this reason, homebuyers want to know if the chimney is in good shape and how long it will last before it needs rebuilding. Homebuyers should have the chimney inspected to see if they should negotiate chimney repairs during the home purchasing process. Prime Chimney Repair is a full-service company with masonry experts specializing in chimney repair and rebuilds. We are located in Vancouver, B.C., and you can call 778-765-3760 to request more information or schedule an appointment.

What is the Normal Lifespan of a Chimney?

A chimney that has been properly built and maintained can last from 20 to 100 years. But, if the chimney was poorly constructed or lacked maintenance, it will need repairs or rebuilding sooner. It is impossible to tell what shape a chimney is in by looking at it from the ground.

A chimney should be inspected before a person buys the home and each year after they move in. A chimney contractor can inspect the chimney and evaluate its condition for the customer. The chimney inspector will note any damage and explain what is needed to repair the damage and keep the chimney safe and working as it should.

A chimney’s lifespan can be affected by the following factors.

  • Does the chimney have a cap? Chimney caps help chimneys last longer and keep debris, rain, and wildlife out of the chimney flue. Prime Chimney Repair can add a chimney cap if the chimney does not have one.
  • Does the chimney have a liner? The liner will increase the chimney’s lifespan by protecting the inside surfaces. Chimneys built before 1940 may not have liners and will need one installed. Existing chimney liners generally need replacing after 15 to 60 years.
  • Tall trees too close to the roof and the chimney can cause structural damage to the chimney during wind or storm events.
  • Disasters such as fires, earthquakes, lightning, high winds, or large amounts of snow can cause chimney damage. After these events, the chimney should be inspected.
  • The amount of upkeep the chimney has had will affect how long it lasts. A chimney that has been neglected will have a shorter lifespan, and a chimney inspection can determine its condition.
  • How the chimney was used can affect how long it lasted. Burning too much paper or trash in the fireplace is terrible, and burning green wood instead of seasoned lumber can cause damage. Letting creosote build up can cause chimney fires. An inspection can spot evidence of past chimney fires and the damage they caused.

When a chimney inspection is done, the damages and condition of the chimney will be determined. The remaining life of the chimney can also be estimated.

What Are Signs That the Chimney Needs to be Repaired or Rebuilt?

The following signs mean trouble when looking at the chimney from below or during a chimney inspection.

  • Large cracks in the bricks or the mortar holding them together are damaged or missing, which means the chimney is not structurally sound.
  • There are white streaks of efflorescence on the chimney bricks. This condition, if not corrected, can deteriorate the chimney.
  • Spalling bricks or bricks loosening and falling off the chimney is a definite sign of trouble, and it may mean they are full of water and the chimney is deteriorating. Immediate attention is called for.
  • The chimney is leaning or tilting, and this signifies that a chimney is no longer structurally sound or safe. Again immediate attention is called for.
  • The internal surfaces of the chimney have a thick coating of creosote, which is a dangerous fire hazard.

Prime Chimney Repair professionals can inspect the chimney and report danger signs that are present, and suggest what can be done to repair or rebuild the chimney so it is safe to use and will last longer. Some chimneys can be cleaned and fixed to last years longer, while others need to be rebuilt. It is important to ensure a chimney is safe before using the fireplace. Dangerous chimneys can lead to house fires.

Call Prime Chimney Repair for Chimney Repair and Rebuilding Questions.

Prime Chimney Repair is located in Vancouver, B.C., and we serve customers throughout Greater Vancouver. We can also give you prices for our many services.

Every chimney should be inspected before you buy a home and yearly after that. It is also a good idea to have the chimney cleaned annually or as needed based on the chimney inspection. If the chimney has a serious masonry issue, our professionals can help you determine whether it can be repaired, rebuilt, or repointed.

It is important to ensure that the chimney is in good, safe condition so your family can safely enjoy warm fires in the fireplace during cold weather and family gatherings. Please do not misuse or neglect your chimney. Chimneys that are well-maintained and properly used last years longer. Again, call us today for an appointment for a chimney repair or chimney rebuild. We are always available for calls.


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Chimney Repair Vancouver, BC