Homeowners often give little thought to their chimneys. After all, chimneys are built to withstand elements like rain, snow, and many other hazards. If taken care of, they can last a century or more, and many even outlast the homes they’re attached to. Because of that, most people don’t worry much about their chimneys becoming damaged or falling apart.
A lack of attention can lead to a variety of problems. Unexpected chimney issues can bring about water damage, mold, and mildew. They can also detract from ventilation and cause dangerous gases to build up inside a home. As such, it’s important to keep an eye on the chimney and watch for signs of damage. Though chimneys are tough, they can succumb to the dangers they’re exposed to over time. One common problem homeowners deal with are spalling chimney bricks.
What Is Spalling?
Chimney brick spalling is primarily caused by water infiltration. It generally begins with overly porous bricks, improperly mixed mortar, and subpar chimney construction. It can also be a result of inadequate maintenance. Repeated pressure washing can also cause unseen damage to a chimney.
If water works its way into bricks and mortar of a chimney, it freezes when the temperatures drop below freezing. When water freezes, it expands, placing excess pressure on the bricks from the inside and pushing their material outward.
Once that water thaws, it contracts, releasing the extra pressure. This cycle continues during the colder months, continually stressing the bricks until they can no longer withstand the pressure. That’s what causes the brick to crumble or spall. As the materials on the surface of the bricks and between them crumble away, water can penetrate deeper into them, leading to even more damage. The more damage the chimney sustains, the more vulnerable it is to further destruction.
What To Do About Spalling
As mentioned, homeowners should watch for spalling. That way, they’ll be more likely to notice it before the damage spreads. Catching the problem early and resolving it as quickly as possible is the key to preserving the chimney, the roof, and, ultimately, the entire house. Of course, chimney damage can be challenging to spot from the ground, and it may be necessary to climb onto the roof periodically for a close-up look.
Alternatively, homeowners can hire chimney repair contractors to handle this job. Be sure to enlist the help of knowledgeable and experienced contractors in brickwork and chimney repairs for the best results. These professionals start with a thorough inspection of the roof and all its components to determine their condition. If the chimney is beginning to show signs of wear and damage, they can promptly repair it.
Remember that chimney repair can be complex for those who choose the do-it-yourself route. Climbing onto the roof is precarious in its own right, and getting all the necessary tools and materials to complete the job makes matters even more complicated.
Additionally, without the proper knowledge and experience, trying to repair a chimney can do more harm than good. That’s true in terms of both functionality and aesthetics.
Performing an inspection before getting started is vital. Understanding the causes and extent of the damage is the key to resolving it successfully. If the grounds of the problems are addressed, repairing existing damage will be worthwhile. It’ll be impossible to keep up with ongoing damage, too. That’s one of the reasons bringing in professionals is advised. They know which problems to look for and how to solve them.
Several videos and other resources are available to help homeowners learn more about the chimney repair process. Specific tools, including a masonry chisel, hammer, and trowel, will be essential for completing this project. New bricks and fresh mortar are crucial as well. Consider trying to find bricks that match the existing ones as closely as possible. Any damaged bricks and mortar will need to be removed entirely. Then, they’ll need to be carefully replaced.
Benefits of Professional Chimney Repairs
We’ve already alluded to some of the main benefits of having chimney brick spalling resolved by professionals. Chimney repair experts know what types of damage to look for and their sources so they can determine the best way to proceed with repairs. That makes for a more thorough job and helps prevent additional future damage. Furthermore, chimney repair contractors have all the right tools and equipment to do the job correctly.
Chimney repair specialists can also do the job safely, preventing homeowners from being injured or inadvertently causing damage to their homes. On top of that, if a homeowner opts for DIY chimney repairs, their homeowner’s insurance may not pay for chimney and roof damage and other issues down the road. Coverage providers generally require home maintenance and repair work by qualified, certified professionals.
Keeping a Chimney in Top-Notch Condition
Homeowners should have their chimneys inspected at least once a year for safety and functionality. From there, you must take care of any damage found during the inspection as quickly as possible to prevent further deterioration. Prime Chimney Repair is here to cover the needs of homeowners across Vancouver. We offer inspections, repairs, and preventative maintenance to keep chimneys in the best possible condition. Contact us via our website or call (778) 765-3760 to schedule a service appointment.