How to Fix an Unsightly Chimney
An unsightly chimney isn’t just bad for your home’s curb appeal. It could be a sign of a serious problem. Stains on your chimney or deteriorating masonry usually indicate that there is an underlying problem that needs to be fixed. Leaving the problem unresolved can lead to more expensive problems in the future or put your home at risk of a fire.
Having your chimney inspected by a CSIA certified chimney sweep is the best way to know what is wrong with your chimney. This an overview of the most common chimney problems and solutions for chimney stains and deterioration.
Crumbling Mortar Joints & Broken Bricks
There are a few different reasons why you may be finding shards of brick and broken pieces of mortar around your chimney. If you have an old home, these could be natural signs of wear and tear or indicators that the wrong mortar was used to build your chimney. It could also be an indicator of water exposure. If excess moisture is getting into your chimney, it can weaken the strength of your masonry making it more likely to crack or crumble. It is important to identify the underlying problem before taking action.
If wear and tear is the culprit, tuckpointing will be the best solution. Tuckpointing is when broken bricks and missing mortar are replaced as needed, compared to a complete restoration which would require tearing down and rebuilding the chimney. It is a great solution for minor masonry problems.
If the problem is that the wrong mortar was used to build your chimney, a complete rebuild may be needed to prevent your chimney from eventually collapsing.
If water intrusion is the source of the problem, you will need to address how moisture is getting into the chimney before repairing the bricks and mortar. New bricks and mortar are just as susceptible to deteriorating from excess moisture as old bricks. If you don’t find out how water is getting into your chimney and prevent it, you may end up paying to replace the same broken bricks and mortar again. A professional chimney sweep will be able to identify how water is getting into your chimney and propose the best solution.
White, Brown or Green Chimney Stains
If your chimney has white, brown or green chimney stains, it is an indicator that your chimney has water damage. White staining is known as efflorescence. It occurs when water evaporates out of bricks and leaves salt deposits behind. Brown staining is typically a sign of sever water damage. Green stains usually indicate that mold or algae are growing on the bricks because of excess moisture.
A missing chimney cap, broken chimney crown or lack of waterproofing sealant may be to blame for allowing moisture into your chimney. These are just a few of the most common ways that water gets into chimneys. A certified chimney sweep will be able to tell you the culprit for your water damage. Once they solve your moisture problem, they can remove the staining.
Black Chimney Stains
As you may have already guessed, black stains on your chimney are from soot. When it rains, the rainwater can mix with soot from the top of the chimney and run down the sides creating an ugly black stain. A chimney sweep can remove black stains outside of the chimney, along with creosote deposits inside the chimney, during a cleaning.
Though black stains may seem normal, they are often a sign that your fireplace isn’t burning wood efficiently. This may mean that your chimney has a venting problem or that you aren’t using the best wood for your fireplace. Certified chimney sweeps, like our team at Northeastern Chimney, Inc., will let you know if there is evidence of minor or major problem that is causing your chimney to produce more smoke.
Whether your chimney has ugly stains or crumbling bricks, it is always smart to call on a professional to take care of the problem instead of letting it fester. Chimney problems won’t go away on their own. Water damage can lead to internal problems that increase the risk of a house fire or chimney fire making your fireplace unsafe to use. Even if you stop using your fireplace, the longer you wait, the more likely the damage will increase leading to more expensive repairs in the future.
Give us a call if you need your chimney cleaned or inspected! The knowledgeable chimney sweeps on our team have experience restoring chimneys, repairing masonry and cleaning away tough stains.