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4 Exterior Chimney Problems That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Damaged Chimney CrownsWhile your chimney may appear to be in good condition, homeowners shouldn’t wait until they happen to notice a problem with the chimney. Many exterior chimney issues start gradually making it noticeable only upon closer inspection. Some problems commonly occur on or near the chimney crown and in other areas that may be hidden from view. Also, a few cracked or broken bricks may not seem dangerous, but a trained chimney professional knows that it can lead to health, safety, and structural issues. That’s why these four exterior chimney problems shouldn’t be ignored.

Cracks in the chimney crown

Its location at the top of the chimney makes the chimney crown susceptible to weather-related damage. The purpose of the crown is to prevent water intrusion. And when cracks develop on the surface moisture can get inside the chimney. It can soften the interior masonry walls increasing the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning and accelerate the deterioration of internal components.

Damaged chimney flashing

Damage Chimney Flashing The flashing is a thin metal strip that provides a waterproof seal along the seam where the chimney meets the roof. One sign of a problem with the flashing is noticing water leaks on the ceiling above your fireplace. It occurs when the flashing is stressed or damaged, allowing water to enter through the exposed seam. The moisture can cause quite a bit of damage to your roof and chimney, including mold and wood rot. It can also allow small pests like termites to get inside too.

Gaps in mortar joints

Gaps in the mortar joints are another common chimney problem that shouldn’t be ignored. The continued exposure of the brick masonry to the rain and the constant freeze-thaw process causes the mortar to crumble. As the mortar continues to disappear the bricks can become loose and eventually fall from the chimney. It can cause major structural issues if it is not repaired.

Spalled or missing bricks

In addition to gaps in the mortar joints, spalled or even missing bricks is another common problem. Like mortar, bricks are also porous, and it soaks moisture like a sponge. The pounding rain, snow, and sleet can cause tiny holes in the exterior brick surface. Moisture is absorbed in these small crevices. When the trapped moisture freezes, thaws and freezes again, ice crystals inside the crevices gradually expand, eventually causing the bricks to crack. Depending on the extent of the problem, you may notice pieces of brick lying on the ground. Like gaps in the mortar joints, spalling or missing bricks can also result in severe structural issues.

Chimney Repairs

An annual chimney inspection can spot these and other common chimney problems before they develop into more severe issues. Contact us to schedule your chimney inspection today. Our experienced masons can repair external chimney problems so that you can continue to enjoy the safe operation of your fireplace and heating stove.


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