Top Two Potential Reasons Your Chimney is Tilting
The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy has been leaning for about 840 years–since 1173. But if you see your chimney leaning, do not get the idea it’s perfectly safe to worry about it in the distant future! A tilting chimney is an urgent situation, and repair is needed right away. Read on for clues as to whether to contact chimney masonry specialists or a foundation repair company.
Is Your Chimney Damaged by Moisture?
Chimney maintenance is essential because measures must be taken to keep moisture out of the masonry system. The problem all boils down to one thing: Moisture destroys the masonry. The process of destruction isn’t immediate but neither does it take exceptionally long.
Once moisture gets into the masonry, the freezing and thawing cycles of winter cause the water inside to expand and contract. This creates movement that tears down the integrity of the bricks.
If you notice bits of debris around your chimney, it is a sign of spalling. Due to moisture in the masonry, the brick face eventually begins to pop and flake off, which is the basic definition of spalling. As the masonry gradually deteriorates, the chimney eventually begins to lean. Continued neglect of chimney maintenance will also lead to a total chimney collapse, which is obviously dangerous and destructive.
CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweeps can provide chimney masonry repairs as well as chimney masonry rebuilds.
Is Your Tilting Chimney Caused by a Foundation Problem?
The problem with your tilting chimney could be a foundation failure. The following are clues that foundation repair is likely needed:
- There is a gap between the exterior chimney built on an exterior wall and the home siding.
- Foam insulation, caulk, or mortar may have been used by previous owners to fill the gap, which only masks the issue.
- Metal straps are being used to hold the chimney in place.
- The metal flashing on the chimney stack has become dislodged.
Masonry chimneys weigh tons! There is supposed to be a chimney pad or chimney footing underneath the chimney to prevent the weight from causing that area of the foundation to sink.
If the foundation has shifted, the following are among the causes:
- The soil underneath the foundation is loose and unable to bear the heavy load of the chimney.
- The footing is undersized. There are specific requirements for chimney footings, to ensure that they can withstand the weight. For instance, they should be a minimum of one foot thick and should project six inches beyond all sides of the chimney.
- If poor quality concrete was used to create the footing, it could crack as a result of the same moisture and freeze-thaw cycles that can destroy the chimney masonry.
If it appears that a foundation shift has caused the chimney to tilt, reach out to foundation experts without delay!
Contact the Chimney Masonry Experts
Each of the chimney sweeps at Northeastern Chimney LLC in West Hartford CT is CSIA-certified. For chimney masonry repair for a tilting chimney as well as for chimney inspections, chimney cleaning, chimney maintenance, and chimney repairs, give us a call. We are the trusted chimney experts throughout the area. Contact us by calling Northeastern Chimney at 860-233-5770 today.