Chimney Repairs

5Our waterproofing materials are a preventive measure that addresses two common issues with water and brick chimneys.  First, water vapors collect in the chimney during fires, and second, common brick is like a sponge, absorbing water and drawing it to the interior of the chimney.

Our materials are 100% vapor permeable, meaning it allows the chimney to breathe and the vapors to escape.  And they prevent water from entering your chimney from outside.  if damage or deterioration already exists in a masonry structure, the chimney should be repaired before the waterproofing agent is applied. Additionally, the chimney exterior may  need to be cleaned before the waterproofing material is applied.

IMG_6913The smoke chamber is crucial to the proper performance and safe burning of a fireplace. It is the portion of the fireplace located above the firebox and at the base of the chimney flue where smoke gathers (to create the draft) before it is exhausted up and out of the chimney. Often masons would leave this area corbeled and rough which would cause turbulent drafting. Combustible building materials are often too close and are at risk overheating. Parging can correct poor drafting and prevent dangerous gases and sparks from exiting through missing mortar joints in the smoke chamber.

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Your firebox is a critical component of your fireplace chimney, as it is the part of the chimney that holds and burns the wood and is exposed to the hottest temperatures. It contains the direct heat of the fire and guides the products of combustion towards the smoke chamber and the flue.

Typically, a properly constructed firebox will last 3 to 4 decades before the effects of frequent fires begin to deteriorate the structure. However, several factors can contribute to a faulty firebox and should be addressed immediately to prevent a chimney fire.

Water damage is the number one reason fireboxes need repair. Water leaking into the firebox leads to cracks in the brick and mortar. It can also cause spalling, vegetation growth and lime-leaching in the firebox. Lime-leaching is evident when you have white calcium patches on your brick. An untreated leak is likely to rot the wood in the walls and the ceiling surrounding your chimney and cause significant damage to the structure, as well as shortening the life of the firebox.

The age of your firebox will obviously affect the effectiveness of the structure as well. The older your fireplace, the more likely you are to have cracks in the mortar and the bricks as a result of freeze/thaw cycles and water damage. It is important to have repairs completed by a competent, licenced professional who will get the job done right. Chim Chimney employs a full-time Master Mason who can inspect your firebox and make any necessary repairs.

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Deteriorated mortar joints on the chimneys exterior are entry spots for water and will cause premature failure of your fireplace.  Proper mortar joints have no gaps or missing mortar and are shaped in a way that directs water out of the joint. When mortar deteriorates from exposure to weather, it becomes much more absorbent, weakening the mortar that bonds the masonry units together.

Tuckpointing is a common repair for deteriorated mortar joints. It basically describes the process of removing the old crumbling mortar and replacing it with fresh mortar.  Important to the appearance of your fireplace is matching the mortar color and texture as closely as possible.  Chim Chimney works with dozens of mortar types and will match your existing mortar as closely as possible.

Also important to the tuckpointing process is to remove enough mortar to make the repair effective.  Your mason should remove at least a 1-inch depth of mortar without affecting any solid areas.  Working on small areas at a time will achieve the best results and the cleanest finish.  When applying the new mortar, several layers should be completed to achieve a proper finish to the structure.

IMG_4434-1Brick spalling is one of the most noticeable types of damage. This is most commonly seen when the front of the brick has either broken or fallen from the masonry. Excessive water penetration and freeze- thaw cycles can cause brick spalling. Bricks are built to withstand water by finishing them with a hard non-porous outer shell. Spalled bricks break this shell and expose the porous interior of the brick, allowing water damage to destroy your masonry at an accelerated rate.

Flue after mortar joint resurfaceFlue Resurfacing offers an alternate to the traditional stainless steel relining process. The resurfacing process is designed to correct open mortar joints, misaligned flue liners, and fractures within flue liners. This system seals the flue throughout the entire flue area. The unique chemical and physical properties of the pure ceramic material and the method by which it is applied produce heat, acid, and water resistant surfaces that decrease dangerous heat transfer and virtually eliminate gas seepage through the flue liners. It can be installed in any size or shape flue liner.

flue reline with stainless steel liner 4Flue Relining with stainless steel lining system. Use of a fireplace or stove with a damaged liner can allow flammable creosote to build-up between the outside of the flue lining and the inside of the chimney casing or sparks to enter the combustible portions of your home, such as walls and attic spaces causing an unwanted home fire. Additionally these damaged liners can allow carbon monoxide to enter the home. Flue liners are designed to expel these harmful gases. Annual inspection of your chimney flue can prevent these types of disasters.

A damaged crown can allow water to penetrate the internal and external surface of a chimney. The chimney crown is the top element of a masonry chimney. It covers and seals the top of the chimney from the flue liner to the chimney edge. A chimney crown’s primary purpose is to protect the internal chimney structure and external masonry. Crowns are designed direct water away from the chimney, helping to prevent erosion and future damaged brick repairs in the chimney’s vertical surfaces.

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