Thanks to its durability, fire-resistance, and longevity, masonry has become a staple in the construction industry. It’s a popular material to incorporate in many establishments, from commercial buildings to residential properties, and it’s commonly used in chimney builds. However, just because it’s known for being strong and sturdy doesn’t mean that it’s not susceptible to damage.
So, what are the common causes of masonry chimney damage, and what are the best ways repair or restore it to its former glory? We’ve got the answers you’re looking for.
Common Causes of Masonry Damage
There are many reasons why your masonry might not be in the best condition. It could be due to the poor weather conditions, low quality craftsmanship, or even just natural wear and tear over time. We’ve got the lowdown on it all.
- Moisture Penetration: Most concrete-based materials – like bricks and stones – are very porous, which means they naturally absorb moisture. As moisture penetrates your masonry chimney structure, it will weaken the overall composition, making it become brittle and unsturdy.
- Freeze/Thaw Process: In the wintertime, the water inside your bricks will freeze triggering the freeze/thaw cycle. Essentially, the water will expand as it freezes, causing your masonry to crack and crumble in the process. As the water freezes and thaws multiple times, you could end up with significant cracking.
- Fire-Related Accidents: Chimney fires are another culprit for structural damages. The high temperatures (usually around 2000℉) can crack tiles, melt mortar, make liners crack, and even damage the outer layer of your masonry. And if the fire is not contained, it can escape to other parts of the home too.
- Faulty Repairs: Human error could be the cause of your masonry damage. A masonry structure may look perfect on the outside, but be full of flaws and issues on the inside. Often, this happens when you hire contractors without in-depth knowledge on masonry or who follow less-than-sound building practices.
- Lack of Proper Maintenance: Just because bricks and concrete are durable materials does not mean that they don’t require regular maintenance. Masonry is prone to wear and tear, just like a most other materials around our household. Because of this, they need to be routinely inspected and maintained by a professional.
Whatever the case is for your system, our experts can troubleshoot your specific issues and find the solutions that would be suited for your needs.
Best Solutions for Masonry Repairs
If signs of damage appear on your chimney, it’s imperative that you schedule masonry repairs immediately, before the problem worsens. Chimney repair experts, like us, can assess the condition of your structure and perform the necessary services to improve it.
If you experience chimney damage caused by moisture and weather conditions, a great solution is to waterproof your masonry. To do this, we’ll apply a specially-formulated water repellent or water sealant that’s designed for masonry chimneys. Our products will prevent moisture from penetrating the bricks while still allowing the chimney to breathe.
Tuckpointing is the process of fixing the mortar joints in your masonry by removing any of the old, damaged mortar and filling it with new mortar. By removing the damaged portions and replacing them with newer ones, we can strengthen the structural integrity of the masonry, while making it look clean and polished again in the process. This will also help prevent further issues from arising down the line.
While the process may seem straightforward, this approach is labor intensive and requires serious industry know-how. As such, we recommend that you don’t attempt this yourself. Instead, call on our professional to tackle the job.
✓ Chimney Crown Repair
Your chimney crown is located at the top of the flue and is designed to protect the top and sides of the masonry chimney from water. Sometimes they are constructed of mortar, which deteriorates over time when exposed to the elements. This leaves behind cracks, holes, and missing pieces of mortar. A well-built crown should be made of a Portland cement mixture and have a downward slope that directs water away from the masonry sides.
✓ Repairing Chimney Liners
Chimney liners work as the supporting structure or framing that limits heat transfer and minimizes fire hazards. A properly lined chimney can go a long way to protect your masonry, as well as your home.
The way we perform your relining job will vary depending on the level of damage your system is currently suffering. Our qualified technicians will start by inspecting the liner, then provide with the best solution for your needs and budget. We offer options with Heatshield®, as well as stainless steel flue liners.
Protect Your Chimneys — Call Us Today!
Whatever masonry repairs you may need, The Chimney Guys are the team to trust throughout Charlottesville and the surrounding areas. We’re experienced in all aspects of masonry and chimney repair, and we take pride in staying educated and up-to-date on it all, so you can rest assured that you’ll be getting the best service possible.
Give us a call at 434-443-5327 or fill out our online form to get started.