Spotting Common Chimney Masonry Damage

Masonry chimneys are known for being strong, durable and built to last a lifetime but even the sturdiest structures suffer from damage and deterioration from time to time – especially in the colder winter months!

If you have recently noticed cracks or missing bricks throughout your chimney, then it’s time to call on our team to fix things up before temperatures really start dropping. In fact, spotting and addressing damage early is the most effective way to prolong the life of your chimney system!

Our team has done numerous repairs throughout the area, many of which could have been prevented if regular maintenance and quicker action was completed. It is crucial that you’re on the lookout for cracked, chipped, broken, or stained bricks and mortar joints on your chimney’s masonry. And if your chimney needs care, don’t hesitate to reach out soon.

Spalling & Your Chimney

One of the main things the CSIA warns against is water damage. Masonry materials (think your bricks and mortar) are naturally porous, so they absorb water from rain, ice, sleet, and snow quite easily. And the more moisture they take in, the more you’ll notice erosion, cracks, holes, spalling, discoloration, and more.

Spotting Common Chimney Masonry Damage - Poughkeepsie NY - All Seasons Chimney

The exterior of your chimney is always exposed to the harsh elements of weather, and no matter how well built your chimney may be, it can still be affected by water penetration. Winter weather can be exceptionally rough on masonry materials. (Think about the number of potholes that appear on the roads after a winter snowstorm!)

When water becomes stuck inside your bricks and mortar joints, that’s when the real trouble occurs. When winter comes, this trapped water freezes and expands every time the temperature drops below 32 degrees. When the water freezes, it puts a lot of stress and pressure on your structure.

When the weather warms back up, the force of the water thawing causes the masonry materials to crack and break apart, or spall. And after repeated freeze/thaw cycles, the bricks can become loose and even fall from the chimney’s structure!

Any holes and gaps left behind from this deterioration will let water from the heavy spring and summer rains easily leak into your chimney and home to cause even more damage and destruction – not good, and definitely something you want to avoid.

Unsightly Stains

Another sign of chimney masonry damage is stains on the exterior chimney. If you notice white stains on the outside of your chimney, you are seeing efflorescence. This is the result of mineral salts that were left behind during evaporation, and it’s a clear sign of water-related issues.

Staining in other colors is something to be aware of, as well. Green stains indicate plant/algae growth, black and brown stains point to excess creosote, and rust stains show that your metal components are suffering. Basically any type of discoloration is an issue and needs to be addressed as soon as possible!

How Can All Seasons Chimney Help?

Our CSIA-certified and trained chimney technicians have extensive experience with professional chimney masonry construction and repair techniques. One way we can take care of spalling damage is by using classic techniques like tuckpointing.

What is tuckpointing? It involves the use of specialized tools to remove damaged masonry materials. Once this is done, new materials are put in to ensure your structure stands strong for the long haul. We take great pride in matching new mortar to the existing masonry to make the repairs look unnoticeable. The color and composition will be spot on, ensuring both the aesthetic and the structural soundness of your system stays intact.

And once repairs are completed, we highly recommend investing in our professional waterproofing services. We use top-of-the-line products to create a barrier for your chimney, so that water doesn’t stand a chance of entering. Along with this, the formula we use is vapor permeable, so it won’t trap vapors inside the masonry (which could create more cracking and other deterioration).

We can also double check that your chimney is protected with a good quality chimney cap and a customized flashing system. All in all, you can trust us to be sure your chimney is ready to stand up to cold weather so that your fireplace will work efficiently and safely all winter long.

Don’t Wait Any Longer

The seasons are changing fast, and before we know it snow and ice will be a normal part of our day-to-day routine. Be sure to get our team in now before it’s too late! The sooner we can address any areas of concern, the healthier your system will stay in the long run, ensuring you aren’t forced to face any costly repair/reconstruction work down the line.

For the past 25 years, All Seasons Chimney has been addressing damaged chimney masonry throughout the Hudson Valley area. If masonry damage is left unrepaired, there is a high risk of serious structural damage, so be sure to call on our team for the care you deserve this upcoming holiday season!