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Watching for Masonry Damage

Over our several decades of working on chimneys in the Hudson Valley area, All Seasons Chimney knows how important it is to spot masonry damage in its early stages. We have done numerous repairs on extensive chimney damage. Consequently, many of these repairs could have been prevented. How? By taking quick action to fix the damaged bricks and mortar. This is why it is so crucial to be on the lookout for cracked, chipped, broken, or stained bricks and mortar joints on your chimney’s masonry! We would like to tell you more about the first signs of damaged masonry. In doing this, it will help you be more proactive with the maintenance of your chimney.

Watching for Masonry Damage Image - Poughkeepsie NY - All Seasons ChimneySPALLING

The main cause of masonry damage is water. In fact, water has been called the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Why? It has to do with masonry materials being naturally porous. This means the bricks and mortar joints easily absorb moisture from rain, ice, and snow. Not only does this cause erosion damage, but even greater deterioration occurs during the winter. Any water that is trapped inside the masonry materials will freeze and expand whenever the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The water then thaws when the weather warms back up. Unfortunately, its force can cause the bricks and mortar joints to crack and break apart.

Repeated freeze/thaw cycles can lead to serious masonry damage, including the possible collapse of the structure of the chimney. All Seasons Chimney recommends taking a look at the exterior of your chimney at the end of winter. Look to see if you have any cracked, loose, or missing bricks and/or mortar joints. If these are neglected, you can have an even bigger problem of water leaks during the spring and summer. This is due to the gaps and voids left behind by damaged masonry.


Another sign of chimney masonry is stains on the exterior chimney. If you notice white stains on the outside of your chimney, you are seeing efflorescence. Caused by mineral salts left behind during evaporation, these stains can alert to water penetration of your chimney. As you learned from the above paragraph about spalling, water can do extensive and expensive damage to chimney masonry. Other types of stains to look for, according to Inspectapedia, are black and brown stains (creosote inside your chimney) and rust stains (a sign of corrosion damage to your chimney cap or flashing).

Fortunately, All Seasons Chimney specializes in fixing leaky chimneys! Do you see any signs of water damage to your chimney’s exterior? If so, contact us to schedule an appointment for our professional chimney masonry repair services!