What if I Have a Missing Crown on My Chimney?

chimney-repairChimneys need regular maintenance over time. Chimney repair is essential to keeping your home safe and beautiful. But what if you need to repair your chimney? Or what if you have a missing crown? Help your chimney last for decades with quality repair and maintenance.

Missing a Chimney Crown?

The chimney crown at the top of your chimney covers and seals the top of the chimney. Water is the number one reason that a chimney falls into disrepair. A chimney crown is tantamount to protecting your home from precipitation, critters, and debris. Hiring a chimney repair professional to replace a missing crown is necessary.

Figuring out if you are missing a chimney crown is simple. You don’t need to climb a ladder. All you need to do is look and see if you are missing the crown. If you are, then take the steps needed as soon as possible. Call a professional and set a date to restore your chimney. At the same time, you can take advantage of other services like sweeping the chimney, repairing broken bricks, and restoring any structural damage. You should inspect your chimney at least once a year, and it may be convenient to schedule this at the same time that you replace your chimney crown.

Defective Crown?

Maybe your home has a chimney crown but it is defective. It can be cracked, have structural damage, or just might be filled with mold, debris, and buildup. A quality chimney crown (sometimes called a chimney cap) needs to slope away from the flue. There should be room for thermal expansion of the liner. Corrosion can cause damage to the crown.

Contact a professional before leaks and water damage destroy your chimney and home. Experienced inspectors will check the chimney crown closely for any cracks or damage. They can replace a missing crown and ensure that you have the highest quality materials protecting your home. Call a professional today.

How Often Should My Chimney Be Inspected?

brick-chimney-repairFireplaces provide extra warmth on the cold days of winter and a sense of home and comfort to your family. Maintaining your chimney ensures that each homeowner can enjoy their fireplace safely. This can include a number of things, like a chimney inspection and basic brick chimney repair. Cleaning a chimney is integral to enjoying your fireplace for years to come. How often should your chimney be inspected?

Yearly Inspection

Simply cleaning out your chimney will not maintain the structure long-term. Chimneys should be inspected every year. The inspection will let you know if you need clean out old soot, conduct brick chimney repair, or need to replace the crown. Wood burning stoves and fireplaces should be checked halfway through the winter. This ensures that everything is working safely and properly.

Sweeping and Cleaning

Regular sweeping and cleaning of the chimney will help maintain it. Checking regularly for too much soot and debris like twigs, pine cones, and leaves is important. You want to check for too much build-up of creosote. What is creosote? It is the material that builds up due to chimney use. It is very flammable and can easily set fire to the home. In fact, neglecting to clean up creosote is one of the leading causes of home fires.

Weather Damage

Check your chimney regularly for signs of deterioration and damage like cracking, broken bricks, and structural damage. High winds can damage your chimney considerably. A rain cap will keep out critters and destructive precipitation.

Professional Cleaning

A professional inspector will take the time to sweep and clean your fireplace and chimney. He or she will also check the smoke chamber and flue, the exterior, the firebox, and the liners. A professional will check for any structural damage or need for repair. A newer option is a video inspection. Ask about the latest technology during your next inspection. Check your chimney on a yearly basis to maintain it for a long time.

What is Masonry?

what-is-masonry

What is masonry? And why should every homeowner understand this term? While the term “masonry” mainly refers simply to building structures in its simplest definition, there are actually several complex aspects to masonry construction.

Different Materials

Generally, what is masonry? Masonry can refer to anything from brickwork to concrete block. Each form of masonry has its own distinct features, benefits, and challenges. Knowing what is masonry will help you make the correct decision regarding your particular renovation job. For example, the unique look and style of brickwork as a throwback to the mid-20th century has risen in popularity as homeowners look for a unique art of building. On the other hand, concrete block, known as Concrete Masonry Units, often make up the structural integrity of many commercial and industrial buildings. CMUs can be painted, ribbed, sandblasted, or even striated to create a distinct decorative look.

Stonework

Intricate stonework on corners, doors, and window jambs often involve using dressed stone. This is known as ashlar masonry. Many times natural stone will be placed to give the illusion of a stone masonry façade over concrete blocks. Stonework may be irregular or uniform, depending on the homeowner’s specifications. The differences between natural materials versus those that are manufactured are usually not apparent.

Additional Protection and Insulation

Masonry walls offer several important forms of protection against the elements. Besides providing structural durability and strength for homes on coastal regions that are prone to hurricanes and other weather extremities, these walls can provide an added layer of protection during a fire. A “fireman’s cut” or “fire cut” is often set along a beam. This adds to structural integrity and prevents a wall from collapsing during a fire event.

Whether building an architectural structure or a home for your family, knowing the key aspects of masonry will help you make the right decision during renovation and construction.

 

Chimney Repair on a Budget: 3 Tips

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If you are a homeowner with a chimney, you enjoy the many benefits of having a chimney. From being aesthetically pleasing to providing energy efficient warmth during the cold winter months, a chimney makes every home cozy and comfortable. However, regular chimney repair and maintenance can add up over time. What are some ways to save money?

A Little Chimney Maintenance Goes a Long Way

Want to save thousands in chimney repair over the course of your lifetime? Then regularly maintain your chimney. What does this mean? If you see a leak, notice that there has been significant build-up in the chimney, or notice that the structural integrity of your chimney is suspect, don’t wait on fixing the problem.

Small leaks especially can allow precipitation and water in. This will damage your chimney significantly. Additionally, the water can run into your home and cause additional problems. Because the chimney is exposed to the outside elements, they often require repair. Additional moisture can cause deterioration.

The Chimney Crown

Because the chimney crown is exposed to inclement weather on a regular basis, it is important to check the crown on a regular basis. Seal any cracks that you find. Brick and mortar are susceptible to damage from water, leaks, and cracks. In the worst case scenarios, the entire chimney crown needs to be replaced.

Regular Cleaning

Save money by regularly cleaning the inside of your chimney. You can hire a professional chimney sweep surface or do the minor cleaning yourself. You do not want buildup because that can lead to structural damage or fire hazards. Contact a professional service get an estimate of your chimney repair costs. A professional service will include replacing damaged tiles and mortar. They can inspect your chimney for damage and will ensure that the vents and ducts are clear to prevent home fires.

Enjoy your chimney for decades to come with good maintenance, regular cleaning, and repair.

What is Tuckpointing and Repointing?

tuckpointing-and-repointing-tools

Though the terms tuckpointing and repointing are often used interchangeably, they are actually not the same. Each is a method of adding new mortar joints to a brick structure, but tuckpointing and repointing tools are different. Every homeowner with a chimney, wall, or any masonry will at one time need to fix mortar damage. But does their home need tuckpointing or repointing? Let’s find out.

The Basic Difference

Both repointing and tuckpointing involve repairing masonry by diffing out mortar joints and adding in new mortar. However, when a professional repoints masonry, they are removing damaged joints. Tuckpointing, though very similar, doesn’t always involve repairing damaged joints. Instead, it is a type of pointing using two different colors of mortar. This will change the appearance of the mortar joints. They use different tuckpointing and repointing tools to accomplish this. Which does a homeowner need?

Tuckpointing

The process of tuckpointing was invented in English centuries ago. It was meant to create an illusion that the mortar joints were very fine instead of thick. They accomplished this by sandwiching alternate color between the mortar joints, creating the appearance of the expensive rubbed brick building material. Although this is an ancient term, homeowners still will use it when referring to repointing.

Repointing

Filling in or repairing damaged or cracked joints are the technical definition of repointing. This prevents irreparable damage from leaks, cracks, and water. The structural integrity of a chimney or wall is maintained when the exposure is minimized through the repair. Avoid the eventual destruction of valuable masonry with repointing.

How Often Does Mortar Break Down?

Does a homeowner need to repoint masonry of their home on a regular basis? While a brick wall can last a century or more, the mortar joints typically need to be repaired every two or three decades to prevent long-term damage to the structure of the home. Cracks and leaks can lead to long-term damage and costly repairs. Therefore, it is very important to continue to repair and maintain the structure throughout its lifetime. The materials that are used for mortar repair are very specific, especially if you want to maintain a uniform look and avoid further damage. Contact a professional to assess the status of your home’s masonry.

These are very labor intensive processes. Tuckpointing and repointing are necessary to maintain the structural security. Speak with a licensed professional about how you can best maintain walls, chimney, and masonry, especially for an older building. Be sure to address any mortar joint issues immediately to lengthen the lifetime of your home.

 

What Does Chimney Repair Cost?

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Enjoy the beauty and comfort of a luxurious fireplace. However, be sure to maintain the fireplace to ensure a lifetime of use. Chimney repair cost may seem daunting to calculate, but there are actually several very basic pieces to consider when evaluating the overall price of professional chimney repair.

Chimney Sweeping

Reduce the risk of fire and maintain an elegant clean look by regular chimney sweeping. Costs can range into hundreds of dollars. The chimney repair cost overall will depend on the amount of creosote resin is coating the chimney wall. Creosote resin is released into the smoke. It accumulates quickly.

If you peek into your chimney with a flashlight and see more than a third of a centimeter or thicker, it is time to sweep your chimney. Routine cleaning will prevent the creosote from accumulating to high levels. While you should hire a professional to clean your chimney, some minor maintenance can be done by using chimney cleaning logs which help the tar fall away from your chimney walls. However, this is only a basic way to maintain the chimney. Most of the time, you will need a professional to remove the buildup.

Leaks

Mold and wood rot can be a problem if water leaks into the chimney. Water is acidic. Combining with the creosote rust can permanently destroy dampers. Water will also damage mortar and wood. Cost ranges from a few hundred to several hundred dollars. Contact a professional for an estimate.

Chimney Crown Repair

Chimney crown repair is an important part of good chimney maintenance. The crown prevents precipitation from traveling down the flue, protecting your home, the brick and mortar, and the overall structural integrity of your chimney. The crown may prevent critters from entering your home. The spark arrestor protects your home from stray embers and sparks. A cracked crown can allow water to enter the home, causing irreparable damage to the brick and mortar, wood, and your home. During inclement weather, smaller cracks in the chimney crown can expand, requiring a full chimney replacement.

Cracks and Chimney Replacement

A crack in your chimney can range from a couple of hundred dollars in repairs to a few thousand. If you find a crack in your chimney, it is best to repair it as soon as possible. A brick mortar repair is more affordable and may prevent nearly irreparable damage to your chimney. If you need to repair the entire chimney or replace it from the crown to the roofline, expect a price tag up of a few thousand dollars. In some cases, structural damage is too extreme for a partial repair and the entire chimney would have to be replaced. Expect to pay more than ten thousand dollars for a full chimney replacement.

Maintain your chimney regularly. Look for buildup, cracks, and leaks that may lead to larger costs. Call a professional to assess the status of your chimney to ensure safety and security for years to come.

 

To Parge or Not To Parge: Home Foundation Care

Many homeowners wonder about the benefits of parging concrete parging-concretefoundations of their home. There are several important reasons why parging should be considered by every homeowner. More than decorative, adding that extra coat to your walls and foundation provides extra protection for your home.

A Weather Barrier

For homeowners that live in areas with inclement weather like snow and large amounts of precipitation, that extra coat to your home’s foundation walls will help prevent unwanted cracks, damage, and holes caused over the years. While this may seem an additional expense that may not be required by the local building code, homes with exterior insulation really should have that extra protection. Parging concrete foundations will protect the insulation from sunlight and other factors that may cause wear and tear.

Parging protects the most vulnerable parts of your home’s exterior. Little cracks and holes in the foundation can easily grow into major problems when not addressed. This can be a large financial burden, not to mention a lead to unnecessary headaches. Sometimes you might not need to repair the entire foundation but simply patch up the affected area.

Aesthetics

The foundation of your home needs the utmost care. Left exposed to the elements, sunlight, and time, imperfections will result. For example, slow wearing away of exposed brick, holes, and cracks. You also might want to hide any imperfections and marks that may have taken place during construction. Parging provides an extra layer that will bring aesthetic beauty to your home. This adds to the home’s overall curb-appeal.

There are different types of parging that you might select to suit your home’s overall style and decor. Cement parging is pretty easy to work with and may be available in a variety of colors. If you want a durable finish, a little higher end, then try acrylic coating. This mix of cement and liquid acrylic is also available in a wide variety of colors. You can also add texture to further showcase your individual style. Be aware that you might not want to paint over your parging since the watertight finish may lead to deterioration underneath if not properly applied. Additionally, the color may be difficult to remove after application. Speak with your contractor about your concerns about upkeep and maintenance.

Hire a Professional

Protecting your home’s foundation from damage caused by water, ice, and snow is very important. Be sure to speak with highly qualified contractors about your concerns. With new home construction, include discussion about your needs for parging to protect your home. When you are purchasing an older home, there might be some obstacles to overcome. In some cases, you might need to replace the previous parging or have to contract for a total removal. Whatever you choose, be sure to speak with your contractor about what would work best to protect your foundation.

 

Cracked Concrete? Your Essential Guide to Parging Your Basement

The brick wall outside your building or home is cracked, with is-parging-necessaryexposed brick that has been slowly worn away by the elements. Parging will add an extra coat of protection to your wall, but you are not sure. Snow, rain, and ice have chipped away at the wall. Not only is it pretty ugly, but you know if you continue to ignore it that you will have to deal with a much bigger, more expensive problem.  Is parging necessary?

What is Parging?

Parging is an extra protective coat applied to your building or home foundation and walls. Sometimes made of cement or a mix that includes liquid acrylic, parging can provide an extra line of defense against the harsh elements. Over time snow, ice, rain, and water will tear away at exposed foundations and walls. Additional environmental factors like pollution and dirt, also take away from the aesthetic beauty of your home. Over time, minor cracks and holes can give way to major foundation and structural issues. These problems build up over time and can end up costing significant resources, time, and stress.

Is Parging Necessary?

When you are considering the cost of new construction or renovating an older building, consider the long-term benefits of parging. There are different options available for older buildings and new construction. Speak with your contractor about the key differences. You may find that you only have to do minor repairs to an existent foundation or wall. Prevent new buildings from damage caused by precipitation, snow, and environmental factors. Provide a new line of defense for years. Give your foundation the care that it needs.

Parging is not just about aesthetics. This extra coat is an affordable way to address existent problems like cracks and holes in the foundation. Prevent expensive construction later by speaking with your contractor about improving your home or building with parging. Avoid lasting permanent damage with an extra protective coat.

What’s Next?

Find a professional that has years of masonry experience and reliable service. Ask for references and review previous work completed. Ask about what options are available like using liquid acrylic mixes or choosing different colors and textures. Find out the most economical way that parging can improve the overall look and durability of your home or business. There are a variety of options, from simply repairing a small crack to parging an entire foundation, basement, or wall.

Don’t let a worn-down wall or foundation take away from your home’s beauty. Add extra value and protection to your business. Parging is an easy and affordable way to enhance the overall structural quality and aesthetics of your building.

Fireplace Brick Repair: Why Leaving Cracks is Not a Good Idea

The fireplace has been around for thousands of years and in all that time has remained largely unchanged. It’s a remarkable example of human ingenuity and like all the best ideas people have come up with its simple in both concept and execution. In fact it’s so simple that people tend to take it for granted, even to the point that when something happens to the fireplace or chimney they’ll put off repairs. But while the fireplace won’t ever rival the space shuttle in complexity the 2 actually have 1 important thing in common: even seemingly small problems can lead to catastrophic failures.

The Importance of Timely Brick Repair for Toronto Homes

Often times when homes settle cracks will appear in the brickwork of the fireplace. Sometimes these crack are tiny and almost imperceptible and sometimes they’re large. But in any case they can negatively affect the operation of your fireplace and present a very real threat to the health and safety of everyone in the house. How can that be? We’ll tell you.

  • Risk of fire – The fireplace/chimney combo looks sturdy as all get out and for the most part it is. But as we said homes can settle and unless they settle evenly (rare, but possible) you may wind up with cracks in your foundation, cracks in your walls and cracks in your fireplace and chimney. Why should you worry about such things? Because the fireplace gets incredibly hot and if cracks are present there’s the very real possibility that flames could penetrate to the surrounding combustible materials and then, well. Let’s just say that’s not good.
  • Carbon monoxide – If you have cracks in your fireplace brickwork it’s not only a fire hazard it presents a very real possibility of flooding the house with CO2. Carbon dioxide is a silent, invisible, odourless killer that is a byproduct of the fireplace combustion process. Cracks in the fireplace brickwork can allow this quiet killer to seep directly into the living area of your home. In essence it would be like leaving your car running in the living room. If you notice cracks in the brickwork around your fireplace call Cummins Restorations brick repair Toronto
  • Inefficient operation – Your fireplace works on the concept of there being an effective draft that pulls air in from the house to feed the fire. Cracks in the fireplace and/or chimney can undermine the effectiveness of that draft and cause your fires to sputter and burn inefficiently. Not only that but the less efficiently the fire burns the more smoke it typically produces. More smoke equals more CO2 and, as we already know by now, CO2 is potentially deadly.

Don’t take a chance with the health and safety of everyone in the house. If you know of or suspect cracks in your fireplace call Cummins Restorations for expert brick repair in Toronto. We’ve got the experience and expertise to diagnose your fireplace problems in a hurry and set things right.

5 Reasons Your Chimney Might Be Leaking

Chimney Repair TorontoWhen they think about their chimney most folks don’t think about the possibility of it leaking. But leaking is actually more common than you might imagine. Most of the time chimney leaks have pretty straightforward causes that can be repaired fairly easily by a qualified chimney expert. Although in some cases a leak that seems like it’s from the chimney might actually have another source. In this post we’re going to help you determine the cause of your chimney leak (if that’s what it is) and how we’d go about fixing it for you.

Affordable, Reliable Chimney Repair for Toronto Homeowners

Chimney leaks typically have one of 5 causes. They are

  1. Rain – Often times when a homeowner finds water in their fireplace it’s because rain is falling directly down the chimney. The simple way around this problem is to call for chimney repair in Toronto and have us install a chimney cap. The chimney cap will not only keep out the rain it will prevent raccoons and other pests from moving in and blocking up your chimney.
  2. A cracked chimney crown – While your chimney may be 24” x 18” (+/-) the actual opening at the top is much smaller. Cement is typically used to fill in the space at the top around the opening. That cement barrier is called the “crown”. Sometimes the crown develops cracks and allows rain and/or snow melt into the chimney. It’s important to repair a cracked crown ASAP.
  3. The flashing – The flashing is the protective skirt that covers the chimney opening in the roof. Most flashings are properly installed and thus most homeowners are never aware of them. However, if the flashing is poorly installed or you’ve recently had roof work done the flashing can develop leaks. In this case we’d need to get up on the roof and repair the flashing for you.
  4. Leaks in the brickwork – Water is opportunistic. If there are even the tiniest openings in the brickwork water can work its way in and wreak havoc. During the winter this water will freeze and thaw and wind up creating cracks in your brickwork just like it does in the roads. In this case you’ll need us to do a thorough examination of your chimney to find the cracks and repair them.
  5. Condensation inside the chimney – If you’ve had a gas fireplace installed and the chimney wasn’t properly lined to accommodate the moisture-heavy fumes it creates that moisture can collect inside the chimney. Eventually, the walls that come in contact with the wet chimney will suffer from water stains along with peeling paint or wallpaper. The solution here is for us to get in there and install an effective chimney lining for you.

As we said if one of these is not the source of your leak there’s a good chance it’s something like damaged roofing shingles or a blocked gutter that’s allowing water into the walls near the chimney. The best course of action if you suspect a leaky chimney is to call Cummings Restorations for first class chimney repair in Toronto.