5 Different Types of Chimneys

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Your chimney keeps your family warm and comfortable throughout the winter months. The house chimney also adds aesthetic beauty and home value to your home. Install a quality chimney with durable materials to keep your family safe. There are several key types of chimneys, each serving a different function. Your chimney pulls unwanted gases and smoke from your home and ensures proper airflow in your home.

Masonry Chimney

A masonry chimney usually includes masonry fireplaces. The contractors build them using cement, mortar, blocks, stone, and bricks. The standard house chimney allows the smoke to go through the channel and out of the home. The bricks absorb heat, keeping the home warm. Masonry chimneys last for decades with regular maintenance and care.

Metal Construction

Metal chimneys do not have the same elegant looks as traditional masonry chimneys. They can be triple walled or double walled. They sometimes cost more than traditional chimneys. The extra insulation helps dissipate the heat.

Prefabricated Chimneys and Fireplaces

In contemporary modern construction, prefabricated chimneys are a new trend. Complete with elegant fireplaces and custom design, factory-built chimneys have more style options. Prefabricated chimneys and fireplaces often come as a set. If you have a fireplace that does not match the factory-made chimney, you may need another option. These types of chimneys and fireplaces do not last as long as traditional chimneys. They require more repair and replacement over time. There are a few different types of manufactured chimneys:

  • Double Walled Chimneys
  • Air-Insulated Chimneys
  • Combination Chimneys
  • Air-Cooled Chimneys

Fireplace Insert Chimney Styles

The insert chimney has a special insert. They are often fit to open masonry fireplaces. They can be used with wood stoves. They can be installed with a masonry fireplace, then connected to the flue.

Freestanding Stove Chimneys and Wood Stove Chimneys

Another popular option involves installing a freestanding stove chimney. They can be built with masonry or pre-fabricated. Wood burning stove chimneys have a rich old tradition spanning over a century.

Speak with the experienced professionals at Cummins Restoration about the ideal chimney type for your home. We are the premier chimney repair and installer in the region. We offer a wide variety of services from chimney replacement and repair to tuckpointing. Set up an in-home consultation with our friendly staff. Contact us today. We will be happy to help you.

How Your Chimney Works

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Every homeowner should understand the scientific basics of how your chimney works. Reduce chimney repair cost by maintaining your chimney over time. Learn how to diagnose problems with your chimney that may require professional repair. Save money with a more efficient chimney.

Your House Works Together as a Complete System

Your home has constant airflow. Wind loading, stack effect, furnaces, and fireplaces all contribute to changes in the home’s overall airflow. Modern homes from the last two decades have much tighter airflow. Older homes often suffer from drafts and inefficiency overall. Your chimney repair cost will be affected by numerous factors including the age of your home, the structural integrity of your chimney, and the overall airflow in your home.

The stack effect refers to warm air rising to the upper levels of your home. The air attempts to escape your home from the upper levels. Meanwhile, new air pushes its way inside your home on the lower levels. The Natural Pressure Plane (NPP) is the point where the indoor-to-outdoor air pressure is essentially zero. Each home has at least one NPP, and possibly more. Factors like a home with two chimneys can result in smoke in the home because of changes in the air flow.

Wind-loading occurs when wind causes additional air pressure by striking the home. Open windows and doors will help pressurize the house. Backdrafting may result if windows are open on the leeward (downwind) side of the home. Other devices like kitchen fans, bathroom fans, and central vacuums will affect depressurization, as well. Furnaces, fireplaces, woodstoves, and water heaters require large volumes of air. Innovative mechanical devices will help manage air flow.

Your chimney is considered a negative pressure system. In other words, your chimney pulls air through a firebox, creating a draft. Poor chimney flow can result in your home being full of smoke, structural damage, or dangerous creosote build-up. There are a number of reasons why your chimney does not function properly:

  • Creosote deposits
  • Plugged and closed dampers
  • Structural damage
  • Improper construction
  • Dirty or damaged chimney cap

Think of a dirty chimney cap like a water hose plugged at the end. The water builds up. In the same way, a damaged chimney will prevent airflow through the chimney and out of your home. A professional inspection will help determine if your chimney is functioning correctly.

Regular maintenance and cleaning help maintain your chimney and fireplace. Call the experts at Cummins Restoration about your chimney repair needs today. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer all of your questions. Please set up your consultation now.

Chimney Sweep and Cleaning 101

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Why should you get your chimney cleaned? Chimney cleaning removes dangerous built-up creosote, blockages, and soot from your chimney. Eliminate any hazards with a professional cleaning. Creosote can cause volatile house fires when left alone. If you have poor burning practices, use the chimney often, or have a stove not working well, creosote can increase. Creosote builds up over time and reduces the efficacy of the chimney overall

What Should I Do?

Before you clean your chimney be sure to regularly maintain your chimney and have an inspection at least once a year. A professional inspection should be twice a year if you use the chimney more often. Ideally have the chimney inspected before the winter.

What is Done During a Chimney Sweep?

The chimney sweep cleans the entire chimney. This includes the flue pipes, fireplaces, and smoke ducts. They remove creosote, debris, and any critters that may have nested in your chimney.

How Do I Know I Need to Hire a Chimney Sweep?

You will have a few indicates that your chimney needs sweeping. First, be sure to have inspection if you have not had one yet this year. You will see that you have poorly burning fires and less efficiency. You might smell strong odors or notice greasy black soot buildup. The smoke may enter the home instead of going up the chimney. In the case of invading birds and animals, you may hear animals sounds in the walls.

How Long Does It Take to Sweep a Chimney?

A professional chimney sweep can clean a chimney in less than an hour. They will look over the chimney and maybe check out your water heater or furnace. The chimney sweep will be happy to answer any questions you have about chimney safety overall. In most cases, you need a professional to clean your chimney. If you do not remember the last time the chimney was cleaned, you need to have a professional clean it out.

Call Cummins Restoration today. We provide the best chimney inspection services in the region. Our trusted staff will be happy to answer your questions. Schedule your appointment today.

5 Common Reasons Your Chimney Leaks

Additional moisture in your chimney can cause irreversible damage. Roof leaks at the base of a chimney can cause structural problems for years to come. There are many reasons for chimney leaks. You may need chimney repair for flashing that is worn, tuckpointing, or chimney replacement. What are some of the most common causes for chimney leaking?

Old Flashing

The flashing provides a waterproof seal between the chimney and the roof. However, this area can be susceptible to moisture and deterioration over time. The materials have less durability. Chimney repair for flashing that has damage will prevent significant structural damage over time.

No Chimney Cap

Your chimney needs a functional chimney cap. This prevents unnecessary moisture from entering the chimney. The chimney cap protects against rain, snow, and even little critters that want to make a home in your chimney.

Mortar Problems

Chimney mortar lasts about twenty years. The bricks last for a century. This means that mortar will deteriorate well before the bricks. Freezing and thawing during the winter can cause serious problems. Deteriorating mortar can cause a chimney to lean or fail entirely.

Crown Issues

A cracked crown lets in water between the flue lining and the chimney. This will cause issues to walls and ceilings of your home. An annual chimney inspection will help you find these common issues before they cause expensive damage to your home.

Regular Maintenance

Your home needs a chimney inspection at least twice a year. Usually schedule the inspection before the winter months, when the chimney will be in use the most. Cummins Restoration can provide a detailed assessment to determine what repairs your chimney needs. Don’t wait until the chimney is beyond repair. The longer you wait the costlier the repairs may be.

Trust Cummins Restoration to repair your chimney. Our family business provides the best masonry and chimney repair in the region. Call us today.

Cracking the Dirty Chimney Code

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When your chimney starts to deteriorate, it can lead to a dangerous situation in your home. From chimney crown repair to entire chimney replacement, follow this safety checklist to protect your family. An old chimney can cause fire hazards, damage from the elements, and structural damage. Let us help you crack the dirty chimney code now.

Inspection First

Before you start to maintain and clean your chimney yourself, take the time and effort to schedule a professional inspection. The inspection will reveal if you need professional cleaning, necessary chimney crown repair, replacement, or simple maintenance.

Why You Need to Clean Your Chimney

Over time the growing creosote from chimney use becomes a fire hazard. Once the fire starts, damage to your home and possible injury are inevitable. The flue runs is a duct running the length of the chimney. Built-up of soot, critters, nests, and precipitation can all affect it. If you choose not to clean your chimney at least yearly, you may end up with ignition and chimney fire.

Signs You Need Cleaning

What are common signs that you need to clean your chimney? Call a chimney repair specialist if you see:

  • Creosote built up more than a quarter of an inch thick
  • Puffy honey-combed creosote formation
  • Creosote that looks like black cornflakes
  • Fireplace is not drawing
  • Damper is semi-open most of the time
  • Smoke accumulates in the home
  • Often use artificial logs
  • Soot and creosote in the fireplace

The Solution

Often regular maintenance and inspection drastically reduce fire hazards from a dirty chimney. However, chimney sweeping is a daunting process. Call a professional to determine if you need a chimney sweep service to take care of your chimney.

Call our incredible team at Cummins Restoration. Trust us to inspect, clean, and repair your chimney. We have years of experience. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer your questions. Contact us today.

Top 20 Things to Immediately Do to Your Chimney this Winter

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Don’t wait on protecting your family. This winter takes the time to check your home, from the basement to chimney, from windows to concrete block masonry workmanship. Follow this essential chimney safety checklist.

The Ultimate Chimney Safety Checklist

Take the time to protect your family by going through this safety checklist, especially for old chimneys. If you find that your chimney needs chimney crown repair, a cleaning, inspection, or replacement, please call the professionals at Cummins Restoration right away. Our talented team does a wide variety of chimney repair and concrete block masonry workmanship. Your family deserves to be safe.

  1. Have your chimney inspected at least once or twice a year
  2. Inspect your chimney and have it serviced before the winter or extended use
  3. Check for any settling or cracks at the foundation
  4. Check for masonry wear or evidence that the chimney has moved away from the house
  5. Look at the base of the chimney to see that the firebox rests on the thick reinforced masonry
  6. Check for any excessive leaning
  7. Check to see if your chimney is three inches higher than the roof surface. A short chimney may spew sparks and cause a fire hazard
  8. Inspect exterior chimneys for weathering
  9. Check to see if the chimney is lined properly
  10. See if there are any obstructions and if the chimney is clear of debris
  11. Check the flue for pipes, TV cables, electrical wires, and other service cables that may have been run along the chimney
  12. Check for masonry holes and cheaply done repairs
  13. Does your chimney have a cleanout door? These help with maintenance. Older chimneys may not have these
  14. Clear out the chimney door
  15. Check the flue for the damper and check its operation
  16. You need a minimum of two inches between the fireplace opening and the trim, mantel, and flammable materials
  17. Check for two inch clearance between the wall and ceiling framing and the flue masonry
  18. Check the chimney cap for damage and cracks
  19. Use a knife to see if the mortar has deteriorated
  20. Check the interior mortar joints

A Professional Inspection

Do you need help inspecting your chimney? Call our incredible team at Cummins Restoration. We pride ourselves on superior workmanship. With decades of experience, we will provide you with the chimney repair you deserve. Contact us today.

Common Chimney Complaints

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Your chimney requires regular maintenance and inspection to prevent fire damage and structural problems for your home. Some common issues that require chimney repair and masonry include brickwork problems, chimney obstruction, creosote, and replacing a cracked crown. Let’s talk about some of the most common chimney complaints you may encounter.

The Chimney Crown

Your chimney top has a chimney crown or a chimney cap. This protects your home from precipitation, birds, small animals, and any leaves. If you do not upkeep your chimney, over time structural damage may result. This requires extensive chimney repair and masonry, especially if the entire chimney must be replaced. Because of this, be sure that your chimney crown is intact.

Creosote

Smoke goes up the chimney. The smoke deposits flammable creosote in the flue lining. A dirty chimney results in possible fire damage. Have your chimney inspected annually for hazardous creosote buildup. You need to have your chimney checked regularly for creosote. Sometimes a simple chimney cleaning can address the issues. Contact us about our cleaning services.

Brickwork Issues

Sometimes your chimney has cracked and broken bricks due to aging or moisture. Tuckpointing removes damaged mortar. The new mortar gives additional stability and protection to the chimney. Your main concern will always prevent moisture from damaging your chimney.

Cracks in the Flue

If the moisture and creosote combine, the lining can deteriorate. Always make sure that any wood-burning system is safe. An annual inspection before the winter months will ensure that your home is safe. The professional will make recommendations regarding cracks in the flue, creosote buildup, and structural damage. You want to address the flue. The chimney lining has undue stress and can have much damage over time.

Cummins Restoration provides professional detail and care for your home. Contact us today about scheduling an inspection of your chimney. We provide extensive tuckpointing, masonry, and chimney replacement services. Keep your family safe this winter. Contact us today.  

4 Reasons Why Chimneys Leak

chimney-repair-cost

A chimney leak causes immeasurable damage to your home. Between the chimney repair cost and possible damage to your home, identifying the causes of your chimney leak can save you thousands of dollars. What are some of the top causes of chimney leaks?

Precipitation

This might seem simple, but rain will cause considerable headaches if not kept in check. You need a cover to reduce chimney repair costs from a damaged chimney. A cover makes sense. The cover will keep out critters, debris, and water. An uncovered flue can cause water problems. Additionally, you want to make sure the chimney doesn’t have a block that can cause dangerous CO poisoning. Regular inspections will identify any chimney issues.

Cracked Crown

A cracked chimney crown allows snow and rain to come into the chimney. They can crack from shifts in the chimney, structural damage, and shrinkage over time. Precipitation can result in structural damage and mold. You want to protect your home. You may need a new crown for your chimney.

Leaking Bricks

Just like a cracked chimney allows in precipitation, leaking bricks do the same. In very cold climates, the constant freezing and thawing cause considerable damage. This causes leaks in your home. Waterproofing material may help, but using the wrong waterproofing materials may lead to more damage.

Other Leaks

Sometimes your chimney leak actually originates somewhere else. Maybe you have a roof leak in your attic or one of your roof tiles has flown off. Water sometimes makes it way to your chimney through small cracks or the trusses. How can you know where the leak originates? This is precisely why you need a professional to inspect your chimney and identify any potential problems.

Contact our trusted experienced staff today. We can help you with chimney inspection, repair, and full chimney replacement. Call us now.

How Often Should Tuckpointing Be Done?

While quality brickwork can last for a very, very long time, many homeowners make the mistake of improperly maintaining their brickwork. In harsh cold climates, there can be significant damage to chimneys, brickwork, retaining walls and more. Tuckpointing cinder block foundation, restoring old brick, and even replacing an entire chimney may be needed to prevent long term damage.

How Brickwork is Damaged

A number of factors can seriously damage your brickwork. You may need a professional contractor to restore your walls, foundation, and chimney. They may opt for replacing a chimney crown, tuckpointing a cinder block foundation, replacing old mortar, sealing, restoring seriously compromised brick, and fixing the structural integrity of your home.

Some of the most common reasons that bricks are damaged over time include:

  1. Heavy winds
  2. Snow and precipitation
  3. Natural wear and tear
  4. Pressure cleaning
  5. Cheap materials used in construction
  6. Age
  7. Quality of materials
  8. Ice
  9. Harsh cold climates
  10. Leaks and moisture

How Often Should You Tuckpoint?

Replace the mortar every twenty-five years. This is especially true if you live in a wet climate or an area that has severe weather conditions. Dry arid regions need less tuckpointing. Hire a professional contractor that only uses the highest quality materials and mortar. Avoid doing major tuckpointing yourself. Shoddy craftsmanship can lead to more damage. A professional licensed contractor can provide you with quality brickwork meant to last decades.

If you suspect that your mortar and brickwork is deteriorating or damaged, be sure to contact a professional contractor. Here at Cummins Restoration we provide the best quality work in the Greater Toronto Region. Our licensed and insured contractors will ensure that you receive the special attention that you deserve. Call us today for an inspection and estimate for your home. We are happy to help you. Contact us.

What is a Spalled Brick?

Have you noticed falling or missing bricks from your chimney? This can be an issue called spalling. Spalling happens often to masonry chimneys, retaining walls, and more. Small cracks lead to bigger cracks, leading to significant deterioration that requires professional masonry work.

What Causes Spalling

Moisture penetrates the brickwork. Depending on your climate and the weather conditions, the exterior condition of your brick can deteriorate considerably over time. The masonry work suffers more in harsher climates. Colder climates cause spalling due to the rapid freeze and expansion during the winter months. Leaks can cause serious spalling. Pressure washers and careless sandblasting further damage your brickwork.

In some cases, the spalling has been caused by reusing older bricks during construction. Older bricks are more porous. These leaves them much more susceptible to moisture and damage. Be sure to use a quality licensed professional when addressing your chimney needs.

Fixing the Problem

If you have allowed your chimney to deteriorate for a long period of time, you may need professional contractors to inspect and repair your chimney. This can include costly work like an entire chimney replacement. Catch the problem before it reaches a crucial tipping point and you can save considerably. Your contractor may have to replace the crown or simply replace and seal the bricks. A chimney cap can add extra protection against future damage.

Preventative Measures

If your chimney is not damaged, take a few preventative steps to avoid damage. Yearly inspections can result in early detection for chimney issues. Monitor trouble spots. Apply masonry sealant to prevent additional issues. Install a quality chimney cap. Contact a professional if you find that bricks are falling or that there has been leaking and moisture in the brickwork.

Cummins Restoration has a long history of quality masonry in the Greater Toronto Areas since 1992. Our family owned business is fully licensed and insured. Let our friendly staff help you inspect and repair your chimney. Contact us today.