The Best Time for Chimney Repair?

Chimney RepairIf your chimney is in need of repair it is better to have the work done as soon as possible, to avoid the possibility of any further deterioration. However, right now is not always the most convenient time to have such repairs carried out and certain times of the year may be more practical than others when it comes to major masonry renovation work. With this in mind, you will probably want to schedule the work to start at the next most favourable opportunity and if you are not sure when this might be, we have outlined some of the most important factors to consider below, to help you make your decision.

Scheduling Your Chimney Repair

All of the following factors should be taken into consideration when you are deciding on the best time to have your chimney repaired:

  • The Current Condition of Your Chimney – It should go without saying but if your chimney is currently in such a bad state of repair that it poses a danger to your family or others in the vicinity, you should have it repaired immediately. The factors listed below may mean that now is not the best time to do so but when there is the possibility of injury or worse, you should never delay your chimney repair.
  • The Weather – Snow, rain and heavy winds are not the ideal conditions in which to work on the roof of a house so if at all possible, you should schedule the necessary repairs for sometime in the summer. If this is not possible, watch the weather forecasts carefully and coordinate with your repair team so that you are able to avoid the worst conditions if at all possible.
  • Your Work and Home Life – If you are going through a very busy period at work and could do without the additional stress of masonry repairs when you get home, it might be a good idea to postpone the work until things have quietened down a little. Similarly, if you have a lot to contend with at home right now, you may wish to put off your chimney repair for a few weeks. Assuming that your chimney does not pose a danger to you or your neighbours and the weather is likely to be fine for some time to come, there should be no harm in waiting for a while.
  • Availability of Local Contractors – Last but not least, you need to consider the availability of the people you would like to perform the necessary work on your chimney. There is little point in scheduling the work for a time when the weather is fine and you have no other distractions unless you can guarantee the availability of skilled masonry specialists at the same time.

To make sure that your chimney repair is carried out by a team of highly-skilled professionals who know exactly what they are doing, call Cummins Restorations today to arrange your free initial consultation.

Factors that Can Affect the Cost of Chimney Repair

chimney repair torontoFirst of all, we recommend that you contact 2 or 3 reputable contractors for quotations, even if you are sure that you would like to use our services! We know that we are highly competitive as well as highly skilled but we want you to be sure you are making the right choice when you hire us to repair your chimney. To give you an idea of the type of estimates you are likely to receive, we have put together a list of the factors that are most likely to influence the overall cost, which you can find in the section below.

How Much Will Your Chimney Repair in Toronto Cost?

Whilst not an exhaustive list, most of the more obvious factors are contained in the following list. By reading through it and looking at your own chimney, you should be able to ascertain whether it is going to be a relatively inexpensive job or one that might require a substantial outlay.

  • Size – The most obvious factor to consider, especially when a fairly comprehensive rebuild is in order, is the height of your chimney. The width is probably standard but height can vary significantly from one building to the next. Generally speaking, the taller your chimney, the more it is going to cost to rebuild or repair. Relatively minor repair jobs, such as repointing the mortar joints, can also be estimated fairly accurately by considering the height of the chimney first and foremost.
  • Condition – The worse the current condition of your chimney, the more it is going to cost to repair. No matter who you hire to carry out your chimney repair in Toronto, the amount that they charge for labour and repairs will reflect the state of your chimney as it stands right now. While this may give you pause for thought, especially if your chimney is in a particularly poor state of repair, you should bear in mind that it is only going to get worse so the sooner you have it fixed, the cheaper it will be.
  • Location – If your property is of a fairly standard size and design, this factor may not play much of a part in the final price. On the other hand, if you live in a house that is particularly tall and features a chimney in a hard-to-reach location, you can expect to pay more for your chimney repair in Toronto than would otherwise be the case. A higher roof, for example, will require more scaffolding and will therefore increase the cost of both materials and labour.
  • Additional Parts – If the condition of your chimney is such that it requires the replacement of certain major parts, such as the crown, this will inevitably lead to higher costs than if all that needs doing is a simple repointing of the mortar joints between the masonry.

Call Cummins Restorations right now to request a comprehensive quotation for chimney repair in Toronto. We look forward to assisting you in the very near future.

4 Masonry Projects to Invest in in 2017

masonry Toronto If you want to protect your investment and ensure that your home remains in excellent condition, you may wish to consider spending a little money on one of the masonry projects that we discuss in this article. If you are not sure which one would be most suitable for your property or whether any of them are really necessary at this point in time, please feel free to call and ask for our advice at any time. We will be more than happy to arrange a no-obligation inspection of your home so that we can give you our professional, unbiased opinion.

Repairing Masonry in Toronto: Call Your Local Experts

We can deal with any of the following repair & renovation tasks and if you are not sure whether they are necessary, we can, as mentioned above, inspect your property and let you know what we think. As a reputable local firm with plenty of loyal clients we never recommend having masonry work done unless it is absolutely necessary so you have nothing to worry about on that score.

  1. Brick Cleaning – Dirty, stained bricks can make the exterior of your home look shabby and uncared for but there is no need to worry because with our brick cleaning service, you can restore your home to its former glory in no time at all. Before we start as new brick cleaning project, we always inspect the walls in question to make sure that the mortar is in a good state of repair. If this is not the case, our masonry Toronto repair team can repoint the joints before cleaning the bricks.
  2. Parging – The covering of interior and exterior masonry bricks to protect them from the elements is something that we recommend doing on properties that have a few layers of exposed above-grade bricks below wooden or aluminum cladding. We use a special mortar mix for parging that guarantees first-class results.
  3. Tuckpointing – Most mortar joints in brick walls only last for around 20 years or so before they need attention. We can remove the outer part of your crumbling mortar and replace it with a fresh layer that will not only make your home look instantly more attractive, it will also help to protect your walls from moisture damage in all seasons.
  4. Chimney Repair – If your chimney has seen better days, our team can almost certainly repair it at very competitive rates. We have worked on a wide variety of projects involving the repair of masonry in Toronto but chimneys have to be at or near the top of the list as far as the frequency of client requests is concerned. Common problems with chimneys include damaged mortar, damage to the crown and cracked flue tiles.

Whether you have a specific project in mind concerning your masonry in Toronto or you would simply like us to give your house the once over, to make sure it is in good condition, please do not hesitate to call during business hours.

Brick Repair and Common Causes of Cracking

brick repair torontoBricks have been a popular building material for well over 2,000 years and the things that attract people to them today are the same things that made them popular with the Etruscans and the Romans after them. They’re durable, easy to use, they provide a rock-solid defence against Mother Nature and they look good. But while bricks have a host of things going for them they’re not indestructible and it’s not at all uncommon to be mowing the lawn and spot cracks running through your home’s exterior walls or chimney. In this post we’ll take a look at some of the most common reasons for cracks that will have you calling for brick repair in Toronto.

4 Causes of Cracked Bricks

Given enough time brickwork will deteriorate. But cracks are not always the result of the passage of time. Sometimes they result from other causes that bring undue pressure to bear on the bricks. Here are some of those causes.

  • Settlement of the house: All houses settle to some degree. If the settlement is severe enough what are known as “stair step cracks” can form in the brickwork. This type of crack forms a zigzag pattern that works its way up through the brickwork on the outside of the house. If left unattended this type of crack can lead to water intrusion which can freeze and expand, aggravating the original crack structure and causing an even more serious problem.
  • Thermal expansion: Just as concrete roads and driveways are susceptible to cracking due to the freeze/thaw cycle so your brickwork can be compromised by expansion and contraction. Brickwork expands when heated by the sun and contracts when the sun goes down. If expansion joints were not built into the brickwork this continual expansion and contraction will take a toll on the structural integrity of the brickwork and cracks will begin to appear.
  • Support-related cracks: Above doors and windows bricks are often supported by steel bars that allow the brickwork to bridge the top of the opening without collapsing. Problem is this steel undergoes temperature related expansion and contraction that is different than that of the brick it’s supporting. The difference between the expansion/contraction rates of the different materials creates stress that can cause the weaker material (the brick) to crack.
  • Cracks due to bulging: If brickwork has not been properly reinforced it can begin to bow or bulge with the passage of time. The bulging will put incredible stresses on the brick causing it to develop cracks. A bulging wall is no laughing matter and needs to be addressed promptly and effectively lest the wall give in to the forces of gravity and collapse.

First Class Brick Repair Toronto

Cummins Restorations are experts in the field of brickwork installation and brick repair in Toronto. We can effectively fix any cracking issues you may be having with your brickwork in a fast and affordable manner. To schedule brick repair in Toronto or if you have masonry-related questions or issues call Cummins Restorations on (416) 992-7965.

Masonry 101: What Experts Look for When Analyzing Your Brickwork

masonry Toronto If you own an older house that contains significant amounts of brickwork it behooves you to have that brickwork assessed from time to time to determine its structural integrity. Cummins Restorations are the #1 choice for the analysis of masonry in Toronto. We identify potential areas of concern in order to stave off problems and identify and fix small problems before they blossom into serious ones that could undermine the integrity of the home itself. But just what are some of the signs we look for that indicate a problem exists or may develop?

Analyzing Masonry in Toronto Homes to Stave off Problems

There are a number of things expert masons look for when analyzing the health of your home’s brickwork. They include:

  • Deterioration of the bricks: During a masonry inspection we may discover your bricks are cracking or otherwise disintegrating prematurely. Some possible causes for this include excessive moisture entering the brickwork through failed mortar joints, the house settling unevenly and a mortar used in previous repointing efforts that is harder than the brick itself.
  • Erosion of the brick: If you’ve had your home pressure washed or sand-blasted this can weaken the integrity of the bricks and hasten the process of erosion. Bricks often have a kind of crust to them that protects the softer interior from the elements. Sandblasting or power washing the brickwork can strip off this protective coating and expose the brick to erosion.
  • Degradation of the mortar: On many older homes the mortar between the bricks will have come loose and even fallen out completely in some places. Repointing the mortar is then called for and carried out by properly trained stone masons. Finding and fixing degraded mortar is a major component of our masonry Toronto brickwork analysis and repair.
  • Assessing the seriousness of dirt, debris and moss coverage: There is no way to prevent exterior brickwork from getting dirty and from attracting moss and mold. The thing the brickwork analysis is looking for is whether the degree of dirt and moss has somehow compromised the surface of the bricks. If it hasn’t it will likely be left as is. If it is found to be somehow damaging the brickwork it should be removed in a non-destructive manner.
  • Structural issues: An inspection of your home’s brickwork will also focus on identifying any real or potential structural issues within the brickwork itself. Is the brick wall bowing outward? Even slightly? Are there stair step cracks in the brickwork? Have some parts of the exterior brickwork collapsed? Following the analysis the masonry expert will provide recommendations for prompt repair and restoration of your home’s brickwork.

Cummins Restorations has been helping homeowners across the GTA maintain the long-term health of their brickwork, and by extension their homes, since 1991. We’re the masonry Toronto experts more residents choose than any other and we’re proud of the fact. Give us a call on (416) 992-7965 to find out more about having your home’s brickwork analyzed or to discuss an upcoming masonry project. We’re here to help.

Why Chimney Repair Work is So Urgent

Chimney Repair TorontoThe chimney is one of the most visible features of the home. It serves a variety of functions from providing a focal point for the home’s exterior design to venting smoke and gases from the fireplace and/or furnace safely into the outside world. But because they are basically little more than tall columns of stacked brick they’re susceptible to a variety of forces that can cause their structural integrity to deteriorate and require repair. When that happens you’ll want to effect repairs promptly lest a relatively minor problem mushroom into one that’s difficult and expensive to remediate.

Chimney Repair Toronto: Don’t Put it Off

While bricks are an incredibly resilient building material they’re still susceptible to wear and tear; especially in a city like Toronto with such an extreme and unforgiving climate. Eventually that wear and tear can become so pronounced that you’ll have to call for chimney repair. Toronto homeowners need to know the warning signs that indicate repair work is urgently called for. Those signs include:

  • Water infiltrating the chimney: Water that enters the flue can mix with creosote to damage the damper and eat away at the brickwork. Besides the flue there are a number of other ways water can enter the chimney structure including settlement cracks and a poorly designed flashing. Water infiltrating the chimney structure can also cause damage adjacent drywall, wiring, paint jobs and more.
  • Compromised mortar: Mortar holds the stack together and prevents water intrusion and worse. Compromised mortar joints can lead to bug infestations and water freezing and thawing inside the joint, creating even larger and more serious structural problems down the road. Repointing the mortar joints is an important part of chimney maintenance and should never be delayed if you notice visible gaps in your chimney’s mortar work.
  • Cracks: Cracks, particularly those inside the chimney structure, can be a serious fire hazard for the house. That’s because creosote can gather in cracks until one day it’s ignited by a stray spark or ember rising from the fireplace. It’s vitally important to keep the chimney free of cracks by having regular inspections performed and having any cracks that may be found repaired immediately.
  • Damaged flue tiles: The tiles that form the lining of the flue are important for keeping the outside out and smoke and gases moving properly upward and out of the house. Not pursuing cracked tiles with vigour can result in compromised draft in the chimney and the backing up of the aforementioned smoke and gases into the home. If you notice small bits of broken tile in your fireplace don’t hesitate to call for chimney repair in Toronto.

Chimney repair for Toronto homes is serious business. Poorly designed and built chimneys, along with chimneys that have been damaged by weather or some natural disaster or another all need to be repaired as quickly as possible to ensure your family’s safety and security. Call Cummins Restorations on (416) 992-7965 to schedule chimney repair work or to discuss any masonry related project you may be ready to undertake.

Masonry Repair: Here’s Why It’s No Laughing Matter

masonry repair torontoAs the properties in which we live age, they can fall into a state of disrepair. Some tasks, such as repainting interior walls or replacing worn carpets are done mainly for aesthetic reasons and postponing them will not have a detrimental effect on your home. Masonry repairs, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely. If you want to protect the value and the structural integrity of your Toronto home, you need to attend to them at the earliest possible opportunity.

Why You Should Never Postpone Masonry Repair in Toronto

There are a number of outcomes, none of which are particularly pleasant, that could result from the unnecessary postponement of masonry repairs in your home.

  1. Chimney Repairs – If the mortar joints between the bricks in your chimney have deteriorated over time, water could penetrate them and cause even more damage. In the worst cases, this can lead to total collapse of the chimney.
  2. Repairs to Brick Walls – The mortar joins in your Toronto home’s exterior walls can also degrade over time and if neglected, bricks can eventually come loose, threatening the structural integrity of your property as well as posing a danger to yourself and your family. Damaged bricks should be replaced, with new mortar to hold them in position.
  3. Parging Repairs– If the surface of your exterior walls have large cracks running through them, parging (the application of a new layer of plaster or mortar) can restore them to their original condition. Leaving them as they are could result in the rapid deterioration of these surfaces as water and ice are able to penetrate the walls.
  4. Tuckpointing – Removing the outer layer of mortar from between bricks and replacing it with fresh mortar is a common masonry repair in Toronto and can help to ensure that brick walls remain in excellent condition. Crumbling mortar, if left to its own devices, could eventually threaten the stability of the wall in question.

If your property is showing signs of age and you are looking for a company that is capable of carrying out high quality masonry repair in Toronto, call Cummins Restorations today and tell us what you need. We have many years of experience in the industry and a first-class team of tradespeople ready and waiting to restore your property to its former glory so please do not hesitate to call, whatever your needs may be.

Brick Repair 101: Essential Points to Consider

brick repair torontoHomeowners in Toronto know how hard the climate can be on their properties and do not need reminding why they should ensure that the exterior walls of their home are maintained in excellent condition. If the exterior walls of your home have exposed brickwork, you will eventually need to have that brickwork repaired to ensure that it remains in good condition.

Signs That May Indicate the Necessity of Brick Repair for Toronto Homes

There are a few signs you can look out for before you contact a local contractor to talk about repairs to your brickwork.

  1. Crumbling Mortar – If the mortar in between the bricks has started to crumble, it is time to have the joints tuckpointed. Leaving them as they are will only result in further deterioration of the condition of the mortar, which could lead to the second sign to look out for below.
  2. Loose Bricks – One of the most common reasons that people contact us to enquire about masonry repair in Toronto is because they have noticed that some of the bricks in their walls have come loose, or even been dislodged completely. This is a sure sign that the mortar between the bricks is in a very poor state.
  3. Cracked Bricks – There are a number of reasons that the bricks in your walls could develop cracks but whatever the underlying cause, they will need to be replaced with new bricks to ensure that the walls in question remain stable and sound.
  4. White Deposit on Surface of Bricks – This is almost always salt, from the mortar in between the bricks. If you see it on the surface of the bricks of your Toronto home, it is a sign that water is penetrating the wall and the bricks themselves. As the water evaporates, the salt is left behind on the bricks. The water could be penetrating your walls due to crumbling or cracked mortar, or perhaps cracked bricks. Either way, repairs will be necessary.

At Cummins Restorations, we have dealt with all of the above symptoms countless times over the years that we have been in business so please feel free to call us if you would like any help or advice. If you would like to take advantage of our in-depth knowledge of masonry repair in Toronto, we will be delighted to provide you with a competitive quotation for the work that needs to be done.

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Hire Uninsured Masonry Contractors

masonry contractors torontoWhilst low quotations for masonry work in Toronto can be very appealing to cost-conscious homeowners and businesses, they are not always as attractive as they might first appear. Some contractors are only able to offer cheap masonry services because they have cut their running costs to a minimum. There is nothing wrong with this in principle but if liability insurance was one of the victims of their cost-cutting exercise, you might want to think twice about hiring them

5 Reasons to Avoid Masonry Contractors in Toronto without Insurance

If you want to know exactly why you should not use the services of uninsured contractors, take a look at the five reasons below.

  1. Your Home Will be at Risk – A company that has no insurance will not be able to cover the cost of repairing your home in the event that they inadvertently damage it. Given the serious nature of the type of work that masonry contractors in Toronto and elsewhere often undertake, comprehensive insurance is a must.
  2. You Could Be Liable for Injured Workers – If a contractor’s employee is injured whilst working on your property, their insurance should cover the cost of any compensation. However, with no insurance policy, you could be sued for damages by the worker in question.
  3. Building Code Problems – A contractor in Toronto who is uninsured is most likely unlicensed too, which means they probably aren’t familiar with local building regulations. As the homeowner, it is you who would have to foot the bill for alterations if the local authorities object to any work done by your contractor.
  4. Bad Workmanship – There may well be some uninsured contractors whose work is of a high quality but the odds are that a firm with no insurance is likely to be sloppier in their approach to work than a firm with full cover.
  5. Lawsuits from Injured Guests – A guest of yours being injured by falling masonry while contractors are working on your home may be an unlikely occurrence, but it is a possibility and one that would be covered by their insurance policy, if they had one. If not, it’s you that will have to pay compensation once again.

As you can see, you should always hire an insured masonry contractor in Toronto because the alternative is fraught with danger. Cummins Restorations is fully licensed and insured, so you can hire us with complete confidence.

Why It’s Important Chimney Repair Issues are Dealt With Quickly

chimney repair torontoHaving a chimney adds a cozy charm to your Toronto home, but it is also very important to keep the chimney properly maintained and cleaned. Even with good maintenance, however, well-used chimneys accumulate creosote buildup inside their flues and, over time, gaps in the flue that allow heat damage to come to the brick area outside the flue. The effects can be dangerous and devastating, and there are many reasons a chimney should not be left to fester if it is in any need of chimney repair.

What is Creosote?

Most problems that can occur in a chimney are caused by a buildup of creosote, a tar-like substance caused by the chemical reaction of incomplete wood combustion with the liner of your flue. Creosote buildup can cause:

  • Chimney Fires – Creosote is highly combustible, and a combination of a lot of it building up and very high temperatures in the chimney could cause an explosion and a fire. The fire will undoubtedly damage your chimney and may even spread to the wood frame of the house, leading to injury or death.
  • Noxious Debris – The debris given off by hardened creosote residue can cause a myriad of very unhealthy effects, such as:
    • Higher risk of cancer or similar diseases.
    • Eye irritation, including itchiness and blurry vision.
    • Skin irritation leading to acne or rashes.
    • Respiratory problems, such as coughing or trouble breathing.
    • Issues with the liver or kidney.
    • Increased risk of seizures, confusion, or other mental problems.

What Other Problems Can I Avoid with Prompt Chimney Repair?

Having an expert repair your chimney the minute issues crop up will also help avoid:

  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Gasses trapped by a partially blocked chimney may find their way back into your living space. They include carbon monoxide, an invisible and odorless gas that causes blood vessel suffocation. In small doses, carbon monoxide poisoning causes headaches, nausea, and fatigue. In large doses, it can be fatal.
  • Animal Infestations – Chimney swifts and other small animals may take up residence in a run-down and unused chimney (not in the flue, where the smoke actually escapes), even after brick or masonry repair. Their droppings will fall into the fireplace, burn when a fire is lit, and emit fumes that cause respiratory infection.

For all these reasons and more, it is vital to your safety to call a professional to perform maintenance on your chimney at the first sign of disrepair. We at Cummins Restorations are happy to provide tuckpointing and chimney repair services to keep you enjoying crackling fires with the family while staying healthy and safe.