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.

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?

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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?

chimney-repair-cost

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.

 

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.

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.

How Avoiding Chimney Repair Can REALLY Come Back to Bite You

Many homeowners put “repair the chimney” pretty far down on their “to do” list but they shouldn’t. While it’s tempting to delay fixing a problem with the chimney (because after all, it’s the chimney, not something really important like the TV) delaying could wind up creating a slew of other problems that will make the original chimney repair job seem like pretty small beer indeed. Sure, a chimney is a tough looking character (being brick and all) but if it’s become cracked or otherwise compromised waiting to have if fixed could come back to haunt you big time.

Why Chimney Repair Can’t Wait

When most homeowners become aware of problems with their chimney they take the necessary steps to repair it. Others, however, will tempt fate and see if they can get by as is, usually in an effort to save a few bucks. The thing is the few bucks they save now have a way of turning into beaucoup bucks down the road and here’s 3 of the ways that can happen.

  1. Cracks in the brick work – Water is the indispensable resource, that thing we simply can’t live without and most of the time seems like a pretty benign compound. But water is one of the most persistent and destructive forces on earth. If your chimney has developed freeze/thaw cracks and water is leaking in unchecked your chimney’s damper will rust, the flue liner will become compromised and water will eventually find its way into the walls of your home where it will wreak havoc on the wood joists, insulation and electrical wiring; which will all need to be repaired or replaced.
  2. Rusty damper – As we mentioned above water leaking into the chimney can cause the damper to rust. When that happens you’ll likely be looking at a colder living room and having to pay more for your monthly heating bill. That’s because when dampers get rusty they often get stuck in the open position. This allows cold air to blow down the chimney into the house making your living room colder and requiring you to jack the thermostat to compensate.
  3. Damaged flashing – The point at which your chimney meets the roof is not an exact fit. Something is needed to cover the imperfect join area to prevent, you guessed it, water from leaking in around the chimney and getting into the roof, attic walls and the walls of the lower floors. That something is the flashing. If your flashing needs to be replaced or repaired and you fail to do so you’re looking at problems all the way from the shingles to the cellar.

Chimney repair is no laughing matter. The chimney has a central role to play in the life of your home and if it’s compromised the home is compromised. Delaying repairs just means the degree of that compromise will grow exponentially and so too will the bills for fixing all the problems that have sprung from it. Call Cummins Restorations Inc. to find out more about chimney repair.

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.