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.

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.

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.

Spot the Signs That You need Masonry Repair

chimney repair torontoThe chimney is one of the most overlooked household features in terms of being properly maintained. Many do not realize that chimneys are fragile mechanisms that require regular attention too, and one of the most important parts of a chimney to keep in good shape is the masonry. A chimney with deteriorating masonry can cause dangerous situations, as well as a significant decrease in value to the home it is attached to.

How Do I Tell When it’s Time for Masonry Repair?

There are two parts of your chimney that may require masonry repair: the visible brick exterior of the chimney and the tile lining of the flue inside the chimney. Below is listed how you tell whether you need repair for each.

  • Brick Exterior –Like the skull protects the brain, the bricks of a chimney protect the flue. Just like the skull, cracks in the brick exterior are dangerous, and need to be looked into immediately when they are noticed. The easiest-to-notice sign that the exterior is in need of masonry repair is when the mortar cracks in between the bricks widen or seem less sturdy than they were. This means that the mortar is disintegrating, and allowing this to continue could cause structural damage. Another sign that chimney repair is needed is when cracks are visible in the bricks themselves. Bricks last significantly longer than mortar, but they can deteriorate too, and the consequences of a cracked brick can be even more severe than those of thinning mortar.
  • Inner Flue – The flue is where the actual smoke and debris from fires filters through to escape the chimney, and it is made of tiled stone, which is extremely important to keep in good condition. One of the easiest ways to tell that your flue lining needs repair is by observing actual flakes of flue tile falling into the fireplace during use. Being exposed for years to moisture and corrosive chemicals resulting from combustion can make the flue tiles give out.

No matter what part of your chimney is experiencing problems, issues with masonry are very serious and must be dealt with immediately if any telltale signs are noticed. Masonry and brick repair can be hugely time-consuming and labour-intensive to deal with on your own, but we at Cummins Restorations are happy to assist anyone in the Toronto area with their masonry contracting and chimney repairs.

Some of the Most Common Issues that Require Chimney Repair

Chimney Repair TorontoChimneys are stunning architectural features that add a great deal of charm and charisma to any property. But being such a visually attractive feature isn’t easy! Chimneys require a great deal more maintenance than many people tend to think and if this maintenance is neglected, you could potentially make your home environment unsafe. Having said that, even if you keep on top of your chimney maintenance, eventually faults can develop due to the wear on tear of frequent use and the constant exposure to the harsh Toronto climate. But exactly what can go wrong? We’re going to talk you through a few of the main issues with chimneys that we’ve frequently encountered in our 22 years in the chimney repair industry.

What Can Go Wrong That Requires Chimney Repair to Put Right?

Chimney repair should never be attempted by the average homeowner, even if they do consider themselves to be somewhat of a DIY guru. Carrying out chimney repair can sometimes be dangerous and you risk not only causing further damage to your property, but also to yourself.

  • Damaged Brickwork – Just as with the walls of your property, the condition of the bricks that combine to form the chimney will deteriorate over time. The rate of this deterioration is often quicker for a chimney than on other parts of the home due to the fact that a chimney is elevated and therefore constantly exposed when the harshest (and wettest) weather conditions hit the area. A common issue we encounter is the mortar becoming damaged and falling away, and it’s vital that you get a chimney repair contractor out to replace this as soon as possible, otherwise moisture could easily penetrate the brick and cause more serious damage.
  • Damage to the Chimney Cap and Crown – This is another chimney repair issue that needs to be rectified very quickly otherwise it could allow excess amounts of moisture to get inside the chimney and potentially damage its lining, the brickwork, the damper, the firebox and also potentially the walls and ceiling inside your home. The crown and cap are considered your chimney’s primary defences against Mother Nature, but due to their level of exposure and the extremeness of Toronto’s climate, they can become damaged over time.
  • Damaged Chimney Lining – As you can imagine, the lining of your chimney plays a vital role and prevents your home from setting alight every time you use your fireplace. Every time you use your chimney, a flammable substance known as creosote is deposited on the flue lining and if moisture is allowed to mix with this substance (hence why it’s important to rectify the two issues listed above quickly), it can cause the flue lining to crack. This will have to be replaced before the chimney can be used again.

If you’ve got a beautiful chimney at your home but you either can’t use it because it’s damaged or it’s affecting other parts of your home, contact our chimney repair team today. We have the skills, knowledge and equipment to restore your chimney to perfect working order once again, with expertise in brick repair and tuckpointing.

Contact us today for chimney repair in Toronto

How to Tell Whether You Need Chimney Repair

chimney repair toronto

For the average homeowner, who has no real idea of construction and building techniques, it can be difficult to tell if and when chimney repair is required. However, before you start your search for a reputable contractor in your local area and go to the trouble of setting an appointment for them to come out to your address to inspect the condition of your chimney, you should first take a few minutes to check it out for yourself. “But I thought you already recognised that most homeowners don’t know what they are looking for?” That’s right, which is why we’re going to talk you through a few of the main signs that indicate the need for chimney repair during the course of this blog article.

The Top Signs that Indicate the Need for Chimney Repair

Remember that should the condition of your chimney deteriorate , if you don’t do something about it you are potentially exposing yourself to a serious fire hazard. If you spot any of the following signs during your inspection, don’t hesitate to get in contact with a chimney repair expert as soon as possible.

  • Less than Perfect Mortar Joints – The first part of your chimney to inspect is the mortar joints. You might need to get on top of your roof to be able to spot this problem, but if the condition of your chimney’s mortar joints is anything less than perfect, make sure to get in touch with a contractor right away. “Is is really that much of an issue?” The simple answer is yes! The mortar is what holds it all together and should even the slightest crack develop, freeze-thaw cycles could quickly make the situation worse and if just left the chimney may become seriously unstable.
  • A Damper or Firebox that is Rusted – If either the damper (which is designed to seal off the flue) or the firebox has rusted, it’s a sure sign that they’ve been exposed to moisture and that something is not quite right. Allowing too much moisture to enter the chimney can lead to a range of dangerous situations, including the cracking of flue tiles, which could lead to a fire breaking out, meaning it’s essential that you get in touch with a chimney repair specialist as soon as possible.
  • Parts of Flue Tiles Piling Up – Examine the bottom part of the chimney to check whether any debris has built up. In particular, look out for parts of flue tiles, as this indicates that the chimney lining is damaged, which has the potential to cause a house fire, as mentioned in the last paragraph. This will only apply if your chimney is relatively old though, since many of today’s models are now fitted with stainless steel linings.
  • Cracks on the Chimney Crown – This is something else that you won’t be able to spot without being on the rooftop, but if there’s a problem it will be apparent. The crown is your chimney’s first line of defence against the elements, but just as with the mortar joints, if cracks develop, freeze-thaw cycles can open them up rather quickly, which provides moisture a direct route into the interior of your chimney. This can lead to other problems, such as the shaling of the flue lining .
  • Are Your Bricks Spalling? – If you’re not sure what “spalling” is, it’s where moisture get’s inside the brick (or stone or concrete if that’s what your chimney is constructed from) and damages the surface of your masonry. If this has occurred at your property, it will be quite apparent as parts of the masonry will fall off, and if a chimney repair contractor is not contacted, the entire structure may become unstable and eventually collapse.

Contact us today at (416) 992-7965 for masonry repair, brick repair and chimney repair.