How to Repair Chimney Cracks

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Your chimney and fireplace provide your home with warmth and much-needed comfort. Whether enjoying the family around the cozy fire during the winter or simply heating your home during the cold winter months, you rely on your chimney to provide comfort and safety. Regular maintenance will protect your property and family. Yearly chimney repair and masonry will ensure that your family will enjoy your home for decades to come.

Chimney Cracks

Over time your chimney experiences harsh weather, moisture, precipitation, and high winds. This continues wear leads to damage. When the chimney’s walls crack you may experience damaged mortar joints, structural integrity loss, and spalling. Often the constant freezing and thawing of water over the winter leads to these issues. After several years, mortar might wash out, crack, and flake off. Avoid these problems with chimney repair and masonry.

Inspections

The first step to dealing with chimney cracks is setting up an inspection. A professional inspector will be able to tell you what you need to repair your chimney. Minor problems may need just tuckpointing and minor repair. During the professional inspection, the inspector will look over all chimney components, including the fireplace and the chimney cap.

Tuckpointing and Stone Chimney Crack Repair

Smaller cracks will be repaired with tuckpointing. Tuckpointing involves replacing failed mortar joints with fresh mortar. The mason may use chisel and hammer and other tools to repair the problem. After cleaning the area they may fill in any cracks with caulk or bonding materials. They might remove broken stones or bricks first.

Professional Masonry

While smaller jobs might be able to be done by the homeowner, most chimney repair work should be done by a professional. Why? Unless you have been trained in masonry repair, it is easy to miss the cause behind the cracks. A quick tuckpointing may take care of aesthetic issues, but the initial problem remains. A professional inspection will help you see how to prevent future damage. If you inspect your chimney each year, you will be able to avoid costly problems in the long-term, especially if you have a newer chimney. Regular maintenance is key.

Prevention

Once you have repaired your damaged chimney, you should waterproof the chimney. Repair and replace the chimney crown, the flashing, and install a chimney cap. All of these steps will prevent further damage in the future. Look out for problem areas like vines crawling around the chimney, which might cause excess damage over time.

Call the masonry specialists at Cummins Restoration for an inspection today. We will help you diagnose what is wrong with your chimney. We offer quality repair and chimney replacement. Cummins Restoration prides ourselves on our excellent customer service and expertise. Our technicians provide the best masonry repair in the region. Contact us today for your first consultation.

Does My Chimney Need Tuckpointing? 5 Signs

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Does your chimney need professional repair? You can’t always tell just by looking. Sometimes the chimney has serious problems like damaged mortar joints or a rusted firebox. A damaged chimney can lead to property damage or fire. Letting issues go for a long time can result in structural damage requiring a full replacement. Tuckpointing brick and chimney repair are essential to properly maintain your chimney.

Does My Chimney Need Tuckpointing and Repair?

Sometimes chimney problems are obvious. You might notice that smoke fills up the living room when you light your fireplace. Maybe the chimney clearly leans to one side or pulls away from the house. Can you see clear damage to the mortar? Tuckpointing brick can deal with some of the more minor issues. Watch out for these problems that indicate you need professional tuckpointing and repair:

  1. Watch out for damaged mortar joints. Bricks will be exposed to moisture. This leads to large cracks, especially in harsh winter conditions. The chimney can collapse if the problems are not addressed.
  2. Sometimes bricks fall from your chimney. Spalling bricks indicate that moisture has forced the masonry to fail. The chimney crumbles over time. Deal with this issue when you first notice the problem to prevent costly long-term damage to your home.
  3. Does your fireplace have thin slices of chimney tile piled up near the bottom? Watch for cracked and shaling flue tiles. This problem may result in a house fire that will damage property and endanger lives.
  4. A cracked chimney crown allows moisture to damage the mortar and bricks of your chimney. This might cause shaling and spalling. In areas with cold winters, the constant freezing and thawing of water will cause even more extensive damage.
  5. Believe it or not, if you notice that the wallpaper near your chimney has damage, you might have a chimney problem. Damaged wallpaper often indicates problems with moisture. Be sure to schedule your inspection today to avoid structural damage.

Contact Cummins Restoration for Your Chimney Needs

You need chimney repair you can trust. Call the experts at Cummins Restoration. With decades of experience, our seasoned team will inspect and repair your chimney quickly and professionally. Call our friendly staff today. We will be happy to answer all of your chimney questions. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service. YOU are our priority. Don’t delay. Call us now.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Fireplace?

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Over time your chimney will require regular maintenance and repair to prevent long-term issues. Most residential chimney repair results from simple cracks. Moisture leaks into the chimney, causing damage to the home. Additionally, smoke and fumes may enter the home, causing a possible fire hazard. Regular maintenance and repair will ensure that you and your family will enjoy your fireplace for main years to come.

Basic Costs

Many factors affect the total cost to fix a fireplace and chimney. The size of the home, amount of damage, and other factors like structural damage or moisture all contribute to the final cost. You have many factors to consider when estimating the residential chimney repair cost. Here are some common repairs and their estimates.

  • Basic Brick and Mortar Repair – If you have issues with moisture and cracks, you will need chimney repair. The mortar joints contract and expand. This may lead to fire hazards and carbon monoxide problems. The cost for basic repair can be as little as a few hundred dollars and go up to a few thousand dollars for more serious issues.
  • Moisture Damage – Over time, small problems like a crack can lead to moisture entering through the seals and flashing. This leads to rusty dampers. Expect to pay hundreds of dollars to repair water damage.
  • Chimney Replacement – In the worst scenarios, you will need to replace your entire chimney. This happens when your chimney has too much structural damage for a basic repair. Expect to pay thousands of dollars for a full chimney demolition and repair.
  • Crown Repair – Your chimney crown has several functions like keeping birds out of your chimney and preventing precipitation from entering your home. Cold harsh climates can wreak damage on your chimney as the water expands and freezes. A chimney crown repair costs several hundred dollars.

Maintain Your Chimney

At the end of the day, the best way to prevent costlier repair is through regular chimney maintenance and repair. Contact Cummins Restoration for an inspection and consultation. Our experienced staff will be happy to help you. Trust our talented professionals for all your chimney and fireplace repairs. We offer a wide range of services like parging, tuck-point, chimney replacement, and crown repair. Contact us today.

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.

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

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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.

Can Rain Get in My Chimney?

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Worried about rain getting in your chimney? Minimize expensive long-term damage. Your chimney repair cost for maintenance ensures that you enjoy your chimney for a lifetime. But how can you prevent rain in your chimney? What are some of the more common causes?

Why is My Chimney Leaking?

There are a few different reasons why you have rain coming into your chimney. One of the more common reasons is basic structural issues. You might have chimney crown damage or faults in the lining. A professional will inspect your chimney for possible causes for precipitation. Chimney repair cost depends on how much damage has occurred. Because of this, you want to fix the problems sooner to reduce expenses and water damage.

Depending on your climate, your chimney may be exposed to high winds, heavy precipitation, freezing temperatures, and snow. Harsh weather deteriorates masonry materials significantly. Debris and rodents also contribute to chimney damage.

The mortar and bricks pass water. Harsh winters can cause leaks in the house with continual thawing and freezing. Sometimes bricks may get soggy. The wrong waterproofing materials may even exacerbate the issues. Do you need to waterproof your chimney? Your contractor can do a Masonry Absorption Test (MAT) which checks how long it takes for the bricks to absorb water. They can identify structural issues due to water damage.

Repairing the Chimney

Your chimney professional will offer some repair and maintenance options:

  • Chimney Relining
  • Caulking
  • Crown Coat
  • Fixing a Cracked Crown
  • Chimney Crown Replacement
  • Structural Adjustments
  • Chimney replacement
  • Basic maintenance and cleaning

Most of the time the repair will be simple. However, you might have to do a costly repair like chimney replacement or structural adjustments. A professional contractor can identify and fix the issue. Ask for an inspection to identify the problem.

Do you have rain in your chimney? If you need a quality inspection and chimney repair, call us today. We are ready to help you solve your chimney issues immediately.