How Long Should a Brick Chimney Last?

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The chimney plays an important aesthetic and functional role in your home. Providing warmth and comfort, the chimney also adds home value and provides a sense of luxurious charm. However, regular maintenance and repair are necessary to help your chimney last for generations. Failure to maintain the structure and masonry of your chimney can result in having to rebuild the chimney stack, which can be costly.

How to Make Your Chimney Last

The bricks in your chimney can last a century. Mortar typically last a couple of decades before erosion due to extreme weather and water damage cause structural problems. If you need to rebuild the chimney stack, the cost can be high. What are some things that you can do to help maintain your chimney? Regular cleaning, chimney sweeping, masonry repair, and tuckpointing all will help keep your chimney in tip top shape.

Regular Maintenance

You should have your chimney swept and inspected at least once a year. An inspection will check for debris, structural integrity, and correct clearances. Cleaning should happen before the winter season starts. If you do not use your chimney often, animals and birds may nest in the chimney. It is imperative to check your chimney if you have not used it in a very long time. For example, homeowners should have the chimney cleaned on their vacation homes if the homes lie dormant for much of the year.

Masonry Repair

An inspection will reveal any structural issues or mortar deterioration in your chimney. Many times water damage can accrue over time, causing long-term problems. Have your chimney inspected by a professional for water damage, debris, and any other issues. They will provide you with an honest assessment and information on how to help you maintain your chimney for a long time. With proper maintenance and repair your chimney can last a century or more.

Can You Replace Brick on a House?

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Brick has a classic beautiful aesthetic, but over time deterioration and structural damage can occur. Professional masonry repair can address almost any cosmetic or structural issue. What if the brick on a home has deteriorated beyond repair or there is extreme damage to the wall? Can you replace or entire restore a brick wall? And what is involved in the process?

Do You Need to Replace the Entire Wall?

Perhaps one of the first issues that you need to consider regards how much repair needs to be completed. Contact a masonry repair professional for a consultation and on-site inspection. While a homeowner or business owner can sometimes see the apparent damage, only a licensed experienced inspector can truly ascertain the amount of structural and permanent damage of a structure. The professional will then provide an estimate and give you options.

Some of the noticeable issue can be ugly cracks in the bricks and wall. Water damage will weaken mortar between bricks, leading to long-term problems. If you have purchased an older structure, shoddy workmanship and uneven settling could lead to holes and deterioration. Inside your home, signs that masonry needs repair can be uneven floors, doors and windows that don’t close properly, cracks in drywall, and basement floor cracks. While most issues can be taken care of with a simple repair, water damage and structural problems that have been allowed to fester for years may need a permanent solution.

What Services are Available?

When you have to replace brick, a contractor may offer several options like brick repair, tuckpointing, repair to the masonry, chimney repair and rebuilding, or parging. Parging involves adding an extra protective and aesthetically pleasing layer is added to the outer walls. While not necessarily a permanent fix for serious wall damage, parging does give an older but stable brick wall a better cosmetic look. Tuckpointing involves removing old mortar and replacing it with quality new mortar. Entire replacement is also possible.

Whether you need to repair an aging home, and older commercial building, or simply make your home more aesthetically pleasing, a professional mason company will be able to provide you with the necessary services. Call today.

What’s Wrong with My Chimney?

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Enjoy your beautiful chimney for decades with regular maintenance and repair. But how can you tell if you need crumbling brick chimney repair, chimney cleaning, or other services? What are some of the most common chimney problems? Find out what you need to do to fix your chimney.

Maintaining Your Chimney

A chimney may be an attractive feature of your home but it does need regular maintenance both for aesthetics and for safety. For example, if you have structural problems, you might need crumbling brick chimney repair to ensure that the chimney remains structurally sound. Regular chimney sweeping and inspection ensures that you catch a problem before it becomes a major issue.

A Blocked Chimney

A common issue is a blocked chimney. For example, a bird’s nest, critters, leaves, or too much soot can cause an obstruction. This can be a dangerous problem, leading to carbon monoxide entering the home. Regular cleaning and inspecting the chimney will help avoid this problem.

Creosote

Flammable creosote is deposited every time that smoke goes up the chimney. Creosote can cause a fire if not removed. Have your chimney inspected at least once a year, preferably before the cold winter months.

Structural Issues

The chimney crown or chimney cap can deteriorate with age. If it becomes cracked, you need to have it repaired to avoid moisture and water causing further damage. Tuckpointing removes damaged mortar, giving your chimney stability. The crown or cap can be replaced or repaired by chimney professionals.

Cracks

It is not unusual for chimney linings to crack. The lining needs to be replaced before using the chimney again. A professional inspection can help determine if your chimney lining needs replacement. Be sure to maintain your chimney regularly through proper maintenance, repair, and chimney sweeping.

3 Ways to a Better Chimney

masonry-repair-specialistA beautiful chimney adds value and elegance to your home. Over time, your chimney may need repair due to weather, water damage, or regular wear-and-tear. There are several things that a masonry repair specialist can do to help restore and repair your chimney as well as ways that you can maintain your chimney.

Regular Chimney Cleaning

Does your chimney need regular cleaning? Major repairs and cleaning require the help of a masonry repair specialist, but there are many ways that you can help keep your chimney clean. Sweep out the entire chimney, from the fireplace to crown, at least once or twice a year. Try to clean the chimney before the busy winter season when the fireplace will be in use more often.

Remove any excess build-up of soot and creosote. Creosote build-up is a prime cause of fires as it is a very flammable substance. If you don’t know how to clean your chimney or need help contact a professional service to inspect and clean your chimney.

Chimney Repair

Sometimes your chimney will have cracks, damaged mortar joints, rust or damage to the chimney crown. It is important to address these issues once you see them. Why? Small cracks and damage can easily lead to massive repairs and replacement, especially if water damage occurs. What else to look out for? Watch for any excess moisture, debris, or cracked tiles accumulating in your fireplace. This can indicate damage that needs immediate attention.

Chimney Replacement

Unfortunately, sometimes the damage is too great for a simple repair. If that is the case, then you may have to replace the entire chimney. While costly, replacing your chimney will add value to your home in the long term, providing you with a safe and beautiful fireplace and chimney. A professional contractor can give you an estimate for your chimney. For homeowners that hope to resell their home in the future, replacing a dilapidated chimney is just one way to enhance the overall beauty and curb appeal of the home.

What to do When Your Chimney Gets Dirty

fireplace-mantelsDuring this time of year, nothing is cozier than sitting around the fireplace, sipping some cider, and enjoying the warmth. However, regular maintenance of your fireplace is essential to keep your home warm and to reduce the chance of fires. Cleaning your fireplace is more than making sure that decorative fireplace mantels look clean. What do you need to do?

Chimney Safety

When is the best time to clean your fireplace? According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, there should not be creosote build-up any more than 1/8th of an inch (or roughly three millimeters). Anything more than that will increase the chances of fire in your home. Look beyond the fireplace mantels and inspect your chimney carefully for build-up, leaves and debris, build-up, and even water damage.

In general, your chimney should be cleaned at least once or twice a year. Have professionals clean your chimney right before the fall when most homeowners greatly increase the use of their fireplace. If you do not clean the chimney before the fall, you risk a chimney fire due to build-up from the previous year. A simple look with a flashlight will let you know if your chimney needs to be cleaned. This is also a good time to look for little critters that have made a home in your chimney.

Tools of the Chimney Trade

While most chimney cleaning jobs require professionals, it is possible to do minor cleaning on your own. You will need several items like a broom and dustpan, chimney brush with extension, sturdy ladder, plastic tarp, dust mask, and goggles. You don’t want to wear your best clothes when cleaning a chimney. Wear something old that you can discard after cleaning. Don’t forget the importance of the dust mask.

Cleaning Basics

Before cleaning the chimney, you will need to protect all the items in the room, including any expensive rugs, with the tarps. Be sure to clean the chimney from the top down. It is important to remove the damper from the chimney flue. Be sure to use the wire brush to clean small nooks and crannies within reach. The chimney brush extension will help you reach every spot in your chimney. Always partner up with someone to hold the ladder for safety purposes. You want to clean the entire length of the flue, scrubbing carefully in an up and down motion.

After cleaning the top, go inside and use a brush to clean the bottom. Then with a partner, use the chimney extension to clean from the bottom up. Sweep up any debris. Remember that creosote is flammable. Be sure you dispose of it properly. Call a professional team if you are not comfortable cleaning your chimney.

It’s fall, and homeowners depend on their fireplaces and wood stoves to keep them warm chimney-sweepduring the cool days and nights. However, each year injuries and property damage occur due to preventable fires. Some fires could be prevented by hiring a chimney sweep to clean up build-up. Why does it pay to repair your chimney?

Safety First

A fireplace is a cozy way to warm your family during the colder winter months. However, regular cleaning, whether with a professional chimney sweep service or simple maintenance is essential to maintain safety for your family and property. With any fireplace, residue from creosote and soot will build up in the flue and masonry. If the creosote becomes very thick, a single spark can start a fire. Chimney cleaning is a simple way to remove soot and creosote build-up. Make your family safer by regular maintenance and cleaning.

Additionally, birds and critters might clog up your chimney over time, increasing chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can quickly build up if your chimney is clogged. Professionals will clean your chimney and ensure that your family is safe from fire and other dangers.

Eco-Friendly Efficiency

Those additional creosote deposits minimize the effectiveness of your chimney. This lessens the warmth of your home, causing you to use more fuel to keep your family warm. The takeaway? Stay warmer with a clean chimney.

Regular Cleaning Saves Money

Besides helping your family stay warmer and safer, regular professional chimney cleaning reduces overall wear and tear to the different components of your chimney. Ashe, soot, and wood particles can affect the smoke shelf, damper, and masonry of your chimney. The grime and dirt will break down the components and structure, sometimes leading to costly premature replacement.

How Often Should I Clean My Chimney?

It is recommended that your chimney is cleaned every six months. Additionally, regularly maintain, sweep, and clean your chimney to prevent build-up and damage. Speak with a professional about how you can maintain a safety for your family with regular chimney cleaning.

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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.

What Does Chimney Repair Cost?

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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.