How to Spot Masonry Damage

Now that spring is here, you may be ready to forget about your chimney until fall rolls around. Waiting until autumn for an annual inspection could be too late. It’s smart to take a close look at your chimney now to make sure it hasn’t been damaged from the rough winter and isn’t vulnerable to water damage from a rainy spring. Chimney damage tends to compound over time. Even if you aren’t a chimney expert, there are warning signs that you can spot. Catching damage now can save you money in the future.

Noblesville IN chimney inspectionMost chimney damage is caused by moisture that is absorbed into the masonry. There are many different ways that moisture can get into a chimney system such as from a leaky chimney cap or broken crown. Once moisture gets into a chimney, it can do a wide range of damage. The main reason why it is so destructive is because of the freeze-thaw process.

As the moisture within masonry freezes and thaw throughout the winter, it expands and contracts. This process breaks down bricks and mortar. After a hard winter, you may be able to spot the signs of water damage from the freeze-thaw process.

You don’t have to climb up on to the chimney to see problems. Here are 3 warning signs you can spot from the ground:

Chipped, Broken, or Cracked Masonry

If you notice broken bricks, chipped mortar or cracks running through the masonry, you should contact a chimney solution specialist. This type of damage can lead to serious structural problems if it is not taken care of.

In many cases, tuckpointing repairs will solve the problem. Tuckpointing is a process that involves removing damaged bricks and mortar, then replacing them with matching bricks and mortar. If the damage is minor, applying a waterproofing sealant to the masonry may be all that is necessary. If there is severe damage to your chimney, a more extensive rebuild may be required. A certified chimney sweep will be able to access the damage and suggest the best solution.

Pieces of Broken Flue Tiles

Many homes have a chimney liner that is made of tiles. Tile chimney liners can crack and break because of moisture just like exterior masonry. When tile chimney lines breakdown it is called spalling.

Make sure to check for broken pieces of tile when you clean cool ashes out of the firebox. If you find pieces of broken flue tiles, contact a certified chimney specialist. Using a fireplace with a broken flue liner is dangerous. It increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and a house fire.

The most common solutions for a spalling flue liner are to resurface the flue with a sealant or reline it with a metal chimney liner. Either solution will allow you to safely use your fireplace in the future.

white staining on chimney in Indianapolis IndianaDiscolored or Stained Masonry

Discolored or stained masonry is more than just an eyesore. It is a sign of an underlying problem. The color of the stain can give you a clue to the problem.

Brown or black stains are usually a sign of excessive creosote buildup. Creosote is a flammable chemical compound that is a byproduct of burning fuels like wood. Along with staining your chimney and increasing the risk of a chimney fire, creosote can produce a strong odor during hot humid weather.

Red and orange stains may be a sign that a metal chimney component, like a chase cover or chimney cap, is rusting. Green staining is often a sign that mildew or mold are growing in the chimney. White staining is called efflorescence. It is sign that high levels of moisture are being absorbed by the masonry.

All of these underlying problems can be solved by a professional chimney sweep. The solution may be as simple as a chimney cleaning or chimney cap replacement or more complex.

Don’t wait if you notice any of these problems! Call on a chimney professional who has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), like our team at Chimney Solution Indiana, to do an inspection. Tackling this problem in the spring will give us plenty of time to address it and stop it from escalating.

Our Service Area
If you live within 20 miles of Marion County, there’s no need to call any other chimney provider! The team here at Chimney Solutions Indiana will be in our marked trucks and clean uniforms and at your door on time! We travel to Zionsville, Carmel, Fishers, Brownsburg, Westfield, Geist, Eagle Creek, Noblesville and all throughout the Indianapolis, IN area.

Our Training & Memberships Keep Us Informed & Knowledgeable

We believe that education and ongoing training is important, which is why we continuously invest in ourselves and our team to deliver better service to you. We’re Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) – certified and members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), so whenever advancements are made within the industry, we’re among the first to know about it. When you work with Chimney Solutions, you can expect the latest information and the most advanced services and techniques. We strive to exceed expectations on every job from a routine chimney sweep and chimney cleaning to a full chimney restoration.

Call Chimney Solutions For The Best Possible Chimney Care!
Call Now (317) 757-6979

If you’re ready to speak with a knowledgeable and friendly team member or would like to request an appointment with one of our experienced technicians, give us a call.

We’re committed to providing the best service possible and look forward to serving you and your family, year after year. Call 317-757-6979 to get started! >>