Historic Chimney Restoration
If you have a historic home built in the early 1900s or before, it’s safe to say you didn’t buy it new. If you’re actively involved in upgrading and restoring this home, it’s safe to say you know how many challenges (and costs) can be involved. A key part of historic homes is the fireplace and hearth area. In the “old” days, fireplaces were central heating units – central in the sense they got fired up and everybody gathered around them to keep warm. As important as a working fireplace was back then, folks simply didn’t know as much about chimney maintenance and safety as they do today. This is why, when you’re working to preserve and restore your historic chimney and fireplace, you need to consider certain critical factors.
Two of the most critical are:
- The lining within the flue, or the absence of a chimney liner
- The condition of chimney masonry – both visible and hidden from view
Chimney lining issues
Modern chimney liners made of stainless steel, clay tiles or cast-in-place compounds protect the interior of the chimney against the intense heat of fires as well as against damage from acidic smoke byproducts. It’s hard to believe, but in the early part of the last century and prior, most chimneys were built with no liner system.
If your chimney is in the neighborhood of 100 years old, it probably doesn’t have a safety liner, unless a previous owner had one installed. This is something you need to determine if you don’t know already.
Have your chimney inspected by a certified chimney sweep or chimney services company that has specific experience with historic chimney restoration projects. If your chimney is unlined, this professional can advise you on the best type of liner to add.
Historic-chimney masonry damage
Bricks and mortar aren’t expected to hold up in perfect condition for 75 or 100 or more years. Depending on how long you’ve owned your historic home, you may have already dealt with some brick and mortar repair in your chimney structure. If you’re new to the home, have your chimney masonry inspected.
Cracked or missing bricks and crumbling mortar joints can lead to serious chimney leaks with widespread water damage. Your inspector will detect any leaks that may be present and advise you on how to guard against leaks in the future.
Older chimneys suffering from severe structural damage are not safe to use or to live around. Neglected chimneys that are getting up there in age have been known to collapse entirely, costing the homeowner huge money on chimney and roof restoration and possibly causing injury to people.
Other historic chimney issues
An experienced chimney and fireplace inspector will be able to alert you to other problems such as warped chimney flashing, cracks in the chimney crown, chimney cap damage, venting irregularities and more. When you’re undertaking a historic chimney restoration project, your chimney inspector is your best source for accurate advice and direction.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service of Dedham, MA, specializes in historic chimney inspection, repair and restoration work throughout the South Boston/South Shore region in Massachusetts. We understand the specific needs of older chimneys and can get yours into excellent shape both aesthetically and functionally.
Above & Beyond is certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and is a Massachusetts Licensed Contractor. We’re fully insured for your protection.
Get your questions answered, learn more about us or schedule a meeting by calling (781) 383-0415.