What You Need to Know About Chimney Repairs
Whether you’ve neglected annual chimney maintenance or your chimney has suffered damage from an external source, you may need repairs to keep it running efficiently and safely. And, if you do need chimney repairs, you probably have a lot of questions, which we’ll try to answer in this article. What is Masonry Chimney Repair & When is it Recommended? If you have a chimney, it’s most likely made from brick, mortar, concrete, and metal. Masonry chimneys can last for decades when properly constructed and cared for, but usage and Mother Nature eventually take their toll, causing your chimney to crack, lean, or become unstable. Masonry repair fixes damaged mortar joints, brick spalling, cracked flue liners, and other problems leading to inefficient operation and chimney fires.
Causes of Chimney Damage
Even the best-built and well-maintained chimneys suffer damage, so it’s crucial to hire a professional chimney service for annual inspection and maintenance.
This will prevent minor issues from getting worse, putting your family at risk and requiring expensive repairs down the road. So, what are the most common causes of chimney damage? Let’s take a look.
While most chimneys are sturdy structures, they can’t stand up to extreme wind, heavy snow, lightning strikes, and fallen trees. Even minor earthquakes can weaken the chimney’s foundation causing the entire structure to become unstable.
Water wreaks havoc on your chimney because masonry materials like brick, stone, concrete, and mortar are porous and absorb water like a sponge. Once water seeps in, it freezes during winter and expands, causing tiny cracks. Over time, these cracks grow larger, letting in more water, and the cycle continues until you have severe damage.
Lack of Maintenance
Years of use and lack of annual maintenance cause minor issues to balloon into serious problems as your chimney ages. According to the National Chimney Safety Institute of America, nearly 80,000 residential structural fires each year are related to fireplaces and chimneys, and that annual maintenance is essential to prevent that.
While many newer chimney systems are prefabricated in a factory, most are built on-site, and they can have defects if the contractor isn’t properly trained or careful. While this is uncommon, it does happen, which is why routine chimney inspection and maintenance are so important.
Creosote doesn’t directly damage your chimney, but it is something to be concerned about because it’s highly flammable, and if it’s ignored for too long, it becomes a fire hazard.
What are The Most Common Chimney Repairs?
As we’ve seen, your chimney may sustain many kinds of damage, but fortunately, all of them are repairable, provided you get to them soon enough. The most common forms of chimney damage are:
During freeze/thaw cycles, water absorbed into the masonry materials expands, forming cracks. If you’ve experienced the many potholes that appear on the roads during spring, imagine that happening to your chimney.
Many older chimneys have clay flue liners, and the tiles can crack due to moisture leaks and extreme temperatures.
The chimney crown is made from concrete, which, as we’ve seen, is porous and absorbs water quickly. The same cracks that occur in the brickwork also affect the crown.
Brick spalling is when the bricks flake and crumble. In its advanced stages, bricks become loose or fall off altogether. Again, moisture is the reason this happens, and it’s mainly a problem in areas of the country that experience harsh winters.
How Much Does Chimney Masonry Repair Cost?
Regardless of what kind of chimney damage you have, the big question is: “How much will it cost to fix it?” As much as we’d love to give you an absolute number, the answer is: It depends. Chimney repairs can range from $250 to $10,000 and up, depending on the severity of the damage. On average, masonry chimney repairs range from $1,000 to $3,000 to fix cracked bricks, loose mortar joints, or crown damage. A complete chimney rebuild will likely put you into the $10,000 and up category.
It’s safe to say that chimney repair isn’t cheap. With the price of everything rising, we can’t stress enough how crucial it is to hire a professional for annual inspection and maintenance to catch minor problems before they get out of hand and require expensive repairs. The annual maintenance and inspection cost is a drop in the bucket compared to most masonry repairs. If you’re a chimney owner, you owe yourself to invest in preventative maintenance to reduce the chance of needing expensive repairs and keep your family safe.
About Above & Beyond Chimney Service
Above & Beyond is a family-owned full-service chimney sweep and repair company serving the residents of Southern Massachusetts. We have over 25 years of industry experience and provide our customers with honest, ethical service from start to finish. We’re members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and are fully licensed and insured, and our trusted technicians deliver unmatched craftsmanship. If you live in South Framingham or the South Shore area and want to know more or would like to book service, call us at 781-383-0415 or reach us online.