It may be tempting to ignore the cracks and damage on and around your chimney, but a small issue can become a huge problem very quickly. Here are six things that my good friends at Down River Roofers want you to know about chimney masonry repair:
- Your chimney affects the entire foundation of your house. Because your house is built around your fireplace, it makes sense that when there is a serious issue with your chimney, you may be dealing with a far bigger headache.
- Carbon monoxide can kill you, even in small doses. A chimney is designed to draw the smoke and gases produced by a fire up and safely out of your home. This is extremely important since some of these gases are dangerous.
- There is the "flue" and a lot of people know this one. It is a passageway on the top part wherein smoke goes through to exit. They are usually made of stainless steel or clay (baked).
- Your chimney contains excess heat from a fire until it can be vented to the outside air. Most of your home is combustible. If the chimney does not get this extremely hot air outside without leaks it can easily cause a fire in your home.
- The firebox is the interior area of your fireplace, where you'll have the grate and where the heat of burning wood is surrounded by firebricks. Look for loose, crumbling or flaking mortar as well as efflorescence or loose firebricks. Any damage at all to the firebox should be fixed before you light another fire.
- The technique of replacing the missing bricks and mortar is called the "tuck pointing". This includes replacing failed joints (mortar) with new or fresh mortar. It is a bit tricky because the mortar needs to have the correct consistency so it will work in the right way.
Chimney repair is not as easy as it seems. Some homeowners attempt DIY repairs when they should be calling in the pros. A pair of binoculars and a ladder are not going to cut it. Don't wait for small chimney repairs to become major disasters in your life. Repair your chimney with the help of a qualified mason and get cozy in front of the fire.