chimney fire

The First 5 Things To Do After A Chimney Fire Occurs

Chimney fires are a serious threat to homeowners, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. In addition to the millions of dollars in property damage chimney fires cause every year, they are also incredibly dangerous. With that in mind, all homeowners who have and regularly use their fireplace should understand some basic chimney-fire safety tips. Here are the first five things you should do in the case of a chimney fire:

#1 Ensure Safety

It’s most important to protect your family and yourself in the event of a fire. So rather than trying to put out the fire, alert everyone in the home and exit in an orderly fashion. Chimney fires may stay contained within a chimney –– or they may spread to the rest of the house. Regardless, your first action should be to get out of the house. From there, call the fire department. If possible, it may be a wise idea to close the damper on the fireplace to “smother” the chimney fire. (No oxygen, no fire.) However, don’t put yourself in danger by attempting to close a damper or put the fire out yourself. Safety is the first priority!

#2 Hose Down Your Roof

Chimney fires are most dangerous when they spread to your roof, so if you notice the tell-tale signs of a chimney fire like dense, black smoke or a loud, train-like sound emanating from your fireplace, go outside and spray water on the areas around your chimney. And remember, once you're outside, stay there until help arrives. 

#3 Inspect the Damage

Only begin to inspect your chimney after the fire has completely gone out. At that point, look for damage in the interior and on the exterior of your chimney. Some chimney fires may also cause damage on the roof. Furthermore, you should keep an eye out for creosote build-ups within your chimney. More often than not, this sticky, flammable substance is the cause of a chimney fire.  

#4 Call a Professional

All chimney fires happen for a reason –– so don’t use your chimney after a fire! Instead, call a professional first to inspect your home and your chimney. They’ll be able to 1) diagnose the problem that started the fire and 2) clean/repair it. It’s a wise idea to schedule regular chimney inspections annually, but it’s absolutely imperative to talk to a professional in the wake of a fire. Otherwise, you could put you, your family, and your home at risk again!

#5 Practice Fireplace Safety in the Future

Thousands of chimney fires happen every year, and, in some instances, homeowners may not even be aware that they’ve had a fire. Certain fires are slow-burning and self-contained, but they can still cause a great deal of damage to your home. That’s why it’s important to always follow basic fireplace safety procedures. Properly cleaning your fireplace and scheduling regular inspections will help you avoid dangerous fires. For a more in-depth look at how you can prevent chimney fires, check out our blog here.

To Wrap Up

Chimney fires are an unpleasant, but all-too-common occurrence. Fortunately, when you partner with a company like Brickworks, you can rest easy knowing you’ll receive the best possible masonry service. We handle a wide variety of brick and stone projects, and we’ll help you return your chimney to its former condition after a fire. Call us today at (586) 330-4920 to get started!


chimney repair

When Is the Right Time for Chimney Repair?

Just because you can’t see a problem, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Such is the case with chimneys. Indeed, many homeowners may not realize that their chimney is in dire need of either repair or maintenance –– simply because the issue exists within the chimney itself. However, not addressing a problem with your chimney could increase the risk of dangerous chimney fires and/or the release of gases into your home. Given that fact, today we’re going to explain when homeowners should schedule chimney inspections and maintenance and how best to go about chimney repair:

How Often Should I Get my Chimney Inspected?

The short answer to this question is at least once a year. If you use your fireplace often, though, you may want to ask for multiple inspections both before and after the winter. In addition, it’s a good idea to call a professional for an inspection if you suspect you may be at risk for a chimney fire. It’s also possible that you’ve had a chimney fire and not realized it. Some signs of a contained chimney fire include:

  • Dense smoke
  • Loud cracking and popping noises from the fire
  • Damaged flue tiles
  • Creosote build-ups
  • Damaged brick on the exterior of a chimney
  • Damaged sections of roof

If you notice any of these issues, you should stop using your chimney and contact a professional as fast as possible. Chimney fires can be extremely dangerous and costly.  

When is the Best Time for Chimney Repairs?

Typically, the best time of the year for chimney repairs –– or any sort of masonry or brick work –– is after the winter. During the winter months cold weather can affect brick exteriors and make them difficult to amend properly. Furthermore, since people use their chimneys most often in the winter, it makes sense to get any repairs done in the spring, or alternatively, in the fall before the cold sets in. However, as mentioned above, it’s wise to call a professional if you’re concerned about the safety of your chimney.

Basic Chimney Maintenance

Of course, it’s best to avoid chimney repair altogether! Thankfully, by following some basic chimney maintenance tips, you can. Always clean your fireplace after use, use only chimney-safe wood, and schedule regular inspections. For a more detailed look at how you can avoid chimney fires and chimney-repair issues, check out our blog here. Not only will keeping up with your chimney protect your home, but it will also save you money in the long run!

Contact a Professional

There’s nothing better than curling up next to a fire on a cold winter’s day. To make sure that you and your family can enjoy your fireplace and chimney –– and not fret about its safety –– contact a professional for maintenance and inspection. At Brickworks, we specialize in chimney repair, and know how to restore the interior and the exterior of your chimney. Plus, we handle all variety of masonry projects! If you’re worried about the safety of your chimney, or if you’re ready to schedule an inspection for next month, call us here at (586) 330-4887 We’re ready to help!


tuckpointing

Solid Tuckpointing Vs. Spot Tuckpointing: Is There A Difference?

Though professional masons understand the difference between solid and spot tuckpointing, most homeowners probably don’t. (For the uninitiated: tuckpointing is the process of replacing old or worn mortar between bricks with new mortar mix.) After all, the distinction between the two may seem minor. However, knowing when to request solid tuckpointing vs spot tuckpointing could actually save you a considerable amount of money –– and spare you some major headaches. In layman’s terms, solid tuckpointing refers to the process of tuckpointing an entire wall, exterior, or building. Spot tuckpointing, conversely, involves only fixing a small area of a brick (or stone) fixture. Here we’ll explain the pros and cons of both, when it makes sense to spot tuckpoint, and when you should call a professional for solid tuckpointing assistance:

Spot Tuckpointing

Unsurprisingly, spot tuckpointing is a great way to deal with external damage on a wall. So, for instance, if something were to collide with the side of your home and knock a few bricks loose or cause a small divot in your wall, spot tuckpointing will help you make your exterior look good as new. In addition, spot tuckpointing may be required if a small section of your exterior is exposed to more wind, rain, and/or freezing temperatures than the rest of your home. Furthermore, individuals who are looking to sell their home and improve its appearance quickly may want to consider spot tuckpointing to spruce up any faded or cracked patches.

Solid Tuckpointing

Solid tuckpointing can act as a brick-repair method and a practice to prevent brick deterioration in the first place. Most experts recommend solid tuckpointing on new brick homes after roughly 20-25 years (depending on weather and several other factors). However, as a brick home ages, you may need to tuckpoint more often to maintain the integrity of a wall. It’s also best to choose solid tuckpointing if you’re looking to enhance the overall appearance of your home. Lastly, if you’re concerned about potential long-term foundational issues, then solid tuckpointing is the way to go.

Spot vs Solid Tuckpointing DIY

As we covered in a previous blog, it is possible to tuckpoint on your own. And dedicated homeowners can indeed spot tuckpoint to positive effect. However, solid tuckpointing is a time-and-labor intense project that is better left to the professionals. In addition, messing up while spot tuckpointing can contribute to discolorations and inconsistent blotches in brick exteriors, as well as the potential for further cracks and damage.

Contact a Professional

Brick homes are classic and durable, and a little maintenance will go a long way to protecting your house for years to come. So don’t put off vital upkeep like tuckpointing if your home is overdue for a “check-up.” Remember, when you partner with Brickworks Property Restoration, we’ll make certain that your tuckpointing project goes as smoothly as possible –– in terms of both aesthetics and structure. Don’t wait to address a potential problem with your home’s facade –– call us today at (586) 330-4920!


masonry contractor

What to Look for When Hiring a Masonry Contractor

The choice of hiring a professional to perform brickwork and masonry on your home is an important one. The truth is, not all home-improvement contractors operate in the same way, and the quality of masonry, equipment, and practices used will make a big difference on the end result of a project. Because this decision carries such weight, today we’ll explain how homeowners can find the perfect masonry contractor for their situation:

Experience & Certifications

One of the simplest ways to determine the trustworthiness of any business is to see where it stands within its own industry. As such, research any masonry professional before you hire them, and ask if they’re certified by leading organizations in their field. What’s more, experience is imperative when it comes to brick repair and masonry. There’s no substitute for many years worth of working knowledge gained in the field!

Prior Work & Customer Reviews

As with any major purchase decision, it’s a good idea to look at the prior work history of any masonry contractor before you hire them for a job. Furthermore, genuine customer reviews will give you good insight into what kind of service you can expect from a brick-repair company.

Versatility

Making substantial foundation repairs requires a different skill set to removing stains from brick surfaces. The best masons understand how to tackle projects of all varieties –– inside, outside, chimneys, porches, brick, cultured stone, etc. Also, it’s worth noting that just because a problem may appear simply cosmetic in nature, even small cracks could indicate major structural deficiencies. So it’s imperative only to hire professionals who know how to address a multitude of home-improvement issues.

Value

Though it’s understandable for homeowners to try and save money by finding a low-cost brick-repair solution, the cheapest options don’t always represent the most value. In addition, some contractors will include additional charges for specialized equipment or materials if needed. And of course, the quality of the work and the equipment is often reflected in the price. Given all that, homeowners should seek out contractors who provide tangible, long-term value. It doesn’t make any sense to hire a cut-rate professional who doesn’t adequately address your masonry issue. Better to identify the company that can offer value for years to come.

Long-Term Support

Naturally, any completed masonry project should provide a homeowner peace of mind for years after the fact. Still, the most progressive brick-repair companies don’t just help homeowners solve existing issues, but also prevent future problems from occurring. Ask any prospective contractor how you can protect your home from common issues like brick stains or chimney fires; how willing they are to help you will tell you a lot about their commitment to service.

The Bottom Line

At Brickworks, we strive to help homeowners handle any issue they have with their house –– from tuckpointing and chimney maintenance to full-scale foundation renovations. We have years of industry experience and every member of our team is reliable and professional. With Brickworks, you’ll have a partner you can count on. So call us today at (586) 330-4887!