Chimney Repair Companies

4 Tips When Looking For Chimney Repair Companies

You never think about your chimney until there’s a problem with it, right? Well, you’re not alone! Whether you’re looking for chimney masonry repair or another serious complication with your chimney, it’s important to make sure you hire the best company for the job.

Here are 4 tips to consider when you’re looking for chimney repair companies that are sure to help you find the right business in no time.  

Ask Friends & Family

One of the first things we do when we need a referral is turn to our friends and family. There’s comfort in knowing that someone else has used a business before with positive outcomes. That’s why asking loved ones if they’ve had experience with chimney repair companies is one of the first things you should do when you’re looking for one.

Ask if they’ve had their chimney repaired or had chimney maintenance done by a company they’d recommend. Hearing from someone you trust can put your mind at ease when you’re in need of repair work for your home. It helps to hear about their experience so you know what to expect and even more importantly – what to avoid. 

Check Out Websites

A simple Google search is another one of the easiest ways to start your search for a chimney repair company. After you’ve found a few online, be sure to look at their website. Pay attention to the quality of content and information they have on their webpage.

You want to be skeptical about chimney repair companies that don’t have a website or have little to no information available online. Companies that offer plenty of information, pictures, and reviews tend to be more reliable. 

Speaking of reviews, that leads us to our next tip.

Look at Online Reviews 

The power of the internet allows us to have access to hundreds of people’s experiences before hiring a company for home services. Check out what other people are saying about them by reading through some of their reviews. Even if your friend referred you to a company, it’s important to still do a little independent research to be sure they’re a good fit for your needs.

It’s no surprise that you only want to consider the chimney repair companies that have multiple positive reviews and steer clear of the ones that have under three stars. We’ve all experienced a time in our life when we neglected to check out reviews before it was too late. Be proactive and be glad you did!

Call Around

The last step you should take in your search for a good repair company is to call around to local businesses. It would help to create a list of a few companies that stood out to you after checking online and speaking with friends and family.

When you call them, be sure to go into the conversation prepared. Ask them about pricing, availability, and how their process looks. This will give you a better understanding of what it would be like to hire them. After your calls, you should have a clear picture of which company you feel will suit your needs the best and get your chimney functioning normally again in no time.

Chimney Repair Companies: Brickworks Tops the Charts

Brickworks Property Restoration tops the list of award-winning chimney repair companies in Detroit and has been satisfying customers for over a decade. When you’re in need of chimney repair services, contact us and we’ll help get your home in order!


chimney maintenance

When Should You Schedule Chimney Maintenance?

Even if you don’t use your fireplace a lot, chimneys need to be regularly maintained in order for your home to be safe and free of functional issues. Here’s what you need to know about chimney maintenance:

How Often Should You Schedule Chimney Maintenance?

The National Fire Protection Association recommends a yearly inspection of your home’s chimney, followed by a cleaning if necessary. In addition to normal soot accumulation, chimneys are ideal nesting spots for birds, squirrels, bats and raccoons, the debris of which can pose potential issues if not properly and regularly cleared. Even if you don’t actually see a problem with your chimney, soot, ashes, branches, leaves and other matter can block the flow of smoke, air and other gases and leave your chimney and/or even entire home susceptible to damage. At Brickworks Property Restoration, we suggest yearly maintenance for your chimney in order to avoid bigger — and potentially life-threatening — issues down the line. 

Specific Reasons to Schedule Chimney Maintenance

The main reason to schedule maintenance is to keep your chimney working normally. When performed properly, regular chimney maintenance helps to:

  • Prevent Chimney FiresChimney fires most commonly occur as a result of creosote buildup within the interior walls of a chimney. Creosote is a highly flammable, tar-like substance that forms as the chemicals and other particles within smoke cool and condense on their way out of a chimney. It accumulates over time, moving through three stages of buildup, each one progressively harder to remove than the last. With regular chimney maintenance, however, creosote is removed before it becomes concentrated (and, thus, more difficult to clear and more likely to catch fire).
  • Clear Debris — A large bird’s nest or other rogue animal lair can partially or completely block a chimney, making it impossible for smoke to escape your home when you use your fireplace. The nest itself poses a fire hazard, as well, since nesting materials are typically vulnerable to catching fire. Chimney maintenance allows you to clean your chimney of soot and other debris so that your chimney correctly directs smoke and other toxic chemicals and gases out of your fireplace and has nothing extraneous within its interior that could possibly ignite.
  • Remove Odors from the Home — Debris in a chimney can also smell. Chimney maintenance provides the opportunity for you to remove unpleasant odors that stem from creosote buildup, soot and animal or other natural debris!
  • Identify Possible Problems — Finally, regular chimney maintenance is the perfect time to look for possible problems with the structural integrity of the chimney itself. It can uncover damaged flue tiles, crowns and flashing; cracked liners; missing mortar and caps; faulty dampers and more! Identifying these types of issues immediately helps protect your home from more expensive and extensive damage in the future.

Want to Learn More?

If your home has a chimney, you should be scheduling routine chimney maintenance. Regular inspections will help protect your home and keep you and your family safe. Please contact Brickworks Property Restoration to learn more about chimney maintenance or to have your chimney’s structural integrity inspected today.


repointing brick

How Repointing Brick Improves the Value of Your Home

Repointing brick is the process by which decayed or missing mortar between joints in masonry construction is repaired. Over time, the mortar that holds bricks together wears away. Repointing brick is the best way to restore the mortar in a brick wall. Here’s why repointing brick adds value to your home:

It Restores Structural Stability

First and foremost, repointing brick restores structural stability to your home or porch. Mortar is a malleable paste that is used to bind bricks, stone and concrete blocks to one another during construction. When dried, it fills in the gaps between the wall’s units, helping to distribute the wall’s weight more evenly and, thus, making the wall itself stronger. Like most things, however, mortar deteriorates over time. Eventually, weather and age wear away mortar, leaving voids between the wall’s individual units. Replacing all missing and weakened mortar restores the wall’s strength so that it doesn’t bulge, crack or eventually collapse.

It Deters Water Damage

Repointing brick also prevents water damage, one of the biggest threats to a home or building. As mentioned, mortar seals the joints between a wall’s building units. It doesn’t just make the wall stronger, though; it also protects the wall, as well as the building inside. When applied correctly, mortar keeps rain and other debris from entering the home. If there is missing or degraded mortar, water can seep through the wall and cause serious damage. Not only can rain erode the integrity of a building’s structure, it can also provoke harmful fungal growth that precipitates numerous serious health conditions.

It Provides Insulation

If restoring stability to your home and preventing further damage aren’t enough reasons to repair missing or damaged mortar in your wall, then consider your home’s ability to keep you warm. If you have gaps between the bricks or stones in your wall, you’re leaking valuable heat from the interior of your home. Repointing brick works to keep your house insulated, saving you money on your monthly utility bills!

It Prevents the Need for More Expensive Repairs

And speaking of saving money: repointing brick is a good way to prevent more expensive repairs down the road. It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to fill in some missing mortar than it is to erect a whole new wall or mitigate and restore a home that’s been damaged by water.

It Improves Curb Appeal

Finally, repointing brick just makes your home look better! Applying fresh, clean mortar is a simple way to refresh your home’s exterior appearance and keep it on par with neighboring homes.

Want to Learn More?

To learn more about repointing brick and how it adds value to your home, please contact Brickworks Property Restoration. Our experts can help you assess your home’s own masonry repair needs so that it is safe, as well as visually pleasing for years to come.

 


first fire

5 Tips for Burning Your First Fire of the Year

Nothing creates ambiance in the chilly winter months like warming your home with a fireplace. If you’re ready to burn your fireplace for the first time this winter, it’s important to take a few precautions in order to ensure that you are able to keep your family and your home safe. 

Here are 5 important tips for burning your first fire of the year - and ensuring that you are doing so safely.

1. Make Sure Your Fireplace is Clear

Before burning your first fire, make sure that your fireplace is free and clear of any animals and leaves. This can be done by opening up your fireplace flue and shining a flashlight to ensure that you can clearly see out of the top. Additionally, you should check to make sure that there are no branches stuck inside your fireplace, as this can inhibit the flow of air out of the chimney, causing a major fire hazard.

2. Inspect the Flue

Inspect your flue and the interior system of your fireplace to ensure that there is no excessive damage or any open cracks. Making sure that nothing looks abnormal on the fireplace’s exterior and interior can help to ensure that a fire will burn safely. If anything looks out of the ordinary, be sure to pay closer attention to this area, and contact professionals if you think you are dealing with a problem.

3. Check for Creosote

Check inside your fireplace for creosote; aka the grime that collects inside your fireplace. Creosote is often black and can appear fluffy, shiny, or even gummy. If you notice creosote inside your fireplace, DO NOT BURN a fire! This is extremely dangerous. Consult a professional chimney company.

4. Clean Your Fireplace

Ahead of your first fire of the winter, take the time to clean out your ash dump door (or the door inside your fireplace where the ashes fall when burning). Most professional sweeping companies will not take the time to clean dump doors out, leaving many homeowners responsible for this task in order to ensure a safe burn. Use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner such as a ShopVac to make sure your fireplace is clean, including your ash dump door and above your smoke shelf.

5. Double Check Your Smoke Alarms

One of the most important precautions you can take ahead of burning your first fire is to ensure that you have working smoke detectors in all rooms of your home that are near your fireplace. Bear in mind that, although using a fireplace might seem like no big deal, you are intentionally lighting a fire in your home and attempting to keep it controlled - this means that having working smoke alarms is important.

Maintaining a fireplace and taking safety precautions ahead of your first fire takes a lot of consideration and hard work in order to protect yourself, your family, and your home. If you find that this level of preparation and maintenance is too much, contact Brickworks. From chimney repair to debris removal, our team of experts is here to help get your fireplace ready for the season.


what is a lintel

What is a Lintel and Why Should I Maintain It?

A lintel is a beam that has been placed on the top of a door or window to support the weight of the building materials above it. It’s a very common structural element and can be made using a variety of materials, including (but, of course, not limited to) timber, brick, concrete, steel, and stone. Here’s why you should know the answer to “What is a lintel?”

What is a Lintel Used For?

As mentioned, lintels are a ubiquitous part of construction. Windows, doors, fireplaces, and other types of wall openings are not designed to provide structural support. Thus, when they are added to a building, the surrounding walls of that building must be reinforced to account for the concentrated load bearing down at each opening point. Adding a lintel horizontally across the top of a wall opening helps distribute the weight of the building more evenly, thus alleviating the burden on the door or window’s vacant space. It also protects the building (especially those built using masonry materials) against wind, earthquakes, and other lateral load-bearing events. And in some instances, lintels are used for a two-fold purpose, not simply buttressing the building itself, but adding a decorative touch to it.

Why You Need to Maintain Lintels

Failing to install and/or maintain the correct type of lintels exposes your home to several potential catastrophes. You should inspect your property, especially the lintels surrounding your doors, window, and fireplaces, in order to:

  • To Protect the Structural Integrity of Your Home — Lintels provide structural stability to your home. If you don’t keep them well-maintained, your walls could literally fall down around you!
  • To Preserve the Functionality of Your Windows and Doors — Lintels also protect the opening in your walls, allowing whatever occupies that space (window, door, fireplace, etc.) to remain sturdy and to function as intended.
  • To Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal — Of course, part of your home’s aesthetics rely on the building itself being free of architectural flaws. Don’t dilute your home’s curb appeal by allowing sightly cracks, rust or other corrosion to settle in your lintels.
  • To Defend Your Home Against Water Damage Water can seep into a home through the tiniest defect, creating a host of problems that range from cosmetic issues to mold and mildew growth and other serious structural damage that is hard to repair.
  • To Save Money — Needless to say, maintaining your lintels ultimately saves you money. A rotten, cracked or otherwise deteriorated lintel can be expensive to replace. Save yourself the headache and some cash by looking for and fixing small problems before they require total renovation.

Want to Learn More?

“What is a lintel?” is an important question, and one that all homeowners should know how to answer. Lintels protect the overall structure of your home, as well as the stability of all your wall openings. Don’t risk the integrity of your doors, windows and fireplaces or your home itself by failing to maintain your lintels. Our team here at Brickworks Property Restoration can help you better understand the value of lintels and how best to repair them should you ever encounter a problem with them. Please contact us today.

 


basement wall repair

Basement Wall Repair With Brickworks

Here at Brickworks Property Restoration, some of our most fulfilling projects are solving problems and helping customers who are not happy with the work they received from another contracting company. A great example of this is a customer who hired a big box vendor to do a foundation repair and did not get the results they were hoping for. These vendors often use their own unique, patented systems for projects such as basement wall repair or foundation repairs, which can lead to unfortunate issues for homeowners. In this case, their product was holding up, however, it was not actually fixing the problem that needed to be addressed. At Brickworks, we are proud to offer solutions to customers in these situations and fix problems the right way, like they should have been done the first time.

A Basement Wall Repair That Couldn’t Be Done

In this example, the customer called over 15 contractor companies, but could not find anyone to complete their basement wall repair. Their wall was completely buckling, and although this $24,000 project was still under warranty, the vendor they hired for the project was not honoring it. Big box companies charge users tens of thousands of dollars for the completion of projects that do not solve a home’s issues at their root. While these companies often promise warranties for clients who might experience issues, they rarely stand by them, leaving homeowners with debt and issues such as a failing home foundation.

The Problem With Big Box Companies

The biggest names in the foundation industry use their own patented systems for repairs, meaning they do not have the bandwidth or the technical knowledge to actually give their customer what they need. In this situation, the customer needed a complete wall rebuild. 

When redoing basement wall repair projects, Brickworks guarantees that a project will be done right the first time, by following industry standards and above and making sure that our team members are safe and able to give the customer the product that they’re paying for, and originally needed.

Improper Basement Rebuilding Tactics

In this $24,000 project, the major contracting company used bolts that were screwed into the floor and used C-channel brackets to hold and pull the brackets together with soil pressure. While this system may work in some applications, in this instance, the basement wall was broken around the brackets. There is no denying that this was a completely improper method of basement rebuilding. Since the product was still standing, the fine print of its lifetime warranty revealed that the customers would have to pay out of pocket for a repair. 

Big box vendors cannot look past their own patented systems to address actual customer needs.  At Brickworks, we know when a project doesn’t look right, and we guarantee that we will take care of it, leaving our customers safe and satisfied.

Contact Brickworks for Major Repairs

The foundation of your home is the foundation of your life. Leave major projects such as basement wall repair to the professionals at Brickworks Property Restoration, not big box companies who cannot look outside of their own systems for projects that need an actual solution. Contact us today to get it fixed the right way!


through wall flashing

Why You Should Ask Your Builder About Through Wall Flashing

All buildings need external flashing. Flashing prevents water from penetrating the walls of a structure. In some instances, however, you also need internal flashing (i.e., “through wall flashing”). Here’s what you need to know so you can ask your builder if one or both types of flashing is appropriate for your own home:

What is Through Wall Flashing?

As mentioned, there are two basic types of flashing. External (or exposed) flashing is the kind you see around the exterior of a home where walls intersect the foundation, roof, windows, and doors. It protects the seams between building materials by preventing water from entering what would otherwise be exposed joints. All types of buildings made from all types of materials need some form of external flashing in several different places.

Internal (or concealed) flashing, on the other hand, is routinely added to buildings that make use of cavity walls. A cavity wall is a type of external wall that is composed of two layers (separated by a small gap) instead of one solid one. Contractors choose to build cavity walls when the materials being used for the exterior portion of a building or home are especially vulnerable to water damage, such as with masonry materials.

Why Masonry Homes Need Internal or Through Wall Flashing

Homes made from brick and stone need through wall flashing because these types of materials (masonry) are permeable; water and humidity can pass through them. If there is nowhere for that water to drain or a means by which it can evaporate, mold and mildew can develop, rotting the wall and anything near it, as well as exposing the inhabitants inside the building to dangerous mold. 

Builders combat the permeable nature of masonry by constructing cavity walls. The hollow space between the inner and outer walls provides a place for any water that enters through the bricks to drain away from the inner wall. Internal or through wall flashing is simultaneously added within the cavity to accurately route and drain the water through weep holes. The combination of cavity walls, plus flashing and drainage holes, works as a whole to protect the rest of the entire structure.

Safeguard Your Home By Asking Your Builder about Using the Right Type of Flashing

Flashing is an important part of quality construction. It’s especially important when building homes with porous materials like stucco and brick, some of the most common materials used in new homes today. Understanding the different types of flashing and knowing when and where to use them, allows you to better protect your home’s integrity and helps you avoid expensive water damage to your home down the line.

Want to Learn More?

Too often here at Brickworks Property Restoration, we see the damage that water can cause to a home. If you would like to learn more about the best ways to protect what’s likely your biggest investment — your home — please contact us today.


historical building restoration

Historical Building Restoration: What You Need To Know

People have been conducting historical building restoration projects for many decades in order to preserve pieces of rich history that would otherwise have been lost. Doing so takes an intense amount of time, skill, and research so that everything is up to code and regulations are taken care of, and also so that the restoration process is done as efficiently and accurately as possible.

It takes a professional team of experienced inspectors and restorationists to perform the correct actions required of historical restoration, but they’ll know the ins and outs of anything they come across, and it wouldn’t hurt if you did too.

Keeping it Classic 

The highest priority when undergoing a historical building restoration is to preserve the original structure and keep its classic aesthetic while doing so. You aren’t updating an any old house or redesigning your living room. Buildings that are a part of history need to be restored to their former glory without compromising their true character, otherwise, you risk stripping them of those features that made them timeless.

While the structure could benefit from additional changes or reworks aside from the standard restoration, it wouldn’t just be restored, it would be changed from its original design, and that simply isn’t what protecting a historic monument is about—take the multitude of historic art restoration disasters as an example.

Abide by the Code

Just because a structure has its place in history doesn’t mean it can override building codes. While historical buildings must abide by their own specific rules and regulations, they do exist. If you don’t already have the proper background knowledge and education to handle these regulations, it is best to hire a professional company that is familiar with these matters, such as Brickworks Property Restoration.

By hiring a professional, you’ll be able to hand them the reins to make sure all the proper protocols and compliances are met to get the job done right. They’ll have the experience of having done historical restorations in your area before, meaning they can save you a lot of the hassle of familiarizing yourself with local standards.

Use Original Materials

Repairs should be prioritized over replacements when possible, but in the event that certain features are in need of replacing, it is important to ensure that all the materials being used are authentic to the time period. While it would be easier and more efficient to use many of our modern techniques and materials, doing so would go against the historical integrity of the building. 

This also means that any materials used not only be from the appropriate time period, but that they also remain consistent with the original in design, material, texture, color, and size. The goal of historical building restoration is to preserve what was special about the structure, and using all of the original materials is crucial when doing so.

From Crumbling to Glowing

Performing a historical building restoration is much different from your typical restoration project. It takes much more time, research, and expertise in order to ensure that the task is done correctly, but by the time it’s finished, the building will go from a crumbling pile of bricks to a glowing monument to history.

Need to know more about a particular restoration project? Contact Brickworks Property Restoration today for more information and a free inspection.


what is a mortar joint

What is a Mortar Joint & Why Do They Leak?

When it comes to aesthetics, many people are keen on the classic brick look. It’s timeless, it’s cozy, and, when done correctly, it makes for a solid structure that’s capable of keeping the inside of your household safe. But a brick house or porch is only as reliable as the mortar joints that hold it together. 

But what is a mortar joint? Why are they important when it comes to brickwork? Are they susceptible to cracks and leaking? And can said leaking be preventable?

What is a Mortar Joint?

So, what is a mortar joint exactly? Essentially, a mortar joint is a bond between bricks that holds them together. Made out of cement, lime, and sand mixture, mortar joints come in a variety of shapes and sizes, durabilities, colors, soundproofing, and weatherproofing. When done correctly, mortar joints are capable of holding immense loads and lasting for long periods of time. They are best performed by experienced professionals that know which types to use and how to make them in order to avoid potential problems from arising.

Types of Mortar Joints

Knowing what a mortar joint is and does is one thing, but understanding the different types of mortar joints is another. There are several different kinds of mortar joints, each of which can be better utilized in specific circumstances than another and vary in integrity. For instance, there is the raked joint, iron joint, weather struck joint, flush joint, concave joint, vee joint, extruded joint, squeeze joint, beaded joint, grapevine joint, and more. Understanding which type of joint to use for your project is crucial for creating a structurally sound foundation.

Why Do Mortar Joints Leak?

Unfortunately, mortar joints can sometimes become susceptible to leaks. This can occur if the mortar isn’t constructed properly, but can generally be avoided by using a professional company like Brickworks. However, in most instances, these leaks are caused by deterioration over time. When the mortar begins to fail after prolonged weathering, small cracks can form or water can seep in through new spaces.

This can be prevented for a time by waterproofing the exterior foundation with a sealant or coating to fight off deterioration. However, eventually, the issue will need to be fixed, in which case you’ll need to contact an experienced professional.

Fixing Your Leaking Mortar Joints

Do you have leaking mortar joints? Not to worry. With the help of the experienced professionals at Brickworks Property Restoration, your home’s structural foundation will remain secure and intact for many years to come. 

Want to learn more? Get a free estimate by contacting us via email or phone at (586) 330-4920 today!


masonry repair

3 Things You Need to Know About Masonry Repair

Brick chimneys, concrete basements, cement driveways, heavy-duty porches: all of these structures are possible with the help of professional and skilled masons. These types of masonry construction are done all over the world on homes, businesses, and more, and just as they are built, so too do they need repairing. But when undergoing masonry repair, there are a few things you need to know about.

Why is it Necessary?

Masonry damage can happen for a number of reasons, such as excessive moisture, cracking, displacement, bond failure, and more. Regardless of the cause, having masonry repair done is crucial to uphold the integrity of any structure. Masonry is still commonly used in residential construction, as well as industrial and commercial structures, and without taking the proper time and care to make needed repairs, you risk the crumbling and deterioration of the very foundation that is supporting the walls around you and the roof over your head.

When is it Necessary?

Succumbing to the occasional damages over time, even minor ones, is inevitable—even with the most expertly constructed pieces. While you should never ignore damage to masonry work, minor damages like hairline cracks can be repaired with simple caulking, but larger cracks and deteriorating foundations will need more substantial masonry repairs. 

This same mindset applies to virtually every type of masonry structure. Old chimneys can withstand a few nicks and scratches, but if you begin to notice missing bricks and existing ones turning to dust, you should call a professional as quickly as possible. Not only that, but noticing growing cracks and fissures in your porch or brick wall might be a result of more serious underlying issues like dampening that need repointing before more damage can occur. 

What's the Cost?

The cost for masonry repair can range by quite a bit, depending on the repair type and how extensive the damage is, as well as the geographical location of your home. On average, most masons charge between $50 to $75 per hour of work, with minimum flat fees generally falling around $300. These numbers can fluctuate by significant margins and often times better estimates can be made based on specific tasks, such as chimney repair, foundation repairs, porch repairs, tuckpointing, spalling, or any other area of masonry work. 

Once you have identified the problem area, you can gather additional information on accurate costs as they pertain to your particular situation. More often than not, the repairs are worth the cost—especially if it is going to cost you even more by putting them off.

Hire a Professional

Masonry repair will eventually be necessary, whether you need it for a cracked porch, crumbling brick, or anything in between. When you reach this stage, it’s best to call a professional like Brickworks Property Restoration to get quality masonry and foundation repair from experts in the field. 

Need masonry repair done? We’ve got you covered. Just give us a call at 586-330-4887 today to learn more!