It’s important for all homeowners to understand the basics of chimney safety. Chimney fires can be seriously damaging and dangerous, and they can happen with seemingly little warning. Indeed, chimney damage can be subtle in part because internal issues inside the flue may not be easy to spot from the outside. Thankfully, by partnering with the right masonry company at the right time, you can prevent chimney issues from affecting your home or your family. Here’s how to know when you need chimney masonry repair: 

White Stains & Rust

An early indication of chimney trouble are white stains known as efflorescence that appear on the outside of brick structures. If you notice white stains on your chimney, or along the exterior of your home, then it’s likely that some level of moisture is affecting your brick exteriors. And moisture can lead to a whole host of problems for brick buildings and chimneys. 

Similarly, rusted dampers, fireboxes, or other metal appendages to your chimney are signs that too much moisture is entering your chimney. 

Cracked or Spalling Bricks

Damaged bricks can upset the structural integrity of a chimney. Even small cracks in bricks could be a sign of serious deterioration. So keep an eye out for loose bricks and spalling bricks around your chimney. 

Worn Mortar Joints

Mortar joints hold bricks together. When mortar joints become damaged, though, brick structures may become compromised as a result. The bad news is that many homeowners overlook wear and tear on mortar joints. After all, unless you’re willing to climb up on your roof to get a good look at your chimney from the outside, you may be able to see when mortar joints are cracking or degrading. Cracked, worn, or faded mortar joints require masonry work known as tuckpointing to restore. Tuckpointing can last a long time when performed properly, but bad weather and other factors could affect your chimney more than other parts of your home. (This is one of the reasons why chimney inspections are so crucial.)

Broken Chimney Cap

Chimney caps are crucial because they ensure proper ventilation for your chimney, and they also prevent animals from nesting within your chimney. Always replace a broken chimney cap ASAP, and install one if your house doesn’t have one yet. Chimney caps are also both relatively inexpensive and easy-to-install. Considering how beneficial they are, they’re one of the best investments you can make to protect your chimney and your home. 

Excessive or Black Smoke

Excessive, black, or billowing smoke is often the sign of a chimney fire. If you see heavy black smoke coming from your chimney, exit the house, call the fire department, and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself. Some chimney fires are self-contained –– meaning they remain within the chimney. But on other occasions, chimney fires can spread to the rest of your home or even nearby buildings. 

Time

If it’s been more than a year since your last chimney inspection, then you could very well need chimney masonry repair assistance and not know it yet. As we’ve established above, chimney issues can be very serious. However, by being proactive and scheduling regular maintenance and inspections, you can prevent most of these problems from occurring. Best of all, inspections are much cheaper than the massive costs associated with repairing a structurally-compromised chimney. Keep in mind also that just because you don’t need any chimney masonry repairs, it doesn’t mean your chimney is in 100% working order. Over time, substances like creosote can build up within the walls of your chimney. Excess creosote can then, in turn, cause or exacerbate flames and fires within a chimney. During a regular inspection, though, professionals can keep your chimney clear of creosote with products like Poultice Creosote Remover. 

One final note. While you should certainly follow chimney safety best practices –– like burning dried wood, watching active fires closely, and cleaning your chimney area after use –– it’s smart to leave major repairs or projects to the pros. In rare cases, improper chimney care can expose individuals to carbon monoxide. So rather than trying to address chimney problems on your own, consider speaking to a masonry contractor instead. They’ll be able to inform you if you need chimney cleaning, sweeping, or more substantial repairs. 

Contact Us

Chimney masonry repair is a serious issue that homeowners should prioritize. Even if you don’t notice any problems with your chimney, it’s important to schedule regular inspections to ensure your chimney is in working order and is safe to operate. Whether you’re concerned about a set of caved-in bricks, or you’re just overdue for an inspection you can contact the professionals at Brickworks today for help. We provide masonry services as well as chimney maintenance assistance like sweeping, cleaning, and removing creosote. Don’t wait another minute –– call today at (586) 330-4843.