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!

fireplace safety

8 Fireplace Safety Tips To Keep You Safe This Winter

There are few things more enjoyable than curling up in front of a warm fireplace on a snowy winter’s day. And considering that large parts of the Midwest and Northeast have been hit by some major snowstorms already this season, people have had plenty of opportunities to do so. However, as wonderful as fireplaces are, it’s essential that all homeowners follow these eight fireplace safety tips in order to protect themselves and their home. Check them out here:

Only Burn Dried, Cured Wood

Burning substances other than firewood (like paper) in a fireplace is both dangerous and unnecessary. Don’t try to start a fire with foreign materials and don’t use wood that’s wet. Wet wood and other objects produce dense smoke when they burn, and dense smoke contributes to creosote build up within the chimney, which is a major catalyst for chimney fires.

Store Your Wood Properly

Above all, keep your firewood dry. It’s not a bad idea to purchase your firewood for next year months in advance so that you can ensure that it’s stored properly.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps prevent downdrafts, animals building nests within your chimney, damaging moisture from entering your chimney, and chimney fires from spreading to adjacent buildings. There's no reason not to install one. 

Never Leave a Fire Unattended

Though it may seem obvious, it’s extremely unwise to leave a fire burning unattended. And never leave a fire burning around unsupervised children!

Purchase Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you plan on using your chimney regularly, then items like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential. Remember to always replace the batteries for these detectors because they just might save your life one day.

Keep Your Damper Open

It’s imperative that you keep your damper open until the fire is completely out. You can check the effectiveness of your damper by lighting a match and seeing if it flickers or not.

Clean Your Chimney Area Thoroughly

After a fire is out, make it a point to sweep away any ash, debris or embers. What’s more, never leave flammable materials –– like a rug –– next to a fireplace when in use.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Even if you strictly adhere to every fireplace safety practice, it’s essential that you call a professional to inspect and perform maintenance on your fireplace and chimney regularly. (Experts recommend at least twice a year.) Though you may not realize it, it’s possible that loose bricks caused by moisture or creosote build-ups are threatening the safety of your chimney –– and by extension –– your home.

Contact a Professional

No one likes to think about the possibility of chimney or house fires, yet tens of thousands occur every year. The good news is, by contacting a professional you can protect your home and your family. At Brickworks, we have decades of experience providing home-masonry solutions. From chimney maintenance to foundation repair, we’re ready to take on any project. So don’t wait –– call us today here at (586) 330-4920.

chimney caps

Why Are Chimney Caps So Important?

It’s hardly surprising that most homeowners don’t spend much time thinking about chimney caps. After all, chimney caps are inexpensive, they’re thoroughly unglamorous, and many homeowners don’t even realize that they need a cap for their chimney in the first place. Yet, the reality is, it’s important for everyone with a chimney in their home to purchase and maintain a cap for it. Here’s why:

Chimney Caps Limit Water Damage

Brick walls and exteriors –– especially those under twenty-five years old –– are solid and reliable. Indeed, one of the few things that can upset the structural integrity of a brick wall is moisture. Though brick is a strong material, it’s very porous, which means that water can pass through it. Over time, water damage can erode, chip, and splinter bricks. And the last place a homeowner wants to find brick damage is within their chimney. Besides the costs of chimney repairs, forgoing necessary chimney maintenance could create a safety hazard within your home. Fortunately, installing a simple chimney cap will limit your chimney’s exposure to rain and other forms of natural moisture.

Chimney Caps Prevent Animal Nests

Squirrels, birds, and other animals love to use the openings at the top of chimneys to build nests. While that might seem like a minor inconvenience at first, animal nests can block proper chimney ventilation and potentially cause build-ups of dangerous gases like carbon monoxide.

Chimney Caps Ensure Proper Ventilation

In addition to keeping rain and critters away from your chimney, chimney caps help maintain regular ventilation. Chimney caps inhibit wind from entering through the chimney and causing a downdraft within your house. As such, homeowners in particularly windy locales will want to invest in a chimney cap to stop this from occurring.   

Chimney Caps Help Contain Fires

No one likes to think about the possibility of a chimney fire, but there are over 25,000 chimney fires every year. Through a chimney cap won’t flat-out halt a chimney fire, it can contain burning embers and flames and stop them from spreading to your roof or adjoining buildings.

Chimney Caps Extend the Life of Your Chimney

As we mentioned above, a chimney cap is a small, inexpensive measure that can nevertheless save you a ton of money and plenty of stress. A chimney is a great addition to any home, but without proper maintenance, it can also cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Thankfully, installing a simple cap will make chimney upkeep that much easier!

Contact a Professional

There’s no benefit to waiting to add a chimney cap to your home –– so take action today and hire a professional to do it! At Brickworks, we have years of experience helping homeowners just like you protect their homes and enjoy their chimney to the fullest. What’s more, we’ll work with you to find the best solution possible so that you can avoid unnecessary expenses. Whether you need assistance with a chimney cap or require foundation assessment, we’re ready to take on your project. Don’t wait –– contact our team here at (586) 330-4920.

5 Maintenance Techniques for Avoiding Chimney Fires

A fireplace is a wonderful addition to any home. However, without proper fireplace and chimney maintenance, a fireplace can prove extremely dangerous. Indeed, chimney fires occur more often than many homeowners realize, and chimney fires can range in size and scale. Some are hardly noticeable, while others can lead to house fires, massive property damage, and even personal injury or death. Given that fact, it’s important for everyone with a fireplace to check out these five maintenance techniques to prevent chimney fires:

Get Your Chimney Inspected & Cleaned

One major contributor to chimney fires is a substance called creosote. Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, and this dark, oily substance will collect inside the walls of a chimney over time. The problem, of course, is that creosote is extremely flammable. So even if creosote isn’t the cause of a chimney fire (as it often is) its presence can add to the damage. The best way to deal with creosote is to contact a professional for regular inspections and maintenance.

Add a New Lining

Even small holes or cracks in the lining of your chimney can cause dangerous gas leakages and/or chimney fires. Often, these cracks are subtle, which is why it’s important to install a product like HeatShield, for instance, to restore the integrity of your chimney lining.

Burn Dry, Seasoned Wood

Wood that’s wet or that hasn’t been properly seasoned will burn differently than wood prepared specifically for a fireplace. Of particular concern is that “wet-wood” fires produce a lot of smoke. And more smoke means more creosote build-up, which in turn translates to a greater possibility for hazardous fires.

Manage Your Fires Responsibly

Unsurprisingly, bigger fires present a greater risk than smaller, well-maintained fires. What’s more, it’s never a good idea to use combustible liquids or materials to start a fire. Even burning something like a newspaper will increase the likelihood of a chimney fire. Keeping your fires small, and only using high-quality wood will help prevent destructive outcomes. Lastly, never leave a fire unattended.

Remove Blockages

Good air flow is key to safe and efficient chimney usage. Therefore, anything that blocks air flow within a chimney –– from creosote, to twigs, to birds nests at the top –– can affect its performance. Using creosote-remover powder in between inspections is also a smart way to reduce the risk of chimney fire. (Note, using products like creosote-remover powder should not be considered a substitute for regular inspections and cleanings.)

The Bottom Line

If you’re concerned about the safety of your chimney or fireplace, then don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional! At Brickworks, we have years of experience inspecting, cleaning, replacing, and repairing chimneys and chimney accessories. Our team members are skilled professionals who will ensure that your home-improvement project goes as smoothly as possible. Remember, maintenance and preventative measures will not only protect your home, but they’re also extremely cost-effective. Don’t wait until you have a problem with your chimney to address it –– be proactive and make the call today at (586) 330-4887!

Brickworks - What Does a Chimney Sweep Service Provide?

A good, professional, reliable chimney sweep service will clear your chimney of glazed creosote build-up and thereby ensure years of worry-free fireplace use.  When creosote builds up in your chimney, the next fire you burn in your fireplace could ignite.  While a chimney sweep service provides a clean and safer chimney, the real service that a chimney sweep provides is peace of mind.  This is exactly what Brickworks Property Restoration strives to do for each and every client we work with.

Why is a Chimney Sweep Important?

Like any fire that occurs in your home, a chimney fire can be catastrophic.  The fires you burn in your fireplace release gases and create soot that builds up on the interior walls of your chimney.  The more you burn, the more likely it is that you can have a fire in your chimney.  For a long time, the work of clearing chimneys of creosote build-up was not only thankless, but unreliable.  There is still a lot of bad press about some chimney sweep services that swindle their customers without doing much cleaning of their chimneys.  With Brickworks Property Restoration, however, you will work with a company that prioritizes excellent customer service and employs an amazing product that eliminates the build-up of creosote.  This product is called Poultice Creosote Remover, or PCR.  We apply the PCR, as a poultice, directly to the creosote build-up, which is absorbed by the PCR.  A day or two after application, we will then clear your chimney and flue of all creosote build-up.

Brickworks Property Restoration can provide you with regular chimney sweep services to ensure that it remains in good condition.  We recommend a thorough cleaning approximately every four years, and we can recommend a number of practices for the most efficient burning of wood, which will prolong the life of your chimney and minimize the risk of a chimney fire.  If you notice that you have a larger amount of soot in your fireplace, it could be an indication of build-up in your chimney.  This makes your selection of a chimney sweep all the more important.  Not all chimney sweep services are created equally.

Full Service Chimney Sweep Company

We are a full-service chimney service.  While clearing chimneys of creosote is the most important service any chimney sweep can offer, there are associated services that we provide, which help to ensure the long-term well-being of your chimney.  Our services include:

If you would like more information on our chimney sweep services or would like to schedule a time for us to provide one or more services, call Brickworks Property Restoration at (586) 868-3234 and we will be happy to help you.

When is the Last Time your Chimney Was Checked for Structural Integrity?

The chimney of your home may not be an area that you stress about frequently, but it is in fact a very important part of your residence. When is the last time that your chimney was checked for structural integrity? If it has been a very long time or if it has never been checked, there’s no better time than now. The first important step is to find a reliable, affordable and experienced chimney expert that can properly evaluate your chimney’s structural integrity. There’s no better choice for you as a homeowner than our dedicated team at Brickworks Property Restoration.

Maintaining your Chimney

A study completed by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) found that 36% of residential home fires are caused by creosote buildup, which is found in chimneys where wood is burned. There’s no better way to ensure that this buildup doesn’t occur in your home than to have your chimney checked regularly for its structural integrity. This is not the only thing that you need to consider when evaluating your chimney. There may be brick damage that has developed over the years that needs to be addressed. At Brickworks Property Restoration, we are committed to finding the perfect match for your existing chimney so that you will not be able to tell that a repair was completed by our team.

Guarantee the Best Brick Match

When it comes to strengthening the structural integrity of your chimney and repairing any brick damage, our repair specialists guarantee that your new bricks will be a perfect match. To make sure this is the case, we utilize the most up to date color chart to provide you with the most ideal brick match. Additionally, we have access to 15-20 masonry supply yards to find the perfect brick match. Before completing the repair, we will always bring 2-3 brick samples to your home to make sure that you are comfortable with the brick that is chosen.

Free Chimney Check

There’s no better time than now to check the structural integrity of your chimney. To make this easier for our potential clients, take advantage of the free chimney check that our team at Brickworks Property Restoration offers. All you need to do is call in the request and we’ll let you know the state of your chimney.

So, if it has been a long time since your chimney was last checked for structural integrity, it’s time to do something about that! To request a free, no obligation chimney evaluation, give our staff at Brickworks Property Restoration a call today at (586) 868-3234.

Why Does My Chimney Smell in the Summer?

If you are noticing a strange smell coming from your chimney or fireplace during the summer, it is very likely due to deposits of creosote, a natural byproduct of wood-burning that may have built up on the walls of your chimney. People tend to notice the smell in the summer because of higher humidity outside meeting the cooler air of central air or window air-conditioning units. The airflow in your house tends to draw down the air in your chimney.

Causes of Odor Coming From Your Chimney
Though creosote build-up is the most common culprit, it is not the only one. Creosote deposits whose scent is making its way into your home is often described as smelling like asphalt or bad barbecue. If the odor you are smelling is not creosote, it could be something as simple as leaves that have fallen into your chimney that are decomposing. Or, if the odor you are smelling is musty and dank, it could indicate that water is sitting in the smoke chamber of your chimney. A more offensive smell like animal waste could be caused by mice, rats, birds, or other animals getting into your chimney and using it as their own personal restroom. And lastly, a smell that you cannot ignore could be a sign of a dead animal in your chimney.

The moral of the story, of course, is that it is extremely important to have your chimney properly maintained. At Brickworks Property Restoration we offer exceptional chimney sweep services. We’re trained professionals with deep ties to our community, which means that we are invested in doing a good job for you. If the smell coming from your chimney is due to animal infiltration or water, we will fix the problem quickly and thoroughly. If the smell is due to creosote deposits, we will also fix the problem, but you should be aware that this fix could well prevent a fire in your chimney the next time it is used. When creosote builds up on the walls of your chimney, it becomes a severe fire hazard. Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, but the only reliable way of removing the creosote buildup is to hire a qualified professional team, like those of us at Brickworks Property Restoration, to do the job.

Chimney Sweep Services
Not all chimney smells indicate major problems. But if there is a chance that the smell coming from your chimney could be bigger than you may realize, we want you to know you have a professional nearby who will respond to the problem in the best possible way. Give us a call at 586-868-3234 and we will be happy to come out and take a look at your chimney.

Repair Your Chimney with Safe, Effective Heat Shield® Services

Have you ever asked yourself how your chimney actually works? Chimneys have been a common household fixture since the 16th or 17th century. A chimney provides warmth and nostalgia for many homes today. However, chimneys do have their fair share of problems. Most notably, a chimney fire can occur when too many creosote deposits disrupt the airflow. At Brickworks, when your chimney is in need of repair, we want to properly fix it as safe and effectively as we can. That’s why we choose Heat Shield® for almost all of our chimney repairs.

What is Heat Shield®?

Heat Shield® is a coating that helps protect your chimney from excessive heat. It is a revolutionary method that has been used in the past for industries that create things that reach extreme temperatures, like space crafts or automotive devices. Recently, it has been greatly utilized in chimney repair, ultimately providing safety, functionality and cost effectiveness to every chimney that we repair at Brickworks. Heat Shield® relines the flame retardant concrete and completely seals and restores your chimney flue to full functionality.

How is it Safe?

There are many things that can cause a chimney fire and Heat Shield® helps prevent them all. It is the safest method of chimney repair and the most cost effective as well! Whether your mortar joints in your chimney are misaligned or the build-up of too many hazardous deposits are present, Heat Shield® is made to correct those issues and allow for proper ventilation in your chimney. This gives every homeowner peace of mind knowing that every time they light their chimney, the fire is able to be properly ventilated.

How Does it Improve Function?

We know that Heat Shield® is safe and cost effective, but does it really help? Heat Shield® allows our certified chimney repair professionals to keep the existing foundation of your chimney, repair it and add Heat Shield® to increase the airflow. Alternatives to this method would be steel liners and other restrictive measures that can be expensive and still decrease the airflow within your chimney. Optimum airflow ultimately improves the function of every chimney and allows proper ventilation to occur.

Brickworks only wants to repair your chimney with safe, effective Heat Shield® services that will give you peace of mind. For more information about Heat Shield® or our chimney repair services at Brickworks, give us a call today at (586) 868-3234.

Why You Shouldn't Paint Your Brick Chimney | Chimney Repair Detroit, MI

If you do not like the appearance of your brick, you may be tempted to paint it. In theory, this will modernize the exterior and make it fit the theme of your home. However, painting your brick chimney might do more harm than good. Here are some reasons to avoid painting a brick chimney.

Your Bricks Need to Breathe

The temperature inside your chimney is different than the temperature outside your chimney. This creates moisture buildup, like steam from a hot shower. The moisture goes into the bricks and escapes through the pores. If you have paint on the bricks, the moisture has nowhere to go.

What Happens When Moisture Gets Trapped in Bricks

Painted bricks trap moisture because their pores are no longer exposed. The same issue can occur with improper brick sealants. Some sealants are designed to have some breathability, protecting the brick without completely masking it. Other sealants are made to act like clear paint, which is not what you want for your home.

The trapped moisture will attack your mortar first. The mortar will start to break down, damaging the structural integrity of your brickwork. This may lead to extensive brick damage later on, or it may cause your chimney to crumble altogether.

The Right Way to Paint Brick Chimneys

The information above doesn't mean that you cannot paint your brick chimney. You just need to go about it in the right way. Talk to a chimney repair company like Brickworks Property Restoration about your plans. We will send one of our brick repair experts to your home to examine your chimney and create a path for the smoke and moisture to follow. This is similar to using gutters to collect water from your roof. As long as the moisture has somewhere to go, it will not damage your brick.

If you need a chimney repair due to previous brick damage, we provide that service as well. We work with 15-20 brick supply yards near Metro Detroit, MI, so we can find the best possible match for your brick and mortar. No matter when your home was constructed, we can find a replacement that's right for you. Contact us at (586) 868-3234 to schedule your no obligation chimney repair consultation.