When to Call a Chimney Repair Professional


Chimney Repair Baltimore can range from simple and quick to complex and time-consuming. Knowing when to call a professional will help minimize the repair cost. Look for rust on metal components like the damper and flue liner. Rust can cause problems, including excessive moisture that leads to spalling and freeze-thaw damage.chimney

Several things, including flooding from heavy rain, a chimney flue leak, or a damaged masonry structure, can cause water damage. Whatever the source of the leak, it is important to contact a masonry repair professional as soon as possible. Leaving these issues unrepaired can lead to mold growth, chimney failure, and costly structural damage. Homeowners can help prevent these issues by regularly inspecting their chimneys, installing a chimney cap to keep debris and rain from entering the fireplace, and promptly repairing any signs of damage.

Cracks in the chimney crown are another common problem that should be repaired immediately. The chimney crown is a sloping cement layer that covers the top of the masonry section of the chimney. This surface is designed to protect the masonry from moisture but will crack and deteriorate over time. Chimney professionals can repair these areas by coating them with a waterproof sealant. A full replacement may be required if the chimney crown is severely damaged.

Another common cause of water damage is cracked, missing, or corroded flashing. The flashing is the metal strip that connects the roof and the chimney. A chimney repair expert will inspect the flashing for any signs of rust or corrosion and replace or repair any corroded sections. Chimney repair experts can also use a special caulking compound to fill gaps between the chimney and roof.

The chimney liner is a crucial part of the chimney, as it directs smoke, gases, and other dangerous byproducts out of the home. If the chimney liner is cracked or damaged, carbon monoxide can enter the home. This poisonous gas is colorless and odorless, making it hard to detect without the help of a specialized detector. Chimney repair specialists can replace a damaged chimney liner with a new one or repair the existing one using a technique known as slip casting.

While homeowners need to sweep their chimneys regularly and monitor them for signs of deterioration, they should never attempt to repair them themselves. Fixing problems like minor cracks or a leaning chimney can be extremely dangerous. It is recommended that homeowners only seek the services of a qualified and experienced masonry repair professional to avoid any serious problems.

Mortar joints take the brunt of wall movement, foundation settlement, and exposure to weather. Mortar provides a buffer between bricks designed to crack and deteriorate before the brick itself. Still, excessive moisture damage can lead to mortar joint cracks that allow water into the home or chimney structure. Water seeping through damaged mortar joints can cause mildew growth and other issues, including structural instability, mold, and wood rot.

Traditional tuckpointing replaces deteriorated mortar with new lime-based mortar to preserve the historic brick and repair the chimney’s integrity. Mortar joint repair can be a DIY project for those with some masonry experience. Still, it’s usually best to hire a professional, especially on larger buildings or structures requiring access to safety equipment.

One way to check if the brick mortar on your building is deteriorating is by running a screwdriver or hammer along the mortar edge. If the mortar is easily scratched, it’s time to call in a professional to replace the softened mortar. Another sign is if the mortar is crumbling or the joint depth is more than 1/4″ from its original level.

Several things can cause cracks in the mortar, but the most common cause is excess moisture entering the masonry walls and freezing as it expands. Moisture that enters the masonry and freezes repeatedly can eventually lead to spalling when large chunks of mortar break off the brick and cause further water damage.

The good news is that if you catch the problem early, it’s relatively inexpensive to correct. A mortar joint sealant from most hardware stores can be applied to the deteriorating mortar joints to prevent moisture penetration and protect the chimney from further damage.

To apply the caulk:

  1. Widen the crack to at least a quarter inch with a hammer and chisel and clean the area of any loose debris or dirt that could interfere with the bonding process.
  2. Cut the caulk’s nozzle tip to match the crack’s width and load it into a standard caulk gun.
  3. Slowly draw the gun against the surface, forcing a bead of the caulk into the crack.

Brick chimneys experience much more exposure and wear and tear than other masonry structures in your home. They also have to contend with harsh indoor and outdoor environments, making them prone to damage earlier than other areas of your home. Chimney masonry that experiences severe damage will eventually begin spalling, which can result in leaks and structural problems.

When bricks spill, getting them repaired as soon as possible is important. This will not only prevent the damage from worsening but also help preserve the rest of your chimney structure. A breathable sealant can be applied to the damaged area of your chimney to keep moisture away and stop it from further damaging your masonry.

Several factors can affect brick spalling, including weather, mortar quality, craftsmanship, and age. Older bricks may be softer and need more glazing to help them resist the elements. Poor construction and salvaged bricks can also start spalling sooner than high-quality, newer bricks and masonry.

The first step in repairing loose bricks is to chip away the old mortar using a cold or flat utility chisel and short, light hammer blows. Next, you’ll need to clean the exposed area of your chimney and sand the open space down with a wire brush to improve mortar adhesion. It’s also a good idea to dust off the area with a broom and dampen it with water to increase mortar adhesion.

Once the area is cleaned and prepared, you must prepare your replacement brick. Get a matching brick and mix your mortar, following the manufacturer’s directions or standard sand, cement, and water ratios. You use a trowel to “butter” the bottom and sides of your replacement brick before pushing it into place. Ensure that the new brick is leveled and centered in the hole before applying more mortar to finish it off.

Keeping up with regular maintenance and checking for signs of damage is the best way to reduce spalling and other problems. Having a professional chimney sweep inspect your chimney annually will help to catch many issues before they have the chance to escalate and cause more costly damage.

The chimney crown is a slab of concrete that covers the top opening and keeps rain out of the flue, sparks from landing on the roof, and other debris from damaging the brick and mortar. Cracks in the crown can compromise the integrity of your chimney and lead to extensive structural damage, requiring a rebuild or removal. Chimney masonry experts recommend regularly inspecting the chimney to catch small cracks early and repair them before they worsen.

Repairing a cracked crown costs less than replacing it entirely, but it is still high enough to require careful planning. Hiring a professional for this project is best, as working on the roof for masonry work is complex and potentially dangerous. Masonry professionals use special equipment and knowledge of safety practices to ensure a safe and thorough job. They also have the specialized skills necessary to perform impossible repairs at home.

Depending on the size of your chimney and the extent of the damage, the average re-mortaring costs from $150 to $500. This process involves removing and replacing damaged sections of chimney mortar to prevent further cracking. Chimney re-mortaring is most effective before the mortar cracks and crumbles, which can usually be prevented with routine maintenance.

A deteriorating chimney crown can cause serious structural problems that could result in the collapse of your chimney, expensive water damage to your home’s ceiling and walls, or other dangerous issues. Chimney experts recommend having it repaired as soon as you notice a crack.

Chimneys are essential to a comfortable, safe home but need regular care and maintenance to function properly. By keeping up with routine inspections, you can protect your investment and spend more time relaxing and enjoying family gatherings by the fireplace. If you see signs of chimney problems, contact an experienced mason as soon as possible for a prompt and affordable repair. This will help you save money in the long run and ensure your chimney operates safely and efficiently.





Why Fireplace Repair Is Necessary

Fireplace Repair

Fireplaces are a popular feature for homes and can add ambiance and value. However, they must be properly maintained in order to function safely and efficiently.Fireplace Repair

Keeping up with maintenance and regular inspections can help catch any potential problems before they become serious. For professional help, contact Fireplace Repair now!

Most prefabricated fireplaces use a series of thin, brick-like panels to form the interior walls of the firebox. These panels are made of a heat-resistant material called refractory ceramic. They are designed to withstand high temperatures and come in many designs. Unfortunately, they are not built to last forever. Even with careful use, these panels can crack, pit, and abrade over time. This can create a safety hazard for your home, as sparks could fall through the cracks onto heat transmissions or combustible materials.

Usually, minor cracks in your fireplace panels will only appear on the top surfaces. This is due to the constant heating and cooling of the refractory material. Over time, these cracks will only widen if they are not repaired. If a crack is too large to cover with a dime or it appears through the bottom surface of the panel, it is considered damaged and needs to be replaced.

The good news is that replacing these fireplace panels is very simple, especially for factory-built fireboxes. The process involves unscrewing a bracket, removing the old refractory panel, and replacing it with a new one. Repairing a masonry fireplace is more complicated and requires the services of experienced brick masons.

If you notice cracks in your fireplace’s refractory panels, contact a chimney professional right away. They will evaluate the situation and recommend the appropriate steps for repairs or replacements. Usually, small cracks can be filled with fireplace mortar. However, if they are large and expose the underlying refractory to flames and extreme temperatures, the cracks must be replaced.

If you have a prefabricated metal fireplace, it is especially important to check the condition of the fireplace panels regularly. While a few cracks are common in these types of fireplaces, if a crack grows too large, it can be a significant fire hazard. It is a good idea to have a fireplace specialist look at the panels to determine whether they are safe for further use or whether replacement is necessary. If you do decide to replace the refractory panels, jot down the fireplace’s make and model number so that a technician can find a replacement panel.

Cracked Bricks

The fireplace is an essential part of many homes. It is a place to gather with family and friends to enjoy the warmth of a fire while telling stories or reading books. The fireplace is designed to withstand high temperatures for long periods of time, but this does not mean that it can last forever. Whether from poor installation, a shifting house foundation, or chimney fires, cracks in brick can occur over time. This is not only a safety issue, but it can also cause harmful gases to leak into your home.

Cracked bricks in a fireplace are not always a serious problem and do not necessarily indicate that there is an underlying problem in your foundation or other parts of the home. However, it is important to have a masonry professional take a look at the cracks and inspect the overall structure of the fireplace to make sure that everything is safe before deciding on how to repair the bricks.

If you have a gas fireplace, the cracks in the brick could be caused by a clogged or damaged thermocouple or thermopile. These are small metal devices that monitor the temperature of the flame and send a signal to the gas valve to ignite it. These can become clogged with debris and should be checked regularly for any signs of wear or tear.

Another reason for cracked bricks in the fireplace is the thermal expansion and contraction of the masonry wall. When brick is exposed to hot temperatures, it actually expands, creating pressure on other parts of the wall, which then leads to cracks over time. If you have cracks in your fireplace, it is very important to call a masonry professional and have them repaired right away.

In the case of a masonry fireplace, a professional mason can repair the bricks with mortar, which is specifically made to withstand high temperatures. They can use a trowel to apply the mortar and press it into the cracks, packing it tightly and removing any excess. This process takes a bit of time and expertise, but it is much safer and more effective than trying to fill in the cracks with regular cement, which can lead to more serious problems down the road.

Draft Issues

Draft problems are a major issue that can lead to smoke in the home and potentially dangerous fumes. These issues can be caused by a number of factors, such as blocked chimney flues, improper construction, and bad maintenance. Whether you have an older fireplace that simply isn’t drafting well or one that was recently upgraded to create better energy efficiency, a faulty chimney can be a serious problem that requires immediate attention.

One of the most common reasons for a draft problem is an excessive amount of creosote buildup. Over time, this can cause the openings to a chimney flue to shrink to the point of being too small for a fire to properly enter. In this situation, a professional can clean the chimney and remove the excess creosote to restore proper drafting.

Another common problem that can occur is a clogged orifice, which is an opening in the burner that mixes gas with air to produce a flame. This is often the result of a damaged thermocouple, which can be fixed by a professional to restore proper flames. It’s also possible that a problem with the orifice can be caused by a low supply of gas to the burner, which can also be fixed by a professional.

Other reasons for a poor chimney draft include dynamic wind load, which can cause a vacuum effect that prevents smoke from exiting the chimney, or when fans in your home (kitchen, bathroom, and radon) overcome the chimney’s draft. These can usually be corrected by adjusting the vents in your home to ensure that there is enough “make-up air” to allow the chimney to draft properly.

Lastly, a damper that won’t open or close can be the source of a draft problem. When the damper is unable to fully open, warm air may escape and cold air may be able to come in, which will also prevent your fire from burning properly. This is a simple problem to fix, however, by having the damper repaired or replaced. Fortunately, this can be done easily and affordably by a professional.

Holes in the floor

A hole in your floor can be very dangerous, and it is a sign that you need to hire a professional for a repair job. The firebox needs a solid surface to burn, and holes are dangerous and allow smoke to enter your home. If you have a gas fireplace, the escaping gas can also create an accidental carbon monoxide leak, which is deadly and can happen quickly.

If you notice that your fireplace has a lot of white soot on it, this is another warning sign that you need to get a chimney repair company to inspect and perform repairs immediately. This soot is not normal and indicates that the ventilation system is not working properly, causing smoke to back up into your home.

If your fireplace is gas-powered and you notice that it won’t stay lit, it could indicate a faulty ignition or worn thermocouple. A licensed master plumber and gasfitter should be called to investigate and fix the problem.

The average cost to repair a metal fireplace section is between $200 and $750. Metal is a strong and reliable material for fireplace surrounds, but it can suffer damage from excessive heat exposure. This can cause stress damage and cracking, which a professional may be able to repair with a simple buff and patch.

A brick fireplace can last for many years, but it will still need repair work from time to time. Typically, this involves replacing broken bricks or mortar in the firebox. It is recommended that you have this done before the winter season begins so that any issues can be fixed before the cold weather sets in.

Some homeowners may want to upgrade their fireplace to fit in with new decor trends or to enhance the look of their home. While this is possible, it is important to remember that a replacement fireplace is a bigger investment than a repair. Plus, it can be difficult to match the existing design with a replacement fireplace. Therefore, it is best to think of replacing the fireplace as a last resort if yours is damaged beyond repair.