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Determine the Cause of Chimney Discoloration

chimney inspectionsOther than disturbing your home’s curb appeal, chimney discoloration may seem harmless, but it’s a clear sign of a chimney problem. For homeowners, chimney staining is one of the few ways to pinpoint a chimney issue before an expert discovers it during a chimney inspection. The following information could help you figure out what may be causing staining on your chimney. In virtually every instance of chimney discoloration, however, a chimney expert is needed for repair of some kind.

White Chimney Stains

“Efflorescence” means that water soluble salts within masonry have mixed with water and traveled to the outside of the bricks, leaving deposits that cause chimney discoloration. The crystalline or powdery white staining is easily washed off and does no harm in and of itself, but it gives you a clear indication of damaged masonry. The problem with water in the masonry is that during freezing and thawing cycles in winter, the water expands and contracts. Over time, the process causes the brick to deteriorate. Homeowners might notice a pile of debris underneath the chimney stack, which turns out to be the brick face popping or breaking off.

When efflorescence occurs, it’s usually necessary to replace the affected bricks. Otherwise, the chimney structure will eventually weaken to the point of leaning and potentially collapsing.

Black Chimney Discoloration

black stains on chimneyIf your chimney has black stains, it is usually a result of excess creosote and soot buildup in the chimney flue. When a chimney isn’t cleaned regularly, creosote from wood fires continually builds up, creating a thicker and thicker layer on the walls of the chimney flue. The chimney may begin smoking because creosote has created an obstruction and won’t allow a proper draft. Eventually, the dirty flue becomes evident by the soot stains on the exterior. Chimney cleaning by a professional chimney sweep is usually needed when there is black chimney discoloration.

Green, Blueish, and Dark Green Chimney Discoloration

When a chimney is built correctly and all components are performing their functions of keeping moisture out, it is unusual to see mold or algae stains. These chimney discolorations might be green, blueish, or dark green in color. You may see these stains on your chimney if water frequently flows directly across the masonry, which the construction of a chimney is designed to avoid. A chimney sweep should check to determine whether mold is also inside the chimney, which could create health issues for occupants. All mold is toxic and should be removed.

Red or Brown Chimney Stains

If you see brown or rusty red discoloration on your chimney, chances are that you have a metal or prefabricated chimney. Rust-prone metal chase covers are used for factory-built chimneys. Masonry chimneys, on the other hand, should have a chimney cap, and they always have metal flashing. It’s possible that rust on your chimney could be caused by the flashing or a weathered chimney cap. Rust stains on any type of chimney usually mean there’s a chimney leak, and the help of a certified chimney sweep is needed, to determine the scope of the problem and handle repairs.

Chimney Experts in the Richmond VA Area

Chimney Saver Solutions is a full-service company providing trusted chimney services in Richmond, VA, and throughout the surrounding area. All of our chimney sweeps are trained and certified. Contact Chimney Saver Solutions for help with chimney discoloration and all of your chimney needs. Call us at 804-440-5000 today.