Reasons Plus Solutions for a Spalling Brick Chimney
Have you noticed that the surfaces of your chimney bricks are flaking or breaking off? This is known as “spalling;” and it’s fairly easy to spot, as long as you keep watch over the condition of your chimney. Spalling is caused by moisture saturation in the chimney masonry. This common issue affects many brick masonry chimneys. Below are various reasons moisture enters the brickwork, tips for keeping moisture out of chimneys, and repair tips for a deteriorating chimney.
Causes of Spalling
Moisture in brickwork that results in spalling is caused by various means of moisture penetration. Factors that can contribute to a moisture problem with the brickwork include the condition of the exterior bricks, the architecture of the structure, and the climate. The following are some of the reasons for a chimney moisture problem:
· Your chimney could be more prone to moisture damage if salvaged bricks were used in the chimney’s construction. The use of salvaged bricks can lead to a variety of problematic issues, spalling included.
· In climates where freezing and thawing of water in the bricks is more likely to occur, spalling is also more common.
· A brick’s exterior can be damaged with the use of pressure washers and sandblasters, resulting in greater susceptibility to water damage.
· If the layout of the rooftop results in too much water inundating the chimney, masonry deterioration can be greatly accelerated, leading to spalling and structural damage.
· The chimney crown at the top of the chimney is not as durable as the masonry itself. Cracks in chimney crowns are common. If not repaired fairly quickly, the result can be moisture saturation in the masonry.
How to Fix Damaged Chimney Bricks
When spalling occurs, repair is needed as quickly as possible. If the condition of the bricks isn’t addressed, the chimney structure could begin cracking and crumbling. This results in the need to have a teardown and rebuild. Contact chimney professionals, who are trained and experienced at identifying sources of moisture damage in a chimney. They can do an inspection that identifies any issues with your chimney related to damage or safety concerns.
In the beginning stages of damage, the following are some of the types of repairs that can put a stop to spalling:
· Repair the chimney crown.
· Add a chimney cap. If you already have a chimney cap, it may need to be repaired or replaced.
· Have a “cricket” installed, which will divert water away from your chimney, if it is exposed to excessive water flow.
· Remove damaged mortar and replace it with fresh mortar, in a repair process known as “tuckpointing.” This can usually restore the chimney to its original appearance and level of stability.
The best way to address spalling is to take preventative measures. A sealant can be applied to masonry, to prevent the entrance of moisture. Schedule annual inspections with the professionals at Chimney Saver Solutions. Inspections are important because they can ensure early detection of trouble spots, to prevent costly chimney damage from occurring. If you’ve noticed spalling on your chimney, contact us at Chimney Saver Solutions today. Call 804-440-5000; we are located in Richmond, Virginia, and provide the full range of chimney services, including brickwork, throughout the area.