Why is White Stuff on My Chimney?
Is there white stuff staining the outside of your chimney, or maybe you’ve noticed yellowish, green, or brown stains growing around the chimney masonry? Staining on a chimney is fairly common, and it’s called “efflorescence.” Unfortunately, though it may be rather easy to clean off, efflorescence is a sign of a serious problem caused by moisture. Premature deterioration of a masonry chimney is caused by moisture more than any other factor. The best thing a homeowner can do after noticing staining on the chimney is to contact a professional chimney company. Certified experts are qualified to determine what caused efflorescence to occur and the best approach for repair.
What is Efflorescence Exactly?
Efflorescence, which means “flowering” in French, provides evidence that damaging moisture has infiltrated the masonry. The staining can have a fluffy or fuzzy appearance or it may look more like a powdery, crystallized substance. Efflorescence only appears if:
· The masonry contains soluble salts,
· There is a sufficient amount of moisture to mix with the salts and create a soluble solution, and
· The salt is able to move through the masonry, ultimately evaporating and showing up on the outside of the chimney.
Salt particles aren’t naturally present in all masonry. Sulfates of magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, and iron are the salts that produce efflorescence. The hue of the staining is determined by the minerals in the masonry. Magnesium, for example, causes greenish stains.
An annual chimney inspection is very important because chimney professionals can identify moisture damage when they see it, even if the obvious sign of efflorescence isn’t present.
Does Efflorescence Cause More Damage?
The presence of efflorescence on your chimney is a sure sign that the structure is deteriorating prematurely. The staining itself doesn’t do any further damage. In fact, it can be cleaned off. The fact that efflorescence is there means repair is needed.
In a chimney system, moisture can wreak havoc in many different ways. Premature deterioration of the chimney means a tear-down and rebuild of your chimney may be required, to prevent collapse. Other issues resulting from water-damaged chimney masonry include:
· Mold and rot could develop where the masonry is in contact with wood.
· Insulation, carpeting, ceilings, and drywall can be damaged.
How Does Water Get in the Masonry?
Homeowners would benefit from always keeping moisture damage prevention at the forefront of regular maintenance. There are many ways in which a chimney can become damaged by water. The following are a few examples:
· If there is no chimney cap, rain, snow, and sleet can enter your chimney system directly, which is why no chimney should be without a cap.
· The chimney crown at the top of the chimney can crack or become pitted, allowing water to enter the masonry.
· Mortar between bricks or stones only last up to 25 years, at most. When mortar begins deteriorating, moisture gets into the masonry.
· The structure could develop cracks, due to settling or expansion.
Contact Chimney Saver Solutions
Be sure to call the chimney experts at Chimney Saver Solutions, whether it’s because you have efflorescence, you need a chimney inspection, or you need your chimney cleaned. Whatever your chimney needs in the Richmond area, give us a call today at 804-440-5000.