Most Masonry Need Repairs Over Time
Chimneys made of brick and stone seem almost indestructible, but this is far from the truth. While stone will wear over time, it is a slow process. However the mortar that holds the stone and brick in place is another matter. It is a porous material that can erode easily with water penetration. When this happens there are some masonry techniques that can clean out and replace the mortar between the joints. This is called tuckpointing or repointing.
You can usually tell there is something wrong if you see stones or bricks that appear loose or you see the mortar joints that are “pitted” or indented. These are strong indications that these joints need to be correctly repaired. We say correctly because we have seen too many masons that have simply filled in or covered over the damaged joint only to have it fall out in a year or two as this is not the solution.
Water – A Chimneys Enemy
While bricks are a strong substance and used extensively in fireplace and chimney construction, water can be the element that destroys them. If you live along what is called the “freeze line” in the US, then you get many days throughout the fall and winter where the night temperatures are below freezing and the day temps are above. In elementary science we learn that when water freezes, it expands. Did you know that an untreated brick absorbs water?
That’s right. Bricks that have not been treated with a permeable water-proofing agent naturally absorb water. The water seeps into the pores of the brick and then freezes and expands. It’s this expansion that causes most of the problems and breaks the brick apart from the inside out. What you will start to see is a flaking or powder substance on the bricks. Once this starts, there is no stopping it and that brick or bricks have to be replaced.
When a section of chimney has succumbed to this type of damage, the entire section has to be removed and replaced. If there are just a few bricks that have been damaged, then we can replace them as well. This can be a long manual process of cutting out the damaged brick, cleaning the area and replacing it with the correct mortar mix so it will stay in position and last.
Chimney Waterproofing Coatings
The alternative is to have your chimney system professionally waterproofed with a permeable water-proofing agent so you protect the brick and mortar from the start. This will add years to the life of the structure. This procedure is far less inexpensive than most masonry fixes and that in itself makes it affordable.
The Importance of Using a Specialist for Chimney-Related Masonry
All a chimney specialist does is work on and around chimney systems and they know them from the inside out. Having a professional that understands each part of the system and what type brick and mortar to use on each is extremely important. Remember, your chimney and fireplace have areas that can exceed 2000 degrees and the materials used in those sections must be able to handle those types of temperatures. A chimney specialist understands and knows the right material for the job and is experienced in all factions, including masonry.
We use modern methods as well as old-world techniques to correctly match material and tint to your individual specifications when we repair your chimney. You will find that we excel in:
• Neat and Professional Masonry Repairs
• Portland and Lime Mortar Restoration
We also guarantee our work so ask us about that when you call.
If you would like to discuss any issue you have for a masonry structure, we would be glad to help you. If you have seen damage to your chimney brick or see an indication of joint erosion, please give us a call. We’re the chimney company that helps you breathe easy!
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Problems on the inside of your chimney could mean that it needs to be relined for safe use. An inspection by Chimney Saver Solutions can determine if you are in need of this skilled repair, so give us a call.