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Cracking and Spalling in a Masonry Chimney Costs

Chimeny_Technician

I am sure that you’ve noticed a cracked and spalled chimney on one of your neighbors when you’ve gone for your evening walk around the block. When a chimney starts to age and is exposed to the weather year in and year out the mortar and bricks tend to crack, chip and generally decay. Another area that we have noticed cracking is the chimney crown. If the cracks in the chimney crown have reached the point when they have become hazardous, if they aren’t sealed as soon as possible they'll eventually destroy the crown as well as the chimney.

Typically small cracks tend to get larger over time and begin the process that will further erode a brick chimney. It can pose a serious threat to your family’s health as the heat, moisture and gases escape through the cracks in your chimney, deteriorating the chimney from the inside out and allow poisonous gases to escape into your home. That sticky tar like substance that forms on the interior walls of the chimney which is called creosote can leak through the cracks and build up outside the flue liner. The creosote is highly combustible and could catch fire.  Another issue with chipped and cracked masonry chimney is that the flue tile on the inside of the chimney could fall off and block smoke from exhausting through the chimney.

In order for a chimney to work efficiently it must be as airtight as possible.  Gaps in the bricks and cracks disturb the airflow by allowing excess air into your chimney. This slows down the process of air venting up the chimney, making it harder for smoke and gases to rise up and out. One of those hazardous gases that your chimney needs to vent from your home is carbon monoxide. Because carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless gas it’s very hard to detect.  It can cause serious illness or death if you breathe in enough of it. Another issue with a cracked chimney is a chimney fire. Chimney fires occur when the gases or cinders from the fire ignite the creosote accumulated on the walls of an unclean chimney flue.

Now we realize that most homeowners aren’t aware of all of the risks that a cracked masonry chimney can pose and never give it a second thought beyond the occasional chimney cleaning. But ignoring the problem and hoping that it won’t get any worse can cost you more in the long run. A cracked chimney crown, chipped or spalling bricks can easily cost as much as $1,000 to repair. This amount can rise to as much as $ 3,000 over time if the problem is left unresolved.

The solution would be to call in a professional chimney sweep that would seal the bricks and the crown and add a new chimney cap, greatly extending the life of the chimneys. Many homeowners feel comfortable going on the roof to perform the repairs and maintenance themselves. If you feel that you can handle the heights and the steepness of the roof pitch, please wear a safety harness when you go up.

If you would like one of our trained chimney technicians to resolve the problem, we would be happy to help. All of American Fireplace’s technicians have been properly trained and are fully qualified to give a thorough inspection of your chimney system and suggest the best solution for you. We pride ourselves on the high quality of our work and our ability to deliver the right solution for you.

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