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Is Your Chimney Base Crumbling?

Crumbling is often found near the base of older or damaged chimneys. While crumbling may not seem like a major problem in its earliest stages, it will most certainly become major if ignored. FlameMaster Chimney Sweep of Crystola, CO, would like to share a little about the dangers of a crumbling chimney, what causes this problem, and what can be done about it.

Spalling Chimney Brick in Victor, COThe dangers of a crumbling chimney

When the bricks of a chimney begin to fail, at least two major problems are likely on the horizon:

  1. Water intrusion and water damage in various parts of the chimney system
  2. A leaning chimney or one that collapses entirely – this is a particular concern when there’s major crumbling around the base of the chimney

What to watch for

Keep an eye on your chimney and look for bricks that are chipping and flaking (called “spalling”), bricks that are loose in their sockets or have fallen away. Also check the mortar joints between the bricks for signs of crumbling and deterioration. Common signs of a chimney leak include:

  • Musty odors coming from the fireplace
  • Water in the firebox
  • Damp patches or stains on the ceiling or walls near the fireplace
  • White staining, or “efflorescence,” on the exterior masonry (means water is seeping in)

If you notice any of these signs, schedule a chimney inspection as soon as possible. Your inspector will determine exactly what’s happening and if any unseen damage has resulted from the leak. He or she also will be able to recommend the best course of action to resolve the problem.

Why do chimneys crumble?

A variety of things can cause chimneys to deteriorate.

• Cheap or salvaged bricks used to build the chimney
• Poor workmanship during construction
• Lightning strikes, hail storms and severe air temperatures
• The normal settling of the house
• Damaged mortar that leads to crumbling bricks
• Improperly built chimney footing
• Issues with the soil beneath your chimney
• Deteriorated chimney crown or damaged chimney cap
• Warped or dislodged chimney flashing

How to address chimney crumbling

Experienced chimney companies have several strategies for addressing chimneys that are crumbling and posing a safety risk. The very first step is an inspection, because every chimney problem is unique. Chimney brick repair and rebuilding strategies include:

Brick replacement: A good option when only a few of the bricks are affected.
Repointing: A process that replaces decayed mortar between the bricks.
Partial chimney rebuilding: Affected sections of the masonry can be rebuilt with quality bricks and mortar.
Complete chimney rebuilding: A chimney can be rebuilt from the roof up, or from the ground up.
Chimney waterproofing: A water sealant can be applied to the masonry to keep water out of the bricks in the future.
Fiberglass surface bonding cement: This product contains powerful fibers that create a strong and stable chimney base.

Professional Chimney Inspections in Crystola, COIs it time to have your chimney looked at?

FlameMaster has seen just about every type of chimney brick issue imaginable, and we know how to fix them all. If it’s time to have your chimney inspected or if you’ve noticed signs of crumbling, give us a call at (719) 661-3277. You can also get in touch through our simple contact form.

We serve the greater Colorado Springs region, including Crystola, CO, Woodland Park, CO, Divide, CO, Manitou Springs, CO, Cripple Creek, CO, Victor, CO, and other nearby communities.