Old age and other factors can affect how long and how well your chimney bricks hold up. “Spalling” refers to bricks that have become loose. If you have spalling or cracked bricks in your chimney’s masonry, it’s a problem you’ll want to address sooner rather than later. FlameMaster Chimney Sweep of Colorado would like to share some important information on spalling bricks and how the issue should be resolved.
As noted, old age will take its toll on the bricks and mortar of your chimney. But bricks can begin to spall much sooner under certain circumstances. Four common causes of chimney brick damage that leads to spalling include:
Chimney technicians regularly work on masonry with bricks that have been damaged by water intrusion. Even small cracks in the bricks will allow moisture to seep in, where it will freeze and expand in cold weather. This expansion unseats the bricks and can cause them to spall and crumble. Incoming water can do a lot more than just harm the chimney bricks. It can eventually rot adjacent home building materials, rust out a fireplace damper and start a dangerous outbreak of mold in the flue area. If not addressed, brick spalling will worsen. At one point, the chimney may begin to literally fall apart and finally collapse.
Experienced chimney masons have the equipment and training to thoroughly inspect your chimney and perform the necessary repair work to put a stop to the risks associated with spalling bricks. When damage is minor to moderate, bricks can be replaced. This job often includes a process called “tuckpointing,” in which old, decayed mortar is scraped away and a new mortar compound is added in its place. When there’s widespread brick damage to a chimney, your technician may recommend a partial or complete chimney rebuild to restore structural soundness.
You don’t have to be a trained chimney professional to spot loose bricks and crumbling mortar. No experience is needed to see water in the firebox, damp areas on the walls and ceiling near the fireplace, and other signs of a water leak. But special training is needed to properly inspect the entire chimney.
Licensed chimney inspectors know how to evaluate the condition of a damaged chimney and determine if other parts or areas of the system have been affected. Repairing loose bricks won’t be of much value if related problems are ignored.
Whether it’s a preventative maintenance inspection or an inspection in the wake of some kind of obvious damage, your chimney inspector is your best friend when it comes to keeping your chimney safe and fully functional.
If your chimney has spalling bricks, the chimney pros at FlameMaster are ready to help. Along with brick work, we offer complete chimney sweeping, all types of chimney repairs and licensed chimney inspections, including emergency inspections. We serve Woodland Park, CO, Colorado Springs, CO, Divide, CO, Manitou Springs, CO, Cripple Creek, CO, Victor, CO, and other local communities. Reach a chimney expert today at (719) 661-3277 or get in touch with our simple contact form.