If you have a masonry chimney, one that is made of brick or stone, you may have noticed a white stain on it and wondered what white stains on a chimney mean. It’s called efflorescence and is the cause of the stains on your chimney. While white stains may seem like a minor problem, they could be a sign of hidden chimney damage. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what efflorescence means for your chimney and your home.
Efflorescence is a chemical process where salt is extracted from porous bricks through repeated water absorption. Every time it rains or dew collects on your chimney and water is absorbed by the bricks, a small amount of salt dissolves and migrates through the water absorbed by the brick; when the water evaporates, it leaves a powder salt deposit behind. Let’s take a closer look at what efflorescence means for your chimney bricks.
While salt deposits left behind on your chimney are in themselves not damaging, it is a sign that there may be water damage occurring in your chimney. In addition to salt deposits on the exterior of your chimney, you may see bricks coming loose, which is called spalling. What does that mean? It means your chimney is experiencing water damage that loosens the bricks.
If you see efflorescence along with spalling, it means that the bricks in your fireplace have repeatedly absorbed water and have been damaged during the freeze-thaw cycle where water expands and contracts; this may lead to leaks developing in your chimney. Here are a few common signs that your chimney has developed leaks.
If you see any of these signs along with white powder on the exterior of your chimney, it means you need an inspection by a Chimney Sweep Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep with the proper inspection equipment to find any hidden issues.
If you want to prevent efflorescence from occurring, preventative maintenance is crucial. Efflorescence only occurs if your chimney absorbs too much water. The cause could be from the lack of a chimney cap or cracks developing in the crown and sides of the chimney allowing more water into the masonry. Having an annual inspection and waterproofing your chimney will keep minor water damage issues that cause efflorescence from becoming bigger ones.
Our chimney sweeps have the education and experience to inspect and repair your chimney and prevent new white stains from developing. Efflorescence can also mean extensive water damage is happening to your chimney. Don’t let the problem get out of control; call us now. We offer chimney inspection and repair services in Woodland Park CO, Colorado Springs CO, Monument CO, Fort Carson CO, Penrose CO, and Florence CO; call us now at (719) 661-3277. One of our experienced staff members will be happy to discuss ridding your chimney of white stains.