Brick Chimney Repair Minneapolis MN
Regardless of their design or age, brick chimney’s will at some time experience deterioration which may lead to the need for repairs and maintenance. Small instances such as a bird’s nest in one of your chimneys can cause considerable damage which can become quite costly. Dayco General specializes in brick chimney repair.
Before looking into chimney repairs, it is imperative to inspect the structural form of the brick chimney as this is the basis of the preparatory procedures. The brick and mortar should not allow rain and other elements to penetrate the chimney’s composite structure.
Damage to brick chimneys can be caused by many things. However, the scope and magnitude of repairs is most typically a factor of the age of the structure but can also be caused by extreme weather (falling tree limbs or lightning strike) or a chimney fire. Damages caused by deteriorating mortar, excess moisture within the chimney, or chimney fire will weaken clay tile liners and the brick, it is very important that brick chimneys are inspected from time to time. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends annual chimney inspection. In the Twin Cities Metro area our extreme freeze/thaw cycling adds more weight to the need for regular inspection.
Professional repairs are required when you feel that the scope of the damage is beyond what you can comfortably handle. Inspection from our CSIA certified professional can provide you with a report that offers proper maintenance procedures as well.
Swollen brick units and swollen mortar joints can cause the chimney to lean and lose its stability. Masonry swelling is due to age and water permeability. Both brick and mortar are fairly water resistant when they are new, but without the maintenance application of a waterproofing sealant, this virtue is gradually lost over time and toward the end of their service life the water absorbency of masonry increases dramatically. This often results in increasingly rapid expansion damage during freeze/thaw.
Older brick and mortar that have been through many freeze/thaw cycles, especially on chimneys that have a leaking cap that allowed water to both the interior and exterior of a masonry wall, can swell significantly causing a noticeable (sometimes dangerous) lean as time goes by. Interestingly, a chimney that leans because of this process will always tip away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere this means an older chimney with severe freeze/thaw expansion damage will lean toward the north because the sunny side will have a broader depth of temperature variation and more frequent swings in the freeze/thaw phenomena. We have seen tall chimneys that were leaning so precariously that we recommended the non-occupancy of areas below the hinge point of the chimney until such time that repairs can be made.
Spalled brick is a very common damage found in chimneys. Missing mortar joints need to be carefully repointed with new mortar to avoid further damage to the chimney structure.
Unexpected damage can be caused by pressure washers and sandblasters as well. High pressure sprayers and sandblasting can remove some of the brick and mortar surface. Care must be taken if pressure washing becomes necessary. Avoid using a machine that is overpowered for the job or getting too close to the surface of the masonry with the spray tip. Sandblasting should only be undertaken by an experienced professional.
Chimneys have even fallen to the ground altogether, which requires removal and replacement. All these maintenance tasks will require expertise. Unfortunately, there is no practical option for brick chimney repair other than to replace the broken bricks. Brick replacement and tuckpointing should only be done by a skilled tradesman. We see damaged home facades all the time where an inexperienced person attempted tuckpointing only to do irreversible damage to the brick appearance by smearing mortar outside the joints. Tuckpointing is one of the trades that has a high learning curve and much experience is required to turn out a nice-looking job that will last a long time.
Despite many necessary precautions, if you find any cracks, signs of deterioration, crumbling mortar in the chimney, it is time to get in contact our experts here at Dayco General for a chimney inspection to ensure the safety of your home. Ignoring masonry chimney problems can be costly and dangerous for your family.