But with good reason – A properly maintained chimney cap can save a property owner significant expense in staying ahead of their masonry chimney repair needs.
Once the concrete cap cracks and experience a general deterioration due to age, water penetrates the structure’s interior. As this occurs, moisture is wicked into the interior surfaces of the composite masonry immediately below the chimney cap. In the world of brick manufacturers, we know this wicking as “absorption” and each brick comes with an absorption rating. Almost all modern bricks have a very low absorption rating, but all this is overcome by simple aging with repeated contact by water.
The best way to avoid this is by getting an annual inspection done on your chimney and doing regular maintenance. These small repairs can help you prevent major repairs, which always cost more. My grandparent always joked “You either pay today or you’ll really pay tomorrow.” I don’t think they were talking about chimney repair, but it still applies.
This same advice goes for the fireplaces at the boom of the chimney as well.
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When chimney top repair is neglected, it leads to water getting to the brick and mortar from the inside and the outside. This situation can develop into a costly problem for chimneys in the Twin Cities metro area because our climate comes with extreme freeze/thaw conditions and saturated brick and mortar do not fare well in this environment.
Every time the brick and mortar on a chimney become saturated, especially when it is getting wet from both sides, and then freezes, it expands the material slightly. Each time a masonry structure freezes with sufficient water content, microscopic damage occurs. Over time, the absorption rate rises as the freeze/thaw process expand the original volume of the masonry. Over many years, the absorption rate becomes increasingly higher.
We’ve heard from homeowners who say “the chimney always seemed fine, then suddenly in the last year or so the brick faces popped off”. What they may not have realized is that the process causing the brick failure was a long time in the making, and only when the expansion reached a critical stage did the damage become clear to the untrained eye.
The entire function of a concrete chimney cap is to displace water away from the chimney’s interior. When the cap may degenerate to where it is allowing damaging water to enter, then that is the time to get in touch with the chimney repair contractors for Minneapolis and St. Paul at Dayco General.