When getting your chimney repaired, swept, or inspected it is important to make sure that the company you choose for the job is fully certified, prepared, and capable. We recently performed work on a chimney that had undergone some sub-par construction with improper materials.
When having a sweep work on your chimney, homeowners should always insist on a certified chimney sweep with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the educational branch of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. A certified sweep must pass a rigorous test and is your assurance that the sweep is well trained to spot areas of concern with your chimney and it’s safe operation.
A Matter of Materials
The chimney we recently serviced suffered mostly from improper materials. Bricks used on the chimney during the original construction had been reclaimed bricks that were originally meant for indoor use. Indoor bricks are not as weather resistant as their outdoor counterparts and absorb moisture more readily. Constant absorption, freezing, and thawing within the brick caused cracking and deterioration. This effect is known as spalling. The bricks soon became weak and unusable and needed to be removed.
Spalling is a common issue that can plague any type of brickwork from masonry chimneys to retaining walls and more. It is easily noticeable when small cracks begin to lead to bigger cracks as the brick surface deteriorates. This can happen in brick that isn’t properly treated or installed, or over time as brick ages naturally. Bricks of lighter color will often absorb more moisture, and will be affected by spalling more readily than darker counterparts.
To fix the chimney we replaced all the brick that had deteriorated and re-pointed much of the mortar, including resurfacing a mortar crown on top that was also cracking and crumbling due to improper installation. This will help keep moisture out and improve the overall life of the chimney. A chimney that is properly re-pointed will last 50 years without many issues. It is recommended that you inspect your chimney annually to spot any damage or wear before it becomes a bigger problem.
Black Goose Chimney is certified in various aspects of chimney inspection, sweeping, and repair. You can trust our work and use your fireplace or wood stove with peace of mind when we leave. If you need chimney repair services, call (757) 596-2298.