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Chimney Repair – Common Problems and Tips
Proper chimney care is essential in order to prevent costly repairs. While chimneys are built to be sturdy, improper care can result in water intrusion, embers escaping, and crown cracks. A professional chimney sweep can detect small problems before they develop into larger ones, which can be costly to repair. After all, a chimney is not something that you should attempt to repair on your own. The following are some common chimney repair problems and tips to keep in mind.
The first problem caused by a damaged chimney is spalling. This is when brick absorbs moisture, which freezes and expands during the winter, causing it to deteriorate from the outside in. In addition, excessive moisture can cause efflorescence. This is caused by a chemical reaction between water and cement, creating salt crystals. Efflorescence is hard to remove and can’t always be completely eliminated. A professional can repair your chimney using a variety of techniques, including patching.
A chimney crown needs to be repaired as well. The mortar used to repair a chimney crown must be flexible enough to allow for normal expansion and contraction caused by changing temperatures. The crown should also slope downward, to shed water. The crown protects the bricks on the top of the chimney, but it’s also responsible for preventing water penetration into the sides of the chimney. Proper chimney crown repair can prevent these problems. If you want to avoid further complications, contact a chimney repair specialist.
Whether you’re a handyman or a pro, chimney flashing requires experience and skill. Flashing is installed at the joints between the chimney and the roof, and should be replaced every few years. Without it, water can damage your roof, attic, and interior rooms. And if it’s not installed properly, water may even penetrate the chimney itself. Eventually, water will seep in and cause it to crumble.
Cracks in the crown are another common problem. Cracks can occur in the crown of your chimney, which allows water to penetrate. The water will then cause the bricks to deteriorate, causing them to leak. Cracks in the crown should be repaired as well. This crown provides a weather-sealing layer, which is very important for chimneys. Cracked crowns require repairs. Chimney repairs can be DIY projects, or you can hire a professional.
Cracks in the chimney’s bricks can cost up to $350. Depending on the severity, this procedure can be performed by a professional for approximately $200 to $350 per square foot. Crack repair can be expensive if you have a clay tile flue liner, so it’s best to seek professional help as soon as possible. Even if you’re sure your chimney is structurally sound, it’s best to get it checked out to avoid further damages.
A professional chimney repair technician will use safety equipment, such as fall-arresting harnesses, to ensure your safety. A safety harness is also useful if you are working on a steep roof. It is comprised of a body harness and metal ridge anchor and an automatic locking mechanism. You can rent a fall-arresting harness at home improvement centers or tool rental outlets. Never rush work on a steep roof as this can cause serious injuries.