8 Common Signs Of A Damaged Chimney

Here are some signs your chimney needs repair.

A lot of things can go wrong to make a chimney problematic. Sometimes the state of disrepair can be significant enough, thus leading to major damage.

Detecting such signs early enough will help resolve chimney problems before they worsen.

Tips on early identification are what this article is about. You’ll do well to know when to act because a damaged chimney is a fire hazard that can be very destructive.

So, without further delay, let’s get into our main discussion.

Problems Posed By An Unsafe Chimney

Chimney damage isn’t something to be taken lightly.

This creates all sorts of problems including carbon monoxide poisoning, moisture problems as well as chimney fires.  With health and structural risks being the likely end of chimney issues, it’s best to have such a situation addressed early enough.

Now, to the untrained eye, these problems will hardly be detected. Developing issues are ignored due to ignorance on the level of risks (both health and structural) posed.

With the signs or tips provided here, you should be able to identify a damaged chimney without stress.

Identifying A Damaged Chimney

When a chimney is having issues, they don’t occur in a vacuum. In other words, chimney issues will always be evident if you’re attentive enough and know where to look.

Some of the most common signs include weathering action on flashing, spalling bricks, efflorescence, rust, and deteriorating mortar joints.

Other signs of a damaged chimney include melted or cracked crown, paint & wallpaper damage, and shaling.

When any of these symptoms are noticed, it’s necessary to call the attention of a chimney sweep for further assessment.

  • Weathering Action on Flashing

Every chimney needs a flashing component that serves to keep out water and moisture from getting into the joint or connection between the roof and chimney. It consists of a metal sheet that is installed to be watertight.

It’s important to know that water and moisture need to be kept out to prevent wood rot and mold among other issues. Now, even the most durable flashing will succumb to the weathering action over a long period.

When this happens, a replacement or the use of chimney flashing sealant becomes inevitable to continued efficient performance. While minor issues with chimney flashing could be fixed, it’s best to have it replaced.

Recommendations from an experienced chimney sweep should go a long way to have the issue resolved.

  • Spalling Bricks

Spalling simply refers to a situation where the chimney masonry deteriorates. Clear symptoms include brick surfaces flaking off or peeling.

Also, bits of bricks may begin to pop out. When this happens, you’re likely to find scattered bits of chimney masonry around the bottom of the chimney structure.

When this is detected, it’s high time to act fast. Doing so saves your chimney from eventual and total collapse.

Only a licensed and experienced chimney sweep should be called to further assess the level of damage.

Repairs will typically follow to salvage the chimney structure.

  • Efflorescence

This situation is mostly caused by moisture problems.

Chimneys and excess moisture don’t mix! In other words, moisture will readily cause severe damage to a chimney structure when left unattended.

Chimney efflorescence simply refers to the white discoloration that occurs.

This is visible and may seem like a little problem. White residue caused by efflorescence can be cleaned off the structure. However, doing so only focuses on the effect while leaving out the cause.

With excess moisture within a chimney structure, you’re bound to notice a faster deterioration of your chimney. This is due to moisture-related issues. You’ll need to find quick solutions by contacting a licensed chimney sweep.

  • Rust

The metal parts of a chimney structure are vulnerable to rust. This is especially true when these components are exposed to excess moisture. Now, finding out or identifying a rust situation can be quite tricky.

In most cases, homeowners only get to find out when faced with malfunctioning parts such as a damper that won’t operate normally.

With rust action on your chimney damper, it’s likely to spread to the flue lining and other metal parts like your firebox. The expertise an experienced chimney sweep provides is invaluable to solving the problem.

This helps arrest deterioration due to chimney rust, thus solving the problem.

  • Deteriorating Mortar Joints

Being constantly exposed to the elements, a chimney’s masonry is likely to steadily deteriorate. When urgent action is not taken to fix or replace deteriorating mortar, it further exposes the masonry.

This in turn takes its toll on the entire chimney structure.

This situation, coupled with the freeze-and-thaw cycle results in bigger cracks that ultimately weaken the structure. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for deteriorating mortar joints.

Scheduling a yearly chimney inspection should greatly help in addressing the problem.

  • Melted or Cracked Chimney Crown

With a damaged chimney crown, there’s nothing stopping water or moisture from seeping into the chimney structure. With excess moisture comes a wide range of problems including larger cracks, shaling, and spalling.

Unless the chimney crown is replaced and weatherproofed, there’s little that can be done to prevent chimney deterioration.

  • Paint & Wallpaper Damage

Whether the wall closest to the chimney is covered with wallpaper or paint is immaterial.

Chimney damage leaves clear signs that can be spotted. Damaged wallpaper or paint is more than enough sign pointing to the presence of excess moisture in a chimney.

Now, repainting or placing new wallpaper coverings won’t resolve the situation. Basic underlying issues must not be left unattended. There’ll be a need for repairs on either the flue, liner, or the entire chimney system.

  • Shaling

One of the first signs that point to a damaged chimney, specifically the flue is to find chimney tile slices accumulating within your fireplace. This will hardly be a problem if the chimney flue is inspected yearly by a chimney sweep.

Having discovered this problem, it’s best to move fast by calling for inspection and repairs where necessary.

Signs of a damaged chimney can be subtle and unnoticed to the untrained eye. However, the tips provided here should be sufficient enough to alert you to any anomalies with your chimney structure.

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