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Chimney Stains? Here’s What They Mean

As you walk around your Santee, SC home, you may notice some staining and discoloration on the masonry. While many homeowners may shrug it off as harmless fading from sun exposure, the results of an aging chimney, or dirt, chimney stains are often the first indication of masonry damage or other chimney issues. Understanding what these different colors mean can help you pinpoint the source of the problem to have your Certified Chimney Professional® make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage.

White Stains

One of the most common and overlooked chimney discolorations is white powdery stains across one or more sections of the brickwork. The staining, known as efflorescence, occurs when the salts in the brickwork are drawn to the surface.

It is one of the first signs that the masonry is absorbing moisture, resulting in flaking, cracking, and crumbling as it continues to deteriorate. When you see white stains or efflorescence, schedule a visit with Advanced Chimney Sweep in the South Carolina Midlands and Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) to inspect the chimney. The damaged brickwork will need to be repaired or replaced before the chimney can be sealed with a waterproof coating to protect the masonry from future water damage.

Reddish-Brown or Rust Stains

A reddish-brown or rust stains on the chimney are often the result of damage to a metal component like a chimney cap, chase cover, flashing, or prefabricated chimney. When it rains, the rust stains drip down the sides of the chimney, discoloring the masonry. In addition, when metal components are failing to the point that they are rusting, it increases the likelihood that water is leaking into your chimney. Water leaks are a serious issue because they can cause extensive damage to the flue liner, damper assembly, and other internal components, leading to costly repairs.

Dark Brown and Black Stains

Creosote is one of the natural by-products of burning wood. However, as creosote lingers in the chimney hardens into a dark brown or black crusty material that can obstruct the airflow when the chimney is either not regularly maintained or cleaned properly. The restricted airflow impeding the release of smoke and fumes from the fireplace is evident in the dark brown and black creosote and soot-colored stains near the top of the chimney around the chimney cap and crown. As the obstruction worsens, it can cause a dangerous backdraft that pushes smoke, soot, and debris into the living room through the fireplace. Since hardened or glazed creosote is a highly flammable substance, get a professional chimney cleaning by a Certified Chimney Sweep® whenever you see these types of stains on your chimney.

Orange, Green, Blue, and Black Stains

Leaking Chimney Repair Aiken, SC

Our environment naturally contains a variety of algae and fungi spores, including mold, that float through the air. When your masonry chimney absorbs moisture, it can attract these spores that cling to the masonry. As these living cells continue to multiply, you may see orange, green, blue, or even black mold stains appear on the masonry surface, which could indicate the presence of algae or mold.

Although some types of molds are toxic, it is not possible to determine their toxicity by their appearance. Therefore, a professional should remove algae, mold, and mildew. Otherwise, the spores can spread into your home through cracks in the masonry, which can cause damage to the walls and ceiling in your home. It can also cause allergic and respiratory problems in some individuals. In addition, since algae and mold stains generally indicate water damage, a chimney inspection is necessary to determine whether water is leaking inside the chimney and make the required repairs to prevent further leaks.

Chimney Cleaning and Inspections

If you spot any staining or discoloration on your chimney, contact the certified chimney professionals at Advanced Chimney Sweep to schedule a chimney inspection as soon as possible at (706) 833-4630 or (803) 508-3990. You can also contact us online. We serve the entire South Carolina Midlands and Central Savannah River Area, including Pooler, GA, Richmond Hill, GA, Hardeeville, SC, and Columbia, SC.