What To Do If You Have a Crumbling or Spalling Chimney
A well-built chimney can be a thing of beauty but a chimney that has begun to flake or crumble can be devastating. Why is this happening and how can this be fixed is the immediate question and these are the questions we will tackle in this article.
What is Spalling Brick?
With the changing of the seasons and temperatures water falls on the masonry is absorbs and goes through several freeze and thaw cycles. Rain or snow falls, it freezes inside of the brick causing the water molecules to expand. The brick is forced open creating cracks within the brick, the water thaws and evaporates leaving an even larger opening to absorb more water and the cycle continues until the brick has expanded and cracked to the point where parts of the brick loose its integrity and begins to flake off or crumble. Another culprit of brick spalling is power washing. Water sprayed with that much force can cause tiny openings in the brick that contribute to spalling. Using salvaged brick that has probably seen several freeze and thaw cycles already will only speed up the spalling process.
Is Spalling Brick Dangerous?
While it may seem that a chimney is separate from your house, your house is very much connected and affected by what happens to your chimney. Here are some of the dangerous consequences of spalling brick. A spalling chimney indicates water damage and water damage usually means mold. This affects the air quality in your home and can cause allergies and various sicknesses and diseases.
Damage to surrounding structures –
When brick breaks down the likelihood for leaks that make their way inside the home increases. If you want to understand how this occurs, just think about the Grand Canyon and the power of water. It is an unrelenting force that will continue until it finds its way through or creates a new path. Leaks will push their way through your chimney into other places in your roof or
walls and weaken surrounding structures.
Eventual Collapse –
A chimney with brick spalling and water damage that is not repaired will eventually collapse. If the damage has already affected surrounding structures, then this collapse will not be localized to the chimney but will also take sections of the roof or interior walls with it.
Can Spalling Brick Be Repaired?
The good news is that spalling brick does not have to mean the end of your chimney. If the damage is not extensive, replacing the bricks and mortar can be done with a little elbow grease and some know- how. The tools you will need include a chisel, drill, masonry bits and mortar.
The general idea is to remove all of the damaged bricks and mortar and replace them with fresh bricks and mortar. If you do not have experience with this kind of work, it will be best to call on a professional. The problem that caused your bricks to spall in the first place may not be dealt with and it would be terrible to take the time to do this job and then have the problem repeat itself soon after.
Our technicians are more than happy to answer your questions, provide an inspection or help with any of your chimney needs. Give us a call at GA (706) 833-4630 or SC (803) 508-3990 or contact us online for more information.