How to Chimneys Care

How To Chimney Care and Repair

How to chimneysHere at G&A, we like to look after our customers. With over 25 years of experience, we are equipped to carry out all chimney repairs and maintenance. Whenever you need us, we will be a phone call away and will send to you a professional, trained and qualified mason to complete any chimney repair.

If you are part of our roof maintenance plan, any chimney repairs that you may need are already covered. This service includes flashings, pointing, flaunching and chimney cowls.

If you are considering resurfacing the interior or exterior of your fireplace, G&A can provide this service too. We can assist with any aesthetic decisions to ensure a fitting design is created to compliment your home in the best possible way.

The importance of maintaining your chimney
Over time, the pointing of a chimney may split and the walls could develop cracks. After a period of 25 to 30 years, the mortar that binds the stone and brick together may corrode and will result in a flaking and cracking of the joints, leaving the pointing in need of repair. It is important to give your chimney regular maintenance in order for it to channel smoke away from your home safely.

What causes my chimney to crack?
If the mortar joints of your chimney are cracked, it is very likely that the damage has been caused by a natural process known as freeze-thaw weathering. Freeze-thaw weathering is the name given when brick work is corroded due to the freezing, expansion and melting of water – leaving behind porous and cracked brick work. It can also damage any metal object attached to a building like a satellite dish.

What causes my chimney to leak?
The typical cause of a leaking chimney is defective chimney flashings. Chimney flashings that are correctly installed and maintained ensure that the area where the chimney intersects with the roof is watertight. If your chimney is leaking, the chimney flashings have either been incorrectly installed, weathered over time or have been denied the regular maintenance they require to function properly.If left for a long period of time, any leaks could eventually cause the walls of your home to become damp. If you find a leak, seek professional help as soon as possible for a chimney repair.

What should I do if an animal is nesting in my chimney?
It is not uncommon for small animals, such as birds and squirrels to become trapped in a chimney. If you become suspicious that an animal has become trapped, we advise that you call a professional to remove it. Do not attempt to remove it yourself as some wild birds and their young are protected by law.

To prevent the entrance of an animal in the future, you can secure your chimney with a spark arrestor screen as a means to cap off the access point. Although it may not provide full protection from an animal entering your home, the welded wire mesh, unlike chicken wire, cannot be chewed through by squirrels.

Is my property more vulnerable if I live in a historical home?
Historical homes were originally built with the intention that the chimney flu would be used to accommodate a coal fire. When coal is burnt, it produces a high heat. Therefore, the chimney flu in an older property is very large and cool. Nowadays we burn natural gas, not coal and this poses a problem. The size of the older chimney flu is too large and too cool to channel the smoke produced from burning natural gas away from the property safely, without producing dangerous levels of condensation.

The highest point of the chimney is the most vulnerable part and unless you commit to regular roof inspections, the damage caused by condensation can be difficult to notice. If you do locate crumbling mortar joints or porous pointing, contact a professional for a chimney repair as soon as possible.

Is my property more vulnerable if I live in a certain area of the country?
The location of your home can be a contributing factor to an increased risk of damage to your chimney. In 2002 the Manchester area was subject to a series of earthquakes leaving many homes requiring chimney repairs and complete rebuilds. Although chimneys are rigid structures, if they become fractured during an earthquake they can allow toxic gases, such as carbon dioxide, to seep into your home unknowingly.

What precautions can I take to prevent needing a chimney repair in the future?
To prevent a chimney repair in the future, maintenance is essential.It is important to inspect your chimney and roof each year, fixing any small problems as and when they come. Regular maintenance for the small things will prevent any large-scale, expensive damages in the future.

However, if you aren’t exactly sure about what the signs are, preventing a chimney repair can be far more difficult than it needs to be. To help you, we at G&A have listed a bunch of commonly occurring problems that you can consider during your inspection.

The Crown
There are two types of masonry crowns and the process of repair is different depending on which type of crown has been used. Nevertheless, if the chimney crown is not treated with regular maintenance and begins to show signs of corrosion, the structure beneath the crown is likely to have been damaged also. If the crown is severely damaged, the crown will have to be replaced altogether during a chimney repair.

Flue-liner
The purpose of the flu-liner in a chimney is to protect the outside wall of the chimney from the heat and smoke. If the flu-liner is impaired, it can become a very serious and dangerous problem. You should never use a chimney that has an impaired flu liner as heat and smoke will escape through the flu-liner and may cause any adjacent wooden structures to catch fire. An impaired flu-liner may also allow poisonous gases, such as carbon monoxide, to seep into homes unknowingly, leaving fatal consequences to those exposed.

Flashing
Roof and chimney flashings are used to watertight the area where the roof and chimney intersects using a special high-temperature sealant. If you are experiencing leaks around the area of your chimney, this is most likely due to faulty chimney flashings and should be treated with a chimney repair as soon as possible. If it is not repaired, the walls of the property could eventually become damp and will require a costly emergency repair in the future.

Water damage
The most commonly occurring cause of a chimney repair is water damage. Towering high above the rest of the property, the chimney stack is the most vulnerable part of your home when faced with harsh weather.

If your chimney flashings become loose and the brick work becomes porous, you are likely to experience a leaking chimney. If the damage is not repaired, the mortar joints will erode and the bricks will flake. If the damage is still not repaired, the chimney could crack and damage any fixed appliance.

Cracked mortar
A chimney will develop voids and cracks in its structure over time. It is important to repair them as soon as they appear, as any voids will only grow in size over time. The method of repair is called tuck-pointing, and is only required when the mortar joints start to flake. If done properly, further damage will be prevented for a long time in the future.

Can G&A provide me with chimney maintenance and repairs?
Here at G&A, we like to look after our customers. With over 25 years of experience, we are equipped to carry out all chimney repairs and maintenance. Whenever you need us, we will be a phone call away and will send to you a professional, trained and qualified mason to complete any chimney repair.

If you are part of our roof maintenance plan, any chimney repairs that you may need are already covered. This service includes flashings, pointing, flaunching and chimney cowls.

If you are considering resurfacing the interior or exterior of your fireplace, G&A can provide this service too. We can assist with any aesthetic decisions to ensure a fitting design is created to compliment your home in the best possible way.

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