Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Summer is the Best Time for Masonry Repairs

Remember last fall? You took the time to really look at your chimney. Finally, you noticed that some of the mortar was beginning to look a little cracked and flaky! That probably made you a bit worried about the structure of the chimney. Also, about whether it was safe to use for another winter fireplace season. So you did just what you should do; you called a chimney sweep company to do some inspection, repair, and cleaning.

Summer is the Best Time for Masonry Repairs Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepThe trouble was, you had called too late in the season! So, chances are that chimney technician probably made recommendations for repairs. Afterwards, they then told you you’d have to wait until next summer to do those repairs. The truth of the matter is, he was right. There are many chimney repairs that work best when they are done in warm weather, and that’s why it’s important to give Pozzi Chimney Sweep a call as soon as you can to set up another inspection and cleaning and to have any recommended repair work done.

Causes of Mortar Breakdown

Your mortar and brick chimney is a very solid structure. Even so, it is still susceptible to wear and tear over many years. When snow, rain, and other precipitation hits your chimney, it causes deterioration to occur, especially to the mortar. Over time, leaks can appear in the chimney itself and the metal parts of your fireplace system can start to show rust. The damage that occurs goes beyond ordinary wear and tear. However, the freeze/thaw cycle can also have a damaging effect on the mortar and bricks that make up your chimney!

Repairs

When your chimney specialist recommends work to your mortar, most likely he will recommend tuckpointing. This process involves removing the old mortar and then replacing it with new mortar. This is done using special tools and making sure that the colors match up to your existing chimney mortar. The mortar needs several days to cure, which is one reason that it is a job best left for summer time.

Once your chimney is repaired and cured, you may want to consider waterproofing it. This will prevent the moisture from entering your new masonry as quickly. In addition, gives you protection from the deteriorating effects of precipitation. Waterproofing is another job that is best done while the weather is warm. Plus, when properly applied by a CSIA certified professional, can give your chimney up to ten years of waterproofing protection!

Call Pozzi

When it comes to taking care of your chimney, it’s clear that sooner is better than later – especially when you’re talking about early summer vs. late autumn. Call Pozzi Chimney Sweep soon to make sure that you can get your chimney inspection and cleaning done now, in the late spring. That way any necessary repairs to your mortar can be completed and cured by the time the weather starts to get cooler. Beat the rush and secure your place on the early summer schedule by giving Pozzi Chimney Sweep a call today!

Problems with Chimneys in Old Houses

Traditional masonry chimneys were one of the original styles of chimney construction, and this construction is still commonly used today. They are so popular because of their aesthetic appeal and their robustness, often holding up for many decades or even centuries. Because of their longevity, many masonry chimneys still stand today but often suffer from issues related to age.

Older Home with Chimney - Aurora IL

The one weakness of a masonry chimney actually lies in its potential for water damage. Masonry materials like brick, mortar, and concrete have a very porous makeup, so they readily absorb water. For older chimneys that have been around for many years, they have likely absorbed a lot of water. During winter months when temperatures fall below freezing, the water undergoes a freeze and thaw cycle in which it continuously expands and contracts. The masonry that has absorbed water also experiences this swelling and shrinking. After many winters of this, the materials start to degrade. This is evident by the presence of cracked mortar, missing bricks, and even collapse. When a chimney in this state is used, the smoke and other toxic fumes can seep through the holes and crack into the living space. Repair options include tuckpointing for minor mortar damage and a complete rebuild, depending on the extent of the damage.

Another common issue with older chimneys is their size. The logic behind building chimneys used to be the bigger the better, but studies have proven that an ideal size chimney exists for every size of fireplace. The chimney functions by way of draft, or air flow. Hot air from the fire rises through the chimney, drawing air from inside the house and through the fire. This directional air flow is vital for sustaining a good fire. When the chimney is too wide, the hot air has more space to spread out, and thus, it cools faster. This slows the rise of air, sometimes to the point of reversing it, which results in smoke backing up into the house. A chimney and fireplace specialist can address this issue by adding a properly sized chimney liner.

Speaking of chimney liners, older chimneys often do not have them. The creosote and soot created by the fires over many years has built up directly on the masonry. When combined with water vapor, the soot can become acidic and eat away at the brick and mortar. Again, this issue can be fixed by installing a chimney liner, made of heat and acid resistant stainless steel or ceramic.

An older home offers plenty of charm and character, but the aged chimney that came with it may need some special attention to function safely. A chimney inspection, which should be done annually, anyway, can determine what your chimney needs. If you live in the Aurora, Illinois area, contact the chimney experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweep to schedule an inspection.