Chimneys are an essential part of our homes that can create a lot of safety risks for our families if not properly maintained and repaired. A damaged chimney can become a fire hazard or cause severe moisture problems for your roof. Even worse, it might go so far as to cause carbon monoxide poisoning! Needless to say, we must make sure our chimneys are in good condition and call a professional for any needed repairs.
Keeping the structural integrity of our chimneys and roofs is especially important for us Florida residents. As we all know, the hurricane season can be particularly severe around here. A properly-maintained chimney can go a long way toward preventing water damage in our homes.
However, chimney damage is not always easy to detect. If we do not know what exactly to look out for, otherwise critical issues might seem like simple cosmetic defects. So, today, we will go through the most common signs of chimney damage and why it is important to perform repairs as soon as possible.
Damaged Chimney Crown
Is the crown of your chimney damaged? Even small holes can be problematic, as the crown is what protects the chimney from external damage. If it is not structurally intact, snow and rain might enter the roof, not to mention animals. We must fix any visible damage right away to minimize the risks.
A chimney’s crown experiences the usual wear and tear, and we can simply reseal small holes. However, if there is damage to the masonry or the cracks are big, we might need to have the entire crown replaced. It is also a good idea to make sure our chimney crown is weatherproof.
Paint or Wallpaper Damage
Is the paint or wallpaper around the chimney peeling? If so, we might have to call in a professional to inspect it.
The interior of the chimney might be damaged, or the flue liner might have cracked. Such a problem can result from a variety of things, but mainly from too much moisture. Unfortunately, we might not be able to determine if there is an issue by ourselves. For that reason, it would be wise to seek the assistance of a chimney inspector.
Wallpaper and paint damage can be a sign that your chimney has some structural problems as well. If the issue is not taken care of, it might end up compromising the entire roof.
Cracked Flue Liner
One of the most serious problems a chimney can have is a damaged flue liner. That is the part of the chimney that directs the airflow out of your home while protecting the chimney construction itself from the generated heat. A damaged flue liner poses a serious fire risk, so we must watch out for any signs of such a problem.
Are pieces of tile gathering in the firebox? If so, we are certain to have an issue with the flue line. Due to this problem’s extremely hazardous nature, it’s crucial not to waste time and address it immediately.
Spalling Chimney Bricks
While bricks are sturdy and last a while, they are not immune to damage. The longer bricks are exposed to the elements, the weaker they get.
Since bricks are porous, water can infiltrate and damage them from within. Storms can accelerate this damage.
Fortunately, spalling bricks are easy to detect — bits of masonry literally falling from the roof are hard to miss.
If left unaddressed, spalling bricks will ultimately destroy our chimney and severely damage our roof in the process. Luckily, regular inspections will reveal such a problem before it becomes too severe to handle.
Damaged or Deteriorating Chimney Flashing
Flashing is the sheet of metal that connects the chimney to the roof. It serves as an extra layer of protection against moisture. However, it will not last forever and is likely to suffer damage with time. Thus, we need to regularly check the flashing for cracks, rust, and general wear and tear. Such issues pose a rather serious water damage threat to our roof.
While it is entirely possible to repair flashing that has suffered some minor damage, it’s best to outright replace it. Water damage has the habit of remaining undetected until the situation is dire. Better to be safe than sorry, as they say!
Issues With Mortar Joints
Even if we take the time to properly maintain the mortar joints on our chimney, issues caused by wear and tear will certainly surface at some point. Damaged or deteriorated mortar joints will expose the chimney and roof to moisture, which is the root of all kinds of problems for our homes. Even worse, cracks in the joints will allow smoke and heat to go into places they normally should not be able to reach.
If we detect cracks or visible deterioration of the mortar joints on our chimney, we must immediately take action. Signs of damage can manifest both in the interior and the exterior of the chimney, so we must make sure to check both.
Rust on the Firebox or Damper
Is the damper difficult to operate, or perhaps it is not sealing properly? If so, we must immediately check if there is rust, and while we are at it, check the firebox as well. If any of those parts have rust, that means that there is an issue with our chimney.
An excessive amount of moisture in the chimney can cause rust to appear. It might also lead to more severe problems, including one of the most serious issues that we discussed here — a damaged flue line.
About The Author
If you are in need of quality roofing services in Jacksonville, Florida, get the job done right the first time by hiring a trusted roofing contractor such as Prime Roofing. We are a team of experienced roofers who are known for providing high-quality, fast, and dependable services. We specialize in residential roofing projects of any size and scope, so do not hesitate to get in touch with us.