Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Restoration
Everything you need to know about chimney restoration. Taking care of your chimney ensures you can enjoy your fireplace for years to come. Eventually, some chimneys require chimney restoration.
Chimney restoration encompasses several processes, from regular maintenance of your chimney to rebuilding the chimney from the ground up.
What exactly is chimney restoration and is it right for you?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about chimney restoration.
Chimney Components and Potential Concerns
A concrete sheet at the top of your chimney to direct water down the sides rather than into the chimney. Cracking because of cold weather can cause portions of the crown to fall into the chimney, inhibiting airflow and allowing water in.
The smoke channel funnels heat and smoke from the fireplace to the chimney, so that smoke does not collect in the house. An improperly built smoke chamber with gaps can cause problems, but parging–adding a layer of smooth, heat-resistant mortar to the walls of your chimney–will resolve this.
The flue allows smoke and other material to exit the home and keep you safe.
The damper lets you control airflow through your flue. This both impacts the fire itself, allowing oxygen to bolster it, and bring more airflow into the flue to push smoke out of the home. The damper should be open during the use of the fireplace and closed once you are certain the fire is out and the fireplace is cool.
The flue lining can be either circular or rectangular and runs the entire length of your chimney. This carries smoke and other materials out of the chimney and protects the bricks from being directly exposed to heat and smoke, which can wear them down faster than the flue lining and cause damage. A chimney without a flue liner is likely older and allows cold airflow in and hot air out, which means you might spend more heating the home as it escapes via the unlined chimney. Flue lining can be damaged over time due to improper installation or exposure to gases from fires.
The smoke shelf in your chimney serves two purposes: it helps protect rainwater and debris from falling into the fireplace and helps prevent drafts from pushing smoke into your home. If you do your repair or rebuild and neglect to include this feature, your chimney will not have proper airflow and can send smoke into your house instead of out the flue.
Types of Chimney Repairs
Chimneys require regular maintenance and cleaning. This allows your family to safely use them and prolong the life of the chimney and its’ parts, as well as protect the structure of your home surrounding the chimney. Maintenance also includes cleaning out creosote, a highly flammable substance that collects in chimneys with use and is a leading cause of chimney fires.
Restoration of chimneys includes smaller repairs or additions to historic chimneys to bring them up to modern safety and utility.
If a chimney is visibly in disrepair, leaning, or has cracked completely through, it likely needs to be rebuilt. Rebuilding a chimney requires special equipment and craftsmanship, and is quite involved. This is part of why regular maintenance is so important.
Signs You Need Chimney Restoration
Chimneys undergo wear from repeated heating and cooling, weather, and aging. In climates where freezes occur regularly, water seeps into the bricks and freezes, expanding and damaging the integrity of the brick over time.
Throughout their lifetime, chimneys can also lose bricks or damage can be incurred to their internal and external components. Because of this, they need to be evaluated regularly and properly maintained. While simple issues like missing bricks can be resolved with a restoration, sometimes chimneys are in such disrepair that they require rebuilding.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America reports that unmaintained chimneys can lead to chimney fires, which can range from slow-burning internal fires that damaged portions of the house around the chimney to dramatic, high-heat fires that expel smoke into the home and can even cause flames to flare up from the top of your chimney. It is recommended you have your chimney examined annually to prevent these fires and other issues.
Professional Chimney Restoration
You might think of chimneys as fairly simple in construction, but they have specialized components in need of review and repair. Improperly installed elements can cut the life of your chimney short or damage other portions of the house, not to mention endanger you. Traversing the chimney and ensuring proper cleaning also requires special skills and equipment.
Chimney repair and construction should be handled by professionals, and Chimney & Masonry Outfitters is here to help. Our team of experienced, CSIA professionals can help with all of your chimney needs including sweep, repair, and restoration.
Contact us to schedule an appointment and ensure the safety of your home today!