Having a real brick chimney and fireplace in your home is a huge benefit in those nasty cold Cincinnati winters. There are numerous benefits to having a chimney in your home, yet these benefits don’t come without some extra work. Chimney repair is a necessity with any brick and mortar chimney regardless of where it is and how it was built. Your chimney is going to need some tender love and care to make sure your fireplace is always running safely and efficiently.
The process of tuckpointing may be one that most homeowners have never heard of. Anyone familiar with chimney repair will understand the term, as it is a very common way to deal with damage over time. Every chimney is going to experience damage and destruction from mother nature, it is your job to keep up with maintenance to keep it working the way it should.
Keep reading if you are interested in learning more about the process of tuckpointing and why it is needed.
Chimney Repair Is A Necessity
There is no maybe or might when it comes to doing repairs to a brick and mortar chimney. If you are not cautious and keeping up with maintenance you could find yourself doing some chimney rebuilding way before you thought you would. All mortar will start to dry out and crack over time, especially when you have a rough year weather-wise. Chimney maintenance is going to ensure that you keep your unit safe and also that you don’t run into any gigantic extra costs.
What Is Tuckpointing?
It may sound like a complicated process, but tuckpointing is simply an elaborate way to describe brick and mortar chimney repair. While this is not the only way to get the job done, it has been used very successfully for many years. It is going to start with a chimney cleaning that may include powerwashing or chimney sweeping. This is to make sure they don’t have any dirt or debris in the way when doing the repairs.
The experts will then start removing the old grout, normally there will be red grout and white grout to deal with. They will make sure the grooves where the old mortar was removed is as symmetrical and similar as possible. This is going to ensure the new grout goes in properly and uniformly to give you a perfect seal. Once the red mortar has been set in place they will then apply grooves to the middle and add the mortar you typically associate with these chimneys, white.
You Must Take Care Of Your Chimney
You must ensure that you carry out the necessary annual inspections and maintenance to your chimney and fireplace. Chimney repairs can add up fast if you don’t take the time to care for your chimney. If it gets bad enough you could have a chimney fire and if that happens you may need an interior paint job as well. Fire and smoke need to be respected, and one of the best ways to respect these is to take care of your chimney properly at home.
Before you find yourself in the situation where you need to look at chimney rebuilding you should take some time to learn about chimney maintenance and repair. Having a chimney and fireplace is certainly a privilege, and it is also quite the responsibility at the end of the homeowner. Many things can go wrong with your chimney if you don’t take care of it, and chimney repair like tuckpointing can have some major benefits.
Tuckpointing is the process of scraping and removing all the old and dry mortar, that has been damaged over the years and replacing it with fresh mortar. This may sound like a fairly simple process but it takes a lot of training and experience to do the job right. Chimney rebuilding is something that no homeowner wants to get into, it is expensive and time-consuming, you are always much better off doing your annual maintenance and chimney cleaning.
Keep reading for more information on the benefits that tuckpointing can provide for your chimney and fireplace.
It Is Cheaper Than Chimney Rebuilding
If you have never had the pleasure of going through a full chimney rebuild, you can trust that it is something you don’t need to experience in your lifetime. Sometimes you cannot help it, due to an accident or horrific weather, but other times it can be completely on you for not doing the routine maintenance. Chimney sweeping and powerwashing should become part of your annual routine and you won’t have to worry about chimney rebuilding any time soon.
Tuckpointing Keeps The Water Out
Just about the most important part of keeping your chimney and fireplace running well is to keep the water out of it. When mortar starts to dry out and crack over time it creates tiny spaces for water to start to force its way in. Once the water starts to get in it is downright impossible to stop it without doing repairs. If water starts getting in through your chimney, you may find some interior painting on the to-do list next.
Tuckpointing Keeps The Smoke Flowing Correctly
The last thing you want to worry about when you have a fire roaring is the smoke escaping back into your home. Smoke is very dangerous and needs to be ventilated and controlled to make sure it doesn’t hurt you or your family. If you were to leave a leak unrepaired over time you could be looking at serious smoke damage to your home and even major health problems for you and your family.
Tuckpointing Raises Your Home’s Value
Anything that is going to make your home safer, more efficient, and look better is going to add to the value of a listing. Newer masonry work is going to be one of the first things that stands out to potential buyers. If you want more out of your home when you sell it, tuckpointing may be exactly what you require.
Benefits Outweigh Costs
When you are assessing if you should spend on a home improvement project the main question is normally if the price will be worth the time, effort and cost. Tuckpointing and chimney rebuilding is not going to keep you from needing chimney sweeping, but it will make sure your chimney and fireplace are in good working order, looking well, and will stand up to mother nature for another year.
If you own a home there is a very good chance that the home has a chimney to help, at least, with the ventilation. Chimney maintenance is something that doesn’t get brought up enough on average but is something that is most definitely worth talking about. If you talk to anyone in roofing or chimney repair they would all agree that an annual inspection is one of the most import parts of keeping your home safe as well as energy-efficient.
An inspection every year is key to picking up on any issues that may be developing. You will always be much better off fixing a small problem at the root before it starts to grow and cause something much worse to happen down the line. So, it is time to start adding an inspection to the annual list of tasks around the house, it could end up making a big difference.
For more information on chimney inspections, and why they are so important, continue reading.
You Can’t See Everything
Depending on your level of expertise in home design, you may, or may not know that most of your chimney is actually hidden in your home. That is why it is so important to get a certified CSIA inspector to take a look, maybe during your annual chimney sweeping. These professionals are trained to look for any irregularities throughout the whole system and not just what is visible above or outside your home.
The average homeowner is not going to be well versed enough to detect chimney maintenance problems on their own, especially if they are at minor levels. Trust in a professional to get in there and find any small problems before they have a chance to become larger ones. It may seem like a bit of an extra cost upfront, but it is well worth it for peace of mind alone.
Preventative Chimney Maintenance
If you were to look at your home like it was a human body, the chimney would undoubtedly be the lungs. So, when looking at it like this it would make sense to get an annual check-up to make sure everything is working properly. Your house needs to breathe to be healthy and happy, and it is up to you to make that a priority. Between power washing and chimney cleaning, every year make sure you get an expert in to make sure your home is breathing properly.
Small Problems, Small Fixes
Unless you are doing some chimney rebuilding or repair you may not think about having yours inspected by a professional. While these types of projects always require some professional care, you should now know that it certainly isn’t the only time they should happen. By getting a CSIA certified inspector every year you will be able to save money on major repairs and keep you and your family safe and comfortable. It is most definitely worth a short inspection every year to make sure your chimney is working properly and not going to give you any surprises.
There comes a time in just about every homeowner’s life that their home will require some form of chimney rebuilding. For centuries chimneys have played a crucial role in providing heat and ventilation for a home. People used the chimney for many different household tasks, including cooking, and it was meant to be practical. In the modern age the chimney has lost its essential quality, but still remains a central feature of a lot of homes. Services like chimney maintenance, chimney sweeping and chimney repair are still going strong, despite chimneys being less common and more for aesthetic value.
These days, if you are thinking of chimney rebuilding when it comes to materials and design you have many more options to choose from. Power washing your old brick chimney every spring may end up being a thing of the past once you see what is on the market now.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at four of the more interesting options in chimney rebuilding.
Change Placement Altogether
A big trend in chimneys right now is to completely relocate them to make them a more visible part of the home. You can have your chimney on the outside wall, maybe the side of the house, and really have it make a bold statement about your home. It will look taller and more prominent without the entire structure hiding it. These types of chimneys are much more suited to homes that to rely on theirs for ventilation or the main heat source.
Copper Is Hot
There is nothing quite like the look of a perfectly shined up piece of copper metal. It has a unique glow that just draws your eyes to it. If you are thinking of chimney rebuilding with a different type of material, copper may just be exactly what you are looking for. It not only looks great but it is a fantastic insulator as well. Chimney cleaning may be a little more work with copper panels, but it will be well worth it.
Nothing Is Straight These Days
Straight is boring in architecture these days, it has been played out for a very long time. With new materials and building techniques, you don’t have to have the basic straight standing brick chimney anymore. Get creative with your chimney rebuilding, have yours leaning to the right or left, or even have it leaning back staring at the sky. The sky is the limit with these types of designs, so have fun with it.
Why Only One?
Since your chimney is playing more of an eye-candy role these days why not pair it up with a partner? A lot of homeowners are defying standard roofing practices and adding a second, or even third chimney just for aesthetic value. You can do some interesting things when adding multiple chimneys. If money is not the biggest concern with your new chimney it is definitely worth considering more than one.
So Many Choices With Chimney Rebuilding
You have an untold amount of choices in roofing and chimneys now, and that can be a bit overwhelming for the average homeowner. Know what your sense of style is, your budget, and what type of functionality you need in a chimney and you will be able to choose a design that is perfect for you.
Cincinnati is known for having some pretty wet weather throughout the calendar year, and there are extra precautions that homeowners need to take to keep their homes safe. Chimney maintenance is crucial for the overall protection of your home, as well as keeping your chimney itself working as efficiently and safely as it can.
Water getting into your home can cause catastrophic damage if there is enough of it, so you need to be prudent in protecting yourself. Waterproofing is a great thing to do for every part of your home, but the chimney is an especially vulnerable area that needs to be protected. The material that most chimneys are made out of is brick and mortar, which are wonderfully sturdy materials, but water will always find a way in if it can. Chimney maintenance really needs to have waterproofing included so you can have peace of mind, as well as protection for your entire home.
Keep reading to learn more about why waterproofing is an important part of your roofing and chimney maintenance.
Chimney Maintenance Is Better Than Repair
Mother nature can be scary and water can absolutely devastate something like a house, so it pays to take precautions. If you think about the amount of damage that water can do, it is prudent to keep maintenance and minor repairs up to date. By spending a little bit of time and money every year on chimney repair you could inadvertently save yourself massive amounts in the future.
Take the time during spring and fall cleaning to focus your attention on your chimney. You may even want to get a professional involved to carry out a thorough chimney cleaning and chimney sweeping. They can also advise on what can be done to waterproof your chimney to prevent any further damage being done in the future. It is in your best interests to keep up with chimney maintenance to avoid a catastrophe down the road.
What If I See Damage?
Unless you are a chimney expert you are going to be best off calling in the professionals. If you see damage to your chimney you need to get on top of it before it starts getting any worse. A small crack in the brick and mortar could quickly turn into something much larger if the wonderful Ohio weather decides to blow in and say hello. A professional will be able to assess exactly what needs to be done to repair anything that is damaged already and also waterproof everything for the future.
When it comes to chimney maintenance it is wise to err on the side of caution. Even if you think the damage looks very minor, don’t ignore it. Make sure you get the right person to check it out to be certain that you are not going to be in for any surprises down the road.
The most important part of chimney maintenance and home maintenance, in general, is keeping up with things that need to be done, like power washing and chimney repair. There is no room for procrastination when it comes to your home and the safety of your family. Water damage can be a major issue for homes and can even be completely devastating. To avoid a complete chimney rebuilding, make sure you properly waterproof both your chimney and your entire home.
Your chimney is a very important part of your home, and when there is something wrong with it, it can lead to some major problems. Cincinnati is known to get a little wet at times and homeowners are most likely familiar with doing chimney repair because of water finding its way into their home. Water leaks can be a major issue in your home and cause a lot of damage, in turn costing you a lot of money. That is why you must be proactive with your chimney maintenance and call a chimney repair expert at the first sign of problems.
There are a number of ways you can tell that water is getting into your home through the chimney and it pays to keep your eyes peeled. A lot of the ways water can get in are due to wear and tear or even poor workmanship in some cases. Cincinnati weather really doesn’t do your chimney any favors either. It is crucial that you pay attention to any signs of water coming in so you can stop any leak before it turns into something much larger.
Keep reading to find out some ways you can spot those leaks before they become a problem.
Damage To Bricks And Mortar
If you are fairly inexperienced with building and doing repairs around the home it is going to be difficult for you to spot very specific problems involving chimney leaks. One thing you can do is get up on your roof, or as close as you can, and check the chimney itself for any sort of cracking or damage. Bricks and mortar do not last forever and can develop cracks over time and if they go unnoticed, they can lead a complete chimney rebuilding.
Damage To The Chimney Crown
Even if you are not experienced in chimney repair, during a chimney sweeping you should take a look at the top of the chimney, called the crown. You want to make sure there are no easily damaged or low-quality materials used in your chimney crown. These days a lot of chimney crowns are made strictly from concrete, which is far superior and more durable than older materials like mortar. However, some companies still use regular mortar for the crown of the chimney as it is cheaper and faster to build.
Broken Or Missing Chimney Cap
One of the main causes of water leaks that require chimney repair is due to the factory-made cover called the cap. The purpose of these chimney caps is to keep out water and debris. Installing a chimney cap if you don’t already have one or replacing an old, damaged chimney cap may solve the issue. You may not be able to find minor issues yourself and it would be ideal to get a professional in if you have any concerns.
Damage To The Chimney Flash
If you are not aware of what flashing is, it is used in a lot of different building applications to keep water out. Think of it as the sealing between your roofing and the chimney itself that provides protection from the elements. Sometimes this flashing can become damaged by the weather or from power washing and water will start getting through and cause damage in your home.
Keep Your Eyes Open
When it comes to keeping your home safe from water damage, your own two eyes are going to be your biggest ally. Chimney repair and water damage can become very expensive and time-consuming, and a huge headache in general. Keep your eyes peeled and call in a chimney cleaning expert at the first sign of damage or water leaks around your chimney.
Your chimney is one of the most substantial parts of your home. It can withstand natural disasters and high winds. It is definitely built to last as it literally has fire in a portion of it all winter long.
Even a chimney that is constructed well can develop small issues though. With all the flames and smoke that occurs in a stack on a daily basis, it is critical to maintain your chimney. By doing so, you can catch minor problems before they develop into major issues.
Continue reading to learn some of the most common masonry issues and how you can recognize them quickly in order to get chimney repairs completed before severe damage occurs.
No one wants to notice water dripping down the fireplace or stains on the ceiling or walls. A wet smell can also indicate there is a water leak somewhere in your roofing, chimney, or fireplace. Chimney repairs will be needed if a water leak is involved. Water is difficult because it can be occurring for some time before you may notice the signs of the leakage. The leak itself could be due to improper installation of the chimney cap or flashing where rainwater is coming in through a hole. Make sure to call in a chimney specialist or experienced handyman immediately if you notice a leak or other signs of leaking such as a decrease in the efficiency of the fireplace or new drafts.
Most times, your furnace should not have a smoky smell to it. There should be no smell at all. If you notice a smoky smell or even a smell of mildew, or decay, you need to be alert to potential issues with the interior of the masonry. Your chimney flue may need a good cleaning, especially if it has been a while since your last cleaning. It could also be that chimney repairs are required. You may have a water leak or need a new fireplace liner. Make sure to call a chimney sweep or professional as soon as possible.
Spalling Masonry Indicates Chimney Repairs
Spalling is crumbling of the brick and mortar as well as cracking and flaking. It can be caused by repeated weather as well as the passage of time. It is quite common in masonry, and it can be damaging if it is not repaired quickly. Usually, the brick and mortar need to be replaced with new, stronger mortar that will give your fireplace more durability and robustness. Painting of the new brick and mortar can occur, and no one will be the wiser that you had your masonry replaced.
How does a leaning chimney happen overnight? Well, it does not. Usually, a leaning stack indicates a problem with the foundation that could have been going on for years, but you never noticed. It could have been leaning very subtly and then gotten worse to the point you are noticing the lean. If this is the case, you will also see cracking in the masonry or a large crack between your chimney and your house. This may need chimney repairs, so it is imperative to call a professional in immediately.
Recognizing Masonry Issues In Your Home
A chimney and fireplace is a lovely addition to any home. It is one of the most substantial portions of your house and can add such flair and charm to a home. Chimneys can develop small issues though and need to be frequently maintained. This can be done by looking for chimney leaks, leaning, odors, and spalling and quickly repaired if problems are noted. By calling in a chimney professional, your chimney will be long lasting and will fill your home with much warmth for many years.
Chimneys are a great addition to any house or home. They give off an appeal and make a home feel special. However, they need to be occasionally maintained to prevent a buildup of chemicals and to prevent fires from occurring. This can be done with a thorough cleaning of the chimney.
Since it is summer, it is a great time to have your chimney cleaned, as you will not need it with the hot temperatures of summer. Vents need to be cleaned depending on how often you use your fireplace. For most people who live in Cincinnati, you are using the chimney daily in the winter. With this type of use, it is recommended that you have your chimney cleaned annually at a minimum.
Keep reading to learn more about the importance of chimney cleaning and how often you should be performing this crucial task.
Chimney Cleaning To Increase The Efficiency Of The Fireplace
One of the most critical reasons to have roofing inspections and your chimney cleaned frequently is to improve the efficiency of the flue. When soot accumulates near and around the flue of the stack, there is a drop in ventilation. Ventilation is necessary to remove smoke and carbon monoxide that is produced when wood is burned. Too much accumulation of creosote will prevent the smoke and other chemicals from escaping. Left untouched, smoke will back up into all rooms of your home and can cause severe damage.
Cleaning Assists In The Prevention Of Fires
Just like power washing leads to cleaner homes, chimney cleaning lead to spotless chimneys. This is important because a clean vent offers protection from fire. When wood is burned, not only does it produce smoke, but it also produces creosote, which is a dark, sticky substance that is quite flammable. The more creosote that is created and accumulates on your masonry, the more likely a fire is to break out. This is why it is of the utmost importance to schedule regular and frequent cleanings of your chimney. It is recommended to have your chimney cleaned when there is a residue of 1/8″ of soot accumulation that is visible inside your chimney or flue.
Prevention Of Carbon Monoxide
When a fire is started and burned, it is not just wood and smoke that you have to be cognizant of. You also need to be aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of fire. It is an unscented chemical that can be very harmful and destructive to humans and pets if too much exposure occurs. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, headache, dizziness, and fatigue. It is imperative to have proper ventilation in your home and to have chimney cleaning and yearly inspections of your fireplace to check for carbon monoxide exposure.
If you have a chimney that you infrequently use, it is essential for you to maintain and perform chimney cleaning. Not to prevent fires or carbon monoxide, but to prevent pests that can make your chimney their home. Wildlife such as squirrels, birds, and raccoons can find a way in your chimney and make it a cozy spot to live in. If they can get in the fireplace, they most likely can get into the rest of your home as well. A routine inspection and evaluation will allow you to see any critters that should not be there. By doing this annually, you will be able to catch any intruders before they make a nest or start storing food in your chimney.
How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned And Inspected?
Chimneys need to be cleaned based on the amount of use. If you only turn it on once or twice a year, you could go a few years without cleaning, but if you use your chimney in the winter like most individuals in Ohio, you need to have it inspected, cleaned and maintained yearly. This will prevent carbon monoxide build up as well as fire prevention. You will also increase the efficiency of the flue with a chimney cleaning. Lastly, you can remove any pests such as squirrels or birds that have made your chimney their home. Make sure to call a chimney sweep or experienced local handyman to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected today.