Does Your Chimney Need a Rebuild? Trust Our Certified & Experienced Sweeps
A well-built masonry chimney and fireplace can last up to a century. That’s right – with maintenance and routine care, your family can enjoy your chimney without worry for decades to come. But, sometimes, even the best care plans can’t prevent severe damage that needs professional intervention.
What if a tree falls onto your chimney during a storm? What if it’s struck by lightning? What if you’ve recently moved into a new home but the home inspection didn’t include a real estate chimney inspection, so some foundational issue was missed? Any one of these can lead to problems that can’t be fixed with a repair job. The only way forward is to rebuild the chimney.
Chimney Rebuild Before
Chimney Rebuild After
Give us a call or schedule with us online today.
What Causes Chimney Damage?
In an ideal world, chimneys would be indestructible and never need repair work. The unfortunate reality is that chimneys are vulnerable to a lot of things, including weather and natural wear and tear with normal use. The following are the most common causes of chimney damage.
Water is your chimney’s biggest nemesis. Brick is porous, meaning it has small holes and openings that allow water to seep into it, and a small leak can end up causing major damage throughout the chimney system if it isn’t addressed early. In addition, it can be hard to tell that water is getting into your chimney until the issues are widespread enough to show big and obvious signs.
Chimney Rebuild Before
Chimney Rebuild After
With routine chimney inspections, though, your chimney tech can find leaks early and repair them before they’ve caused too much harm. Here are some common signs that your chimney may leak:
- Water in the firebox
- Musty odors coming from the chimney
- Damp sections of walls and ceiling near the fireplace
- White stains on the exterior bricks
- Crumbling on the roof around the chimney
- Flashing that is warped or missing
Also, it’s important to note that temperatures drop during the winter months in Cincinnati, so water damage can be compounded by the freeze/thaw cycle. The freeze/thaw process kicks off when it snows. During the day, temperatures rise and this snow and ice melt, which means the defrosted water is then absorbed into the brick. During the night time when temperatures go down again, the water freezes again. Since water expands when it freezes, this puts strain on your bricks and can eventually cause cracking to occur.
The cycle then starts all over again the next day when the sun comes up. Eventually, the damage is so exhaustive that your system is unsafe to use until a professional comes and looks things over.
Just like your gutters or your septic tank, your chimney needs TLC to work the way it needs to. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you have your chimney inspected at least once a year. Inspections should also be accompanied by annual sweepings – also referred to as cleanings.
Why is chimney cleaning so important to chimney maintenance?
If you use your chimney regularly, dirt, soot, and creosote will build up on your chimney’s walls. Creosote is a black, tar-like, and highly flammable combustion byproduct that can appear flaky, crusty, drippy, or glassy depending on the stage of buildup. It is the leading cause of chimney fires and needs to be removed regularly to ensure your system stays safer for use. One of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps can diagnose the stage of creosote buildup in your chimney and provide the best course to remediate it.
If you barely use your chimney, you’re probably thinking it would be okay to skip an inspection every now and then. That’s a bad idea. Local critters like squirrels, birds, raccoons, and bats love to nest in chimneys. Not only is it potentially hazardous to the health of your family to live so close to wildlife, their nests are usually made out of flammable materials like leaves, twigs, and insulation.
A Natural Event
Mother Nature is unpredictable. Skies can be a crystal clear and blue one minute, and then out of nowhere a dark cloud rolls in. The next thing you know, a tree branch has collided with your home, and your chimney looks like it’s gone nine rounds in a heavyweight fight.
Call in Mid-Valley Chimney and we’ll inspect your chimney for problems after a weather event.
Repair vs. Rebuild: What’s the Difference?
The worst has happened. During your chimney inspection, some type of problem was discovered and now you have to decide what to do next. Which is better – a repair or rebuild?
Well, it depends on the issue at hand. If the damage is minor like a cracked chimney cap or crown, a quick repair job can fix the issue. In these cases, investing in a rebuild really isn’t worth the extra expense when the fix is so easy – and inexpensive – to tackle.
In the instance that problems are more extensive – maybe your chimney is leaning or large sections of it are falling off – a rebuild may be the right choice. In these cases, repairs simply won’t cut it, making starting from scratch the more affordable – and, honestly, the more simple – route.
Not sure where you stand? A Mid-Valley technician will thoroughly inspect your chimney and outline the best course of action for you and your budget. Give us a call or reach out online now. We’d be happy to help you through this process.
What Happens During a Chimney Rebuild?
First things first, what kind of chimney rebuild do you need? The two most common types of chimney rebuild are a partial rebuild and a complete rebuild. Which one is right for you depends on what type of issues we identify in your chimney and where.
- Partial Rebuild: This type of rebuild is best when only a few sections of brick appear to be crumbling, spalling, cracked, or missing. These repairs are entirely above the roofline and do not involve scaffolding. A partial rebuild may involve a complete replacement if the chimney is small or the replacement of only the top few rows or layers of brick in larger chimneys
- Complete Rebuild: Major structural concerns tend to require a complete rebuild. If your chimney is leaning, has spalling in several areas, or has a lot of mortar and brickwork deterioration, we may recommend this path. Our technician will remove the damaged sections of your chimney and replace them with new materials. This could also include replacing all the metal materials in the chimney that have been compromised by rust and corrosion due to water damage.
Why Trust Our Experts?
Here’s the thing with chimney rebuilds… When done right, they can give you peace of mind for decades, knowing you’re using a system that’s working efficiently and not putting your home at risk. But all too often, homeowners quickly go for the crew with the cheapest offer, neglecting to look at their history, reviews, or credentials first.
For these folks, the upfront savings typically wind up costing them a lot more later. If rebuilds are not completed correctly from the get-go or if corners are cut to save time and expense, you’ll only end up facing more damage in the coming months or years. And what could have been wrapped up nicely with one big job has now turned into multiple days of work and drained even more money from your bank account.
To avoid issues, be sure to hire a team that’s certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), has good online reviews, and maintains a strong set of values and ethics – like us.
How Can I Protect My Chimney After a Rebuild?
If you’ve recently had a rebuild completed, then doing everything possible to protect your investment is a must. Here are some things we recommend…
- Annual Inspections: Investing in inspections every single year (ideally in the spring or summer before your burning season) is the most effective way to keep your system in good shape season after season. These overviews allow your sweeps to spot any hidden damage or buildup that might affect performance or weaken your system.
- Regular Sweepings: Should excess creosote or buildup be present, you’ll want to have a sweeping completed as soon as you can – and definitely before lighting any more fires. Creosote in your flue ups your chances of experiencing a chimney fire, and it affects the system’s ability to vent properly too.
- Waterproofing: Once your masonry is restored, waterproofing will prevent it from soaking in moisture and breaking down again down the line. Trust our qualified crew to get it done right with vapor-permeable products.
- Chimney Cap Installation: Chimney caps play many roles in keeping your system running safer over time. Their main job is to keep out snow and rain, but they also block downdrafts, keep out animals and flying debris, and can serve as spark arrestors.
- Prompt Repair Work: If your sweep points out damage (or if you notice concerning spots on your own), the sooner you invest in repairs the better off you’ll be. The longer chimney decay and deterioration go unaddressed, the worse it will get. Schedule repair work right away to avoid more expensive fixes down the line.
Bring Us in To Rebuild Your Chimney
Are you ready to rebuild your chimney? At Mid-Valley Chimney, we understand the stress a project of this size can cause homeowners. We strive to provide an experience that is as seamless as we can. Call us at 513-727-0994 or request an estimate from us online today. We can’t wait to speak to you!