Masonry Chimney Repairs Are Our Specialty
There is something undeniably timeless about a traditional masonry brick fireplace. The faint sounds of wood crackling and snapping that thrum throughout the home… The ambient glow that draws everyone into its warmth… Or maybe we just love them because they keep us nice and toasty throughout the cold Ohio winters.
No matter the reason, brick chimneys are only as cozy and functional as their maintenance schedule – which is to say that regular use requires regular upkeep. And when it comes time for said maintenance and general upkeep, who should you turn to with all your home heating questions and concerns? For homeowners in and around Montgomery County, OH, the answer is simple: none other than Mid-Valley Chimney Repair & Sweeps. In operation for over 20 years, we’re your trusted local experts.
So, what’s the problem? Have you recently noticed issues with your masonry system? Does your chimney look water-stained and weathered? Are you in search of a one-stop shop solution to put an end to your chimney woes?
Or maybe you’re managing a commercial space that needs some light masonry work completed?
You’ve come to the right place. Schedule a service appointment right here through our website, or you can call 513-727-0994 to speak with a talented member of our team. We look forward to serving you.
Can a Brick Chimney Be Repaired?
First things first, can a brick chimney really be repaired? Everyone knows the properties of brick to be strong, durable, and virtually indestructible, but is this true? And if so, is it even possible to repair a brick-formed structure and restore it to its original state?
The truth of the matter is twofold.
- Yes, brick is solid, sturdy, and trustworthy. But it’s not altogether impenetrable or resistant to damage and general weathering.
- What’s more, when done correctly, repairing a brick chimney will reinforce its strength and guarantee it lasts for years to come.
And while it is absolutely possible for us to completely repair and restore a brick chimney to its former glory, the precise service, process, and cost is entirely dependent on the state of your masonry and its sustained damage.
All that said, whatever your system is in need of, from tuckpointing services to a partial rebuild, Mid-Valley Chimney has you covered. Questions about our company or the services we provide? Reach out – we’d love to hear from you.
What Common Problems Does Masonry Face?
Ok, so we know that they are fixable, but what seems to cause the majority of issues that need fixing? And if we could only list one, what is the main culprit behind masonry damage?
Well, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water is what’s likely to trigger the most issues for your chimney over time. This is why we urge our customers throughout Cincinnati, Milford, Oxford, Troy, and more, to invest in waterproofing services before any decay or crumbling has a chance to take place.
What happens to brickwork and mortar that’s left unprotected?
- Staining and discoloration. Between soot stains, vegetation and mold growth, efflorescence, rust, and more, your chimney could face all types of discoloration. If you spot patches that are green, brown, red, black, or white – anything that is not a “normal” brick color, really – it’s time to call us in.
- Missing or spalling bricks. If your bricks are breaking down or missing altogether, it affects not only the look of your system, but its structural integrity too.
- Crumbling mortar joints. Have you noticed that your mortar seems to be flaking or falling out? Tuckpointing services will be in order. Our crew is qualified to help with it all.
- Tilted or leaning chimney. If your chimney isn’t standing as straight as it used to, those warning bells in your head should be going off strong. If left unaddressed, you could eventually experience a collapse, which would cause significant damage to your home – and could cause serious injury, too.
- The freeze/thaw process. Here in Montgomery County, we’re not strangers to cold weather in the winter. Ice, snow, and freezing temperatures are the norm, which makes your brickwork more vulnerable to cracking when the absorbed water freezes and expands.
How Do You Fix Crumbling Chimney Mortar?
Perhaps one of the most underrated parts of a masonry chimney is the mortar holding every single brick in its place. This material is composed of a sand/cement mixture and is used for binding materials together. But because a chimney is meant to ventilate a fireplace, it is important that the materials are somewhat permeable to allow for the passage of vapors and the general ebb and flow of different temperatures.
All of this means that mortar has to be porous, which is good in some ways, but also causes it to absorb rain, melted snow, and any other moisture in the air. This moisture then gets trapped in the chimney structure, and when the temperature drops and that water freezes, it expands within the mortar, causing it to crumble and begin to fall apart.
Fortunately, it is because of this very property that repairing old, deteriorating mortar is actually a rather simple and straightforward process. Known as tuckpointing (and also called “repointing” or “brick pointing”), the way to fix these damaged joints is to dig out the old, worn mortar and replace it with new. We’ll dive into this more in depth a little later. For now, just know that if you notice spaces between your bricks where there appears to be missing mortar, there is a simple solution that will not only improve the crisp, refined look of your masonry chimney, but will reinforce its structural integrity, too.
Why Are My Chimney Bricks Crumbling?
Maybe you’re reading this after recently giving your own masonry an external once over and finding many of your bricks to be a flaking, crumbly mess. You grumpily think to yourself, “If bricks are so strong and durable, why are they falling to pieces all over my roof?”
The answer, of course, is that, like the mortar that holds your chimney together, bricks are an incredibly permeable material – especially if they have not been properly weatherproofed. Be it a torrential downpour or simply an extra humid day, untreated bricks will draw in any moisture in the air and retain it.
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that just one normal-sized brick can hold anywhere between one cup to a cup and a half of water? Let’s imagine that an average chimney for a 1½ story house is constructed of approximately 1,200 bricks. If each and every one got completely soaked, the chimney alone would be responsible for nearly 150 gallons of water, weighing in at just around 1,000 pounds. Need a reference to make sense of such a number? That weight is equivalent to four full sized refrigerators – that is heavy.
Sure, that can’t really be good for your chimney, but what does it have to do with your bricks spalling and crumbling? Well, whenever water gets sucked into the pores of your bricks and mortar, there really is no way for it to get out. What ends up happening is that the trapped water will begin to erode the material from the inside out, even if everything appears to be fine from the outside. This, of course, is only exacerbated by the inherent freeze/thaw process we experience here in Montgomery County.
The short of it is this: water expands when frozen – no matter the surrounding conditions – and when there isn’t enough space, things shift to create some. When the outside temperature eventually does rise and the world begins to thaw, so too does your semi-frozen masonry, illustrating just how severely the winter weather affected it – and just how much work will have to be done to repair the damage.
Concrete Crown Repairs – Before
Concrete Crown Repairs – After
Can You Repair a Cracked Chimney Crown?
Absolutely. Just about every chimney-related issue you can think of has a solution. …as long as you put in your due diligence and find a great company to work with.
Hint: If you’re reading this, you picked right – Mid-Valley Chimney Repair & Sweeps is the preferred chimney repair, maintenance, and general service company across Southwest Ohio and specifically Montgomery County. Reach out today to learn more.
When it comes to chimney maintenance, it can sometimes be hard to remember all the various components that work together to form an effective system. One of these parts is the chimney crown. Found just beneath the cap, the chimney crown sits atop the chimney, and it’s designed to seal off the top of the chimney and protect against water damage, animal entry, and other debris that could otherwise harm the inside of the system. Many chimney crowns are incorrectly built and, as a result, crack and fall apart over time.
Fortunately, a cracked crown will not render your chimney useless forever. With the help of special equipment and the right materials, our experienced chimney technicians can break up your existing crown (likely built from leftover mortar when the mason was constructing your chimney) and replace it with one poured from concrete, all with the help of a wooden form built to your chimney’s precise dimensions.
Looking for something with perhaps a bit more coverage and an added “wow” factor? Maybe you’d like to replace your damaged crown with a chase cover and a full coverage cap. Book something with us right here on our website, or give us a call at 513-727-0994 to learn more and get started.
What Masonry-Specific Services Do You Provide?
We’re glad you asked. We provide a range of services to help keep your brick looking and performing its best. You can count on us for the following masonry-specific services:
Is your brickwork in generally good condition, save for its old and weathered appearance? Over time, it’s natural for the color to fade – even in cases where the entire system has been properly weatherproofed. There are just some things that are hard to avoid. Luckily, there is a solution.
A proud supplier of Masonry Cosmetics’ permanent brick staining products, Mid-Valley is here to help you achieve the brickwork look of your dreams. Whether you seek to restore the color of a once bright and vibrant masonry chimney, match a new addition to a brick color that is no longer available, or just want to change the look entirely, Masonry Cosmetics’ brick stain is the way to go.
How does this work?
Completely translucent and fully absorbed by the pores of the brick, all of the brick stains we utilize are permanent, preserving the natural textures and variations of the original material. Because they are designed to permeate the brick, as opposed to act as an additional layer or coating, these stains do not inhibit your chimney’s ability to breathe with the ebb and flow of ventilated vapors or fluctuations in temperature.
By combining a bonding agent to an environmentally safe carrier, Masonry Cosmetics’ permanent brick stain uses chemistry to create a product meant to last the test of time.
Curious about color options (don’t worry, there are tons and even if you don’t see one you like, they are easy to customize to your preferences)? Interested to learn more and see if your chimney (or other brickwork) is a candidate for brick staining? Schedule a time to meet with someone from the Mid-Valley Chimney team. Let’s chat about your options and find the one that best suits you and your home!
Tuckpointing, repointing, brick pointing… Are these all different ways to refer to the same service or is each process uniquely categorized according to individual distinctions? Yes and no. For the most part, all “pointing” services are more or less the same in that they require the technician to chip away at old, crumbling damaged joints in order to replace them with fresh mortar.
The difference lies in the semantics: one is simply meant to remove the old to replace with the new (repointing), while the other goes a step further and utilizes two different colors of mortar to create a clean, crisp distinction between the bricks and their joints (tuckpointing).
Whether you choose to tuckpoint or simply repoint is really up to your personal and aesthetic preference. However, if your chimney has been determined to require such a repair service, it’s best to take care of it right away, so when the time comes to use your fireplace, everything is all set and ready to go. Tuckpointing ensures that your strong, sturdy brick chimney remains that way and does not fall victim to water damage, animal entry, or any other such culprit.
A few cracks, gaps, or separations might seem innocent, but can ultimately wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy system.
No matter if your crown is cracked, crumbling at the edges, or chipping off in pieces, we can restore it to an optimal state of functionality. We see it all the time in our field: chimney crowns are often not properly constructed, leading to performance and protection issues down the line. Designed to be made of concrete poured in a dimension-specific form at the top of your masonry chimney, we commonly see leftover mortar smeared across the chimney in a crude imitation of a poured crown – with none of the associated benefits.
They might not appear to do much, but chimney crowns are an integral part of the external chimney system and protect both the chimney itself as well as the rest of your home.
Don’t forget – without all the structural components and various levels of protection, a chimney is really just a highly decorated tube connecting the inside of your home to the outside. Without help, it won’t fair well against rain, wind, animals, debris, and anything else Mother Nature throws your way.
Other than the chimney cap, which covers and protects the flue, the chimney crown is the first level of defense in protecting the inside of your chimney system from damage. If damage does occur, you risk causing more harm to the system itself, as well as exposing your home and family to numerous hazards.
Light Commercial Work
Do you own or manage a commercial space that needs masonry or chimney repairs? We’d love to be there for you too. We offer light commercial masonry repair services for businesses owners all throughout our service area, and we’re certain we can help with any of the mentioned services above if your company is looking a bit broken down or unpolished.
Remember – it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you know it’s been a minute since anyone has been up to check out the top of your masonry, or if you’ve noticed strange odors or signs of leakage, schedule an appointment with Mid-Valley Chimney Repair & Sweeps. Book right here online or by calling 513-727-0994.
Can You Resurface a Brick Chimney?
Absolutely, you can. The process and materials, however, will be determined by the state of duress your chimney is under. Specifically, there are a few different options, ranging from products meant to repair minor cracks and crevices to total liner replacement systems.
Let’s say your masonry chimney sports a terra cotta tile liner that, save for some signs of regular use and old age, is in pretty good shape. You’d likely be a candidate for one of the various HeatShield® product applications that involves a specific, ceramic/refractory mixture meant to seal any discrepancies and withstand the test of time.
If, however, that same clay-lined masonry chimney has significant damage – whether that’s in the form of extreme cracks and other breakage or the tile has been misshapen and is missing in numerous places throughout – it very likely will need to be replaced with an alternative liner, such as one made of stainless steel.
How Do You Fix a Crack in a Masonry Chimney?
Well, ultimately that just depends on where the crack is and how deep it goes. For instance, if you notice that your bricks are beginning to separate and the mortar is coming loose, you likely only require a tuckpointing or repointing job.
If, however, you notice that your bricks themselves are beginning to crack, crumble, and generally deteriorate, the repair will look a bit different.
Not to fear, though – brick replacement may be a bit more involved, but it is never impossible. Rather than just digging out the mortar joints, spalling and damaged bricks will need to be removed as well. Utilizing specific tools, our chimney sweeps go in and target only those that must be replaced so as to preserve time, money, and resources. After all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right?
Still wondering about what to do if you find a crack in your masonry? Just give us a call at 513-727-0994 and let us help you out.
What Is the Lifespan of a Masonry Chimney?
When maintained well and operated properly, a masonry chimney can last a lifetime. After all, being constructed from such a durable material as brick has got to count for something, right?
Again, as with any other home appliance – especially one as inherently dangerous as a fireplace/chimney system – this does not mean you can pay it no mind and expect it to operate effectively at your every beck and call.
If you want your masonry fireplace to provide you the ambient comfort you know and love for years to come, it’s important to stay on top of your maintenance. Schedule your annual inspections, don’t skip the regular sweepings, and never light the system if you haven’t done either (or you notice something is off). If you make time to give your masonry chimney a little TLC here and there, it’ll be sure to love you right back.
How Can Mid-Valley Help? Give Us a Call & See What We Can Do for You
Does your brick chimney need repair? Are you tired of scanning internet pages in search of “chimney repair near me” and “chimney liner repair do it yourself” options? Have you resigned yourself to the idea that your mantel will now and forevermore be merely a statement piece in your living space? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, rest assured that you’ve found the right place. And also please never attempt any chimney-related DIY – it’s much smarter for you to sit back, relax, and entrust the help of a trained professional.
If you are a homeowner in Montgomery County, there is simply no team better than Mid-Valley Chimney Repair & Sweeps. Book online or give us a call at 513-727-0994 and learn why we’re the premier chimney service provider across Dayton, Cincinnati, and the surrounding areas.