Should I Repair, Rebuild or Replace My Old Chimney?
This is a common question among homeowners with older chimneys. Perhaps the chimney has begun to leak severely, or maybe parts of the masonry are beginning to fall away. A much older chimney may not have a protective liner, and that’s a big concern. Ye Olde Brit Chimney Sweep of San Bernardino, CA, would like to share a few answers to questions about what to do with a damaged chimney.
First, before you schedule work on your chimney, get several estimates. Some unscrupulous chimney companies may say you need to have your chimney rebuilt when all it needs is some skilled repair work. A leaky chimney or one with problems in its masonry doesn’t necessarily need rebuilding. A thorough chimney inspection will determine the extent of problems and tell the inspector what needs to be done.
Common repairs for your chimney
Qualified chimney companies have several ways to restore strength and integrity to a damaged chimney:
Tuckpointing: A process that scrapes away crumbled mortar and replaces it with a long-lasting compound.
Brick replacement: When individual bricks are loose or spalling, they can sometimes be replaced to avoid a full-scale rebuilding project.
Chimney waterproofing: For minor masonry cracks, a chimney can be waterproofed with an industrial-grade sealant.
Severely damaged chimneys usually need to be rebuilt. Chimney rebuilding, especially for older, historic chimneys, should reuse as many of the original materials as possible, provided they’re in good shape.
Rebuilding an historic chimney involves bringing it back to safety and up to code as well as preserving its original aesthetics. Only a qualified chimney rebuilding crew should undertake this project.
Sections of a chimney can be rebuilt from the roof line up, from the roof line down, or from the top to the bottom. An inspection will reveal the severity of the problem and its extent. Your chimney inspector will give you a complete report and make sure you understand it before you make a decision on how to proceed.
In a few cases, an older or historic chimney will be so badly damaged from years of water intrusion and weather wear that the only good solution is to literally replace it. This involves tearing down the entire structure and building a brand-new chimney from scratch.
Chimney cap, crown and flashing issues
Restoring a damaged chimney includes ensuring that the chimney cap, chimney crown and chimney flashing are all in place and in good working order. These components serve to keep water out of chimneys. Water is a chimney’s #1 enemy. It’s the cause of a large percentage of the major chimney projects we and other chimney professionals do each year. An inspection will determine the condition of these three components.
Chimney liner repair or relining
Unless your historic chimney has been modified at some point during its life, it doesn’t have a liner to protect your home and family from toxic combustion gases and fire.
If the structure of an older chimney is sound (or becomes sound through repair or rebuilding), the addition of a chimney liner should be part of your renovation project.
Get your chimney fixed right
Ye Olde Brit has been helping San Bernardino-area homeowners for more than 30 years with chimney inspections, chimney repairs, chimney rebuilding, chimney replacements and all other important services. We’re here to keep your chimney safe, efficient and beautiful.
Reach a chimney expert today at (909) 880-2120 or get in touch through our simple contact form.