It can be frustrating to watch your masonry chimney literally crumble before your eyes. As you find brick pieces on the ground, or see holes in your chimney structure, you likely wonder what is happening to you chimney, how to fix the existing damage and how to prevent further damage.
If you notice your masonry chimney cracking and crumbling, the damage — called spalling — shouldn’t be ignored. It generally signals a larger problem, and left unchecked, it can cause extensive damage to the structure of your chimney. Fortunately, when caught early, spalling can be repaired and prevented.
What is spalling?
Masonry materials are porous in nature. As your chimney is battered by rain, snow and ice, it absorbs moisture. When temperatures drop, the moisture trapped in the masonry freezes and expands. This causes the masonry to crack, crumble and break apart. Over time, those small breaks and cracks weaken your chimney. The deterioration can open your chimney up to even more water damage and even erode your chimney’s structural integrity.
How do you fix spalling bricks?
Watching bricks crumble can be overwhelming, and you may wonder if you are headed toward an expensive chimney rebuild. In most cases, spalling can be corrected with some less extensive masonry work. Bricks can be sealed, and masonry joints can be tuckpointed to reseal the chimney structure. If the damage is more widespread, a portion of the chimney may need to be removed and rebuilt. Your chimney expert also can help you determine how water is entering your chimney and how you can protect your chimney from further spalling and water damage.
How do you prevent spalling?
If you’ve started to notice minor spalling, you can prevent further damage in addition to having existing damage repaired. The key is to take as many steps as possible to prevent water from entering your chimney’s masonry. A sturdy and properly placed chimney cap prevents water from running down your chimney’s flue. Chimney crowns prevent water from running down the exterior walls of your chimney, but over time, they can crack and crumble, opening your chimney up to water damage. Repairing chimney crowns can help protect your chimney’s masonry from water damage. And one of the best things you can do to protect your chimney from water damage is to have it sealed with a waterproofing agent. Chimney waterproofing systems prevent your chimney’s masonry from absorbing more what while still allowing your chimney’s masonry to “breathe” and release any moisture that already may be trapped inside.
The chimney experts at Clean Sweep Anne Arundel County can help you address and repair spalling and your chimney, and we can help you protect your chimney from further water damage. Call us to schedule an appointment today if you have noticed spalling bricks or other masonry damage, or if you would like to learn more about protecting your chimney’s masonry from future water damage.