A leaning or tilting chimney is an unsafe chimney. This problem can be caused by many different things, but no matter what’s causing it, you should address the issue sooner rather than later. Chimney repair and rebuilding services performed right after you notice a shifting can remedy the problem, restore your chimney to safety and save you a lot of money.
Why do chimneys lean?
Badly built chimney: If a chimney is not constructed properly by professional masons or if inferior bricks and mortar are used, there’s a good chance it will begin to lean at one point and possibly suffer other types of damage.
Masonry damage: Age-worn and decayed bricks or missing sections of bricks and mortar can unbalance a chimney and result in the upper portion of it leaning.
No footing: Older home construction often didn’t include a cement chimney footing. Without a footing, chimneys are prone to begin tilting at one point in their lives.
Insufficient or inferior footing: If the chimney footing is too narrow or shallow, it may crack under the weight of the chimney. Footings built with inferior materials also are more prone to cracks. A cracked footing is a common reason for a tilting chimney.
No footing reinforcement: A footing that wasn’t built with proper reinforcement can begin to crack and cause the chimney to angle to one side.
Soil issues: Loose soil under the footing will shift over time, taking the chimney with it.
Normal house-settling: The normal shifting and settling of the house through the years can lead to a leaning chimney, although this is not the most common cause.
4 signs your chimney is tilting or may tilt soon
If you notice any of these signs, contact a local chimney service expert for an inspection and necessary repairs.
Leaky chimney that presents with water in the firebox, damp patches on walls and ceiling or white staining on the exterior chimney bricks.
Decaying mortar that leaves crumbling and chunks around the base of the exterior chimney or causes bricks to loosen.
Caulking in the gaps between the chimney structure and the outside walls of the house – this likely means the chimney was already leaning when the previous owner lived there.
Warped flashing means water can begin causing damage to areas of the external chimney within the house. It also may mean that the chimney has pulled away from the flashing.
Certified chimney inspections
Annual chimney inspections are designed to spot early signs of trouble that could lead to a leaning chimney. Repairs can then be initiated quickly to prevent further damage. Inspections from a CSIA-certified technician also should be scheduled any time you know or suspect there are problems with your chimney structure or its components.
Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, provides certified chimney repair, chimney inspection, chimney cleaning and chimney rebuilding services year-round. Before your chimney begins to lean, put us to work on it and let us restore safety and top performance to the entire system. To arrange an appointment or to get your questions answered, give us a call at (913) 236-7141.