Minor chimney repairs should happen periodically throughout the life of your chimney to keep everything running smoothly and safely. At one point, however, more extensive work such as chimney rebuilding, restoration and renovation may be needed. This can occur for several reasons including neglected regular maintenance, a chimney fire, major water damage and old age.
While we use different names for major chimney repair – names like restoration, renovation and rebuilding – the end-goal is the same: perform the necessary work to allow the chimney to once again operate with safety and efficiency.
Many things can damage a chimney. Here are some that we regularly encounter.
Lack of maintenance: Chimneys should be inspected once a year, and they should be professionally cleaned on the same schedule. When a chimney is allowed to run year after year without the necessary maintenance, structural and component damage is sure to occur.
Chimney fires: Many chimney fires are relatively small and of short duration. Homeowners often don’t even know they’re happening. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have destructive effects on the chimney liner and then the bricks and mortar that make up the chimney structure.
Water damage: Small cracks in a chimney’s masonry, a cracked chimney crown, warped flashing, a damaged chimney cap and other problems allow water to infiltrate the system. Depending on where and how much water is getting in, severe structural and component damage is inevitable.
Old age/weather: Many years of service and cycles of intense weather events such as lightning strikes, extreme heat and cold, pounding hail and powerful winds all take their toll on chimneys. A weather-beaten chimney can deteriorate to the point it begins to lean or completely collapses.
Chimney rebuilding solutions
If your chimney is in urgent need of rebuilding, restoration or renovation, the first step is to schedule a chimney inspection with a CSIA-certified technician. This inspection will determine exactly what kind of damage exists, where it exists and what will be the best strategy for addressing it.
Every chimney rebuild is different, but the work generally falls into three categories:
- Partial chimney rebuilding: When just sections of the chimney need to be rebuilt, often including the chimney crown.
- Rebuild from the roofline up: When the entire visible part of the chimney must be rebuilt. The structure above the roof will be completely torn down and reconstructed.
- Complete chimney rebuild: When the majority of the chimney structure, both above and below the roof, is severely compromised and must be demolished. In some cases, the smoke chamber, firebox and hearth will not need to be removed, but everything else will be rebuilt.
Spring is a good time for chimney work
If you suspect that your chimney needs some serious attention beyond minor repair work, spring is an ideal season to schedule service because:
- The fireplace isn’t in use, making it easier for crews to work around it
- There’s less chance of brutal weather causing delays during the project
- Chimney sweeps/chimney technicians normally aren’t as busy this time of year
- Scheduling the work before summer won’t cut into your vacations or other warm-weather plans
Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, provides CSIA-certified chimney experts for all levels of chimney rebuilding, restoration and renovation projects. We’ve worked on many chimneys just like yours and guarantee an outstanding result. Call us today at (913) 236-7141.