Although fireplaces make a beautiful addition to any home, a certain amount of upkeep is needed to ensure they remain in top working condition. One of the most important maintenance items homeowners can undertake is the care and repair of their fireplace masonry.
While the masonry may seem like a permanent, long-lasting part of a chimney, fireplace issues can often be traced back to masonry damage. As exterior masonry is constantly exposed to the elements as well as to gasses and heat from the fireplace, it tends to deteriorate at a much higher rate than most homeowners anticipate. Because of this, having masonry inspected annually is extremely important.
When fireplace and chimney inspections are done each year, minor defects such as small cracks or holes are able to be found and fixed before they turn into major issues.
Why do masonry fireplaces need maintenance?
While bricks and mortar are typically indestructible building materials, they do require periodic maintenance in order to last as long as possible.
A major concern with masonry fireplaces can occur if the fireplace and chimney structure shift or settle. Because a full masonry fireplace can weigh as much as six to seven tons, it is extremely important that they are built on a steady base that can hold the entirety of the fireplace’s weight. If not, the settling process that occurs over time can cause the masonry to crack or break, increasing the risk for potential fire hazards.
Unlike brick walls, which are often semi-protected from the eaves and overhangs of a home, the chimney is starkly uncovered and open to the elements. This constant exposure to wind, rain, sun, and snow – as well as constantly fluctuating temperatures – can cause chimney masonry to deteriorate at a higher rate. A properly installed chimney cap, chimney crown, or the application of a waterproof sealant are all ways to extend the life of an existing chimney.
Can my old fireplace be fixed?
Once a fireplace or chimney has become damaged, some homeowners dub them unusable and decline to invest in further repairs. However, many company’s now have technicians that specialize in masonry repair and can replace missing or damaged bricks and mortar without tearing down an entire structure. This can be extremely beneficial in cases where only a few bricks have been damaged by moisture, shifting, lightning strikes, or other causes.
For homeowners looking to update the look of an existing fireplace, a fireplace facelift is an excellent way to modernize the structure without completely rebuilding. New facades of brick, stone, tile, or concrete can be custom created to exactly match a homeowners style and specifications. Likewise, stone veneers are a fast and budget-friendly way to quickly and easily make over an entire room.
If existing damage leads to an entire fireplace structure needing to be rebuilt, Pristine Sweeps is able to meet that need as well. With chimney sweeps certified by the National Chimney Sweep Guild, homeowners can rest assured that their technicians have both a technical knowledge of chimney and fireplace safety along with the masonry skills necessary to rebuilt a fireplace system.