If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you don’t need to be told about the weather. Here in the Seattle area, we see more rain than any other place in the continental U.S. in addition to ocean air, and somewhat harsh winters. If you live in the area, and have a chimney, you may already know what this type of environment can do to your chimney. If you don’t, you will find out soon!
Water and Winter Damage
The worst thing that can happen to your chimney system is water damage. If water penetrates your chimney system, it will wreak havoc on the entire system from the inside out, causing rusted parts, deterioration of the system, can compromise the masonry, and more. When water is present in the masonry, it can complicate your chimney’s winter performance. Cracks and damage in the masonry can cause a freeze/thaw effect that can lead to serious damage to the masonry, including spalling. The water enters through small cracks, freezes and expands, and breaks the masonry apart as it does. When the chimney warms up again, the water melts and moves further into the damaged parts. This process repeats throughout winter, until the masonry is repaired.
What is Spalling?
Small cracks in the masonry lead to spalling. Small cracks in the mortar can lead to large gaps, flaking bricks, and broken and falling mortar and bricks that become a serious hazard. Not only is spalling masonry dangerous for your fireplace and chimney system, but it can also be dangerous as these pieces of the exterior masonry fall to the roof and to the ground below.
Repointing and Tuckpointing
The repair that will correct spalling masonry is called repointing or tuckpointing. It is the process by which a chimney professional removes damaged mortar and bricks and replaces them with new mortar. This repair should only be performed by a certified professional who has the training and experience to do the job properly. If the new mortar doesn’t match the old mortar in strength, consistency, and color, then the chimney will be LESS safe and LESS strong. The color may not match and will affect how your chimney looks as well.
Call Pristine Sweeps
Our technicians at Pristine Sweeps are CSIA-certified sweeps who specialize in masonry repair. Here in Seattle, we see this type of repair often, and we recommend these repairs in the summer. Scheduling in the summer means you avoid the fall rush, and you can ensure your system is ready for the first burn of the season when temperatures drop.
For added protection, we can apply a waterproofing agent to your masonry that will repel water and prevent water penetration while also allowing heat and gases out. Waterproofing is the best preventative measure you can take to prepare and protect your chimney this winter.
Schedule today with Pristine Sweeps by calling 206-574-8414.