Why Chimney Repair Is Necessary

Chimneys are exposed to harsh weather year-round, and moisture damage is a major problem. When water seeps into brick and experiences repeated freeze and thaw cycles, it can destroy the structure.

Look for white spots on your chimney’s masonry. These are crystallized salt deposits known as efflorescence, and they indicate a humidity issue that requires immediate attention. Chimney Repair Charleston SC experts will make it easier for you.

chimney repair

Damaged Bricks And Mortar

The bricks and mortar that comprise a chimney’s outer walls take a beating from harsh weather conditions. Over time, the mortar joints can crack and break, and if left unrepaired they may allow moisture to penetrate the bricks and damage other parts of the structure. This moisture can also cause deterioration, which leads to spalling bricks. In many cases, a homeowner can repair eroding mortar joints by repointing the wall with fresh mortar. This process is called tuckpointing.

To tuckpoint, first chip away all the loose brick material that is sticking out from the mortar joint. Remove any damaged brick, but don’t throw it away; it can be used for future repairs. Then, mist the whole area with water so that it’s thoroughly damp. This helps the new mortar to adhere to the existing brick. Next, mix your mortar according to the manufacturer’s directions. If necessary, experiment with the pigments to find a color that closely matches your existing mortar. Then, use a pointing trowel to “butter” the bottom and both sides of the opening with about an inch of mortar.

After buttering the new brick, push it into place. Then, smooth it with the butt of the pointing trowel until it is flush with the surrounding bricks. When you’re finished, spray the entire area with water to help the mortar cure and keep it moist for a few days.

Your chimney’s flue liner carries smoke, gases, and other combustion products from your fireplace to the outdoors. If the liner is cracked or broken, it cannot do this job properly and can result in dangerous carbon monoxide leaks into your home. The flue lining can be repaired in several ways, including replacing the old one with a new, relined chimney system.

Your chimney’s flashing prevents rain or water from entering the interior of your chimney. Loose flashing can allow water to seep into the chimney, which can cause extensive, expensive damage over time. If your flashing is leaking, you can repair it with a flexible stainless steel liner or by installing a new sheet metal flashing.

Leaning Chimney

A leaning chimney is a serious problem that needs immediate repair. It may be a result of foundation issues or it could simply be part of normal house-settling, but either way, it will need to be addressed before the situation gets worse. Chimneys aren’t very light structures, and when you have such a concentrated weight in a small area it’s easy for the structure to shift and even fall over.

The first thing that you should do if your chimney is beginning to lean is call a professional for an inspection and evaluation. The professional should be able to determine the cause of the tilt and make a plan for repairing the problem. You should also ask the professional about his or her experience in working on chimneys that are leaning. A long history of successful repairs is a good sign that the professional has the skills and tools needed to do a good job.

One of the most common causes for a chimney to tilt is because of problems with the footing. The footing is the concrete slab that supports the chimney, and it can crack or break if the soil underneath it becomes too loose. This is particularly likely in areas that have frequent freezing and thawing cycles. The footing can also crack if it was built with subpar materials or was poorly reinforced during construction.

Another common cause for a chimney to tilt is bad flashing on the roof. This type of flashing can allow water to penetrate the masonry and weaken it, and if the chimney is already leaning the added weight of the water will make the problem much worse.

Some homeowners may attempt to solve a leaning chimney by using a metal strap to shore up the structure. This type of solution is not only ineffective, but it can cause further damage by transferring more stress to the chimney’s foundation.

Cracked Or Loose Chimney Cap

The chimney cap is a metal chimney cover that keeps debris and pests out of your fireplace, as well as the flue. Chimney caps can also prevent moisture and creosote buildup, which helps reduce fire hazards. If you notice a crack, looseness, or other damage to your chimney cap, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent water leaks and other issues.

The Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is the masonry structure that forms the topmost section of your chimney. The crown has a slight slope so that rain and snow can be shed off of it instead of falling straight down onto the brick structure itself. If your chimney crown has a crack in it, moisture can seep into the mortar joints and deteriorate the bricks and masonry.

A cracked chimney crown will eventually cause costly water damage to your house. The moisture can rot the wood in your chimney and even cause the chimney to fall apart.

Cracks in your chimney crown may be difficult to spot, but if you notice that the mortar is crumbling or the bricks are spalling (peeling off), there is a problem. A chimney crown repair is a simple solution that can save you thousands of dollars in expensive water damage repairs.

If you have a cracked chimney crown, a professional can apply a high-heat chimney sealant to the surface to stop moisture and prevent further damage. It’s best to hire a professional for this project, as working on a roof can be dangerous. Use caution, wear proper safety equipment, and consider renting a fall-arrest harness at a home improvement or tool-rental outlet to protect yourself from a serious injury.

A leaking chimney is not only a fire hazard, but it can also let toxic carbon monoxide into your home. A damaged chimney liner should be repaired immediately to avoid dangerous leaking of this potentially deadly gas.

Water Damage

Chimneys, like roofs, take a beating from the elements all year round. Spring storms, summer lightning, and winter blizzards all take their toll. Age also plays a role as materials break down and crumble. Regardless of the reason, when any component of a chimney is damaged by water it needs repair right away.

Water Damage To The Home

Moisture entering a home through the chimney can cause significant, expensive problems that often go undetected until it is too late. Chimney leaks are a common problem that can lead to severe water damage in the ceiling and walls. This moisture can warp, crack, and discolor any wood in the house including paneling, drywall, and paint. It can also destroy plaster and rot the masonry of the chimney itself.

One of the major causes of water damage to a chimney is a gap between the flue liner and the chimney crown. This gap can be caused by a chimney cap or flashing that is loose and not properly installed. This gap allows rain and snow to seep inside the chimney and degrade the masonry. This is called spalling and if the chimney is not repaired soon enough it will need to be completely rebuilt.

Another source of chimney leaks is a cracked chimney crown. The chimney crown is the top layer of special mortar that forms a weatherproof seal at the very top of the chimney. If the crown is cracked or crumbling it can allow water to seep into the chimney itself and the house through the fireplace.

The best way to prevent moisture problems is with regular chimney inspections. These inspections can catch issues before they become serious and costly. A regular chimney maintenance routine can also help keep your chimney working at its best and reduce the build-up of creosote, a dangerous gas that can be produced by a poorly functioning chimney.


Arts And Crafts Tips And Advice Straight From The Pros

In order to become better at arts and crafts, you need to immerse yourself within the field, networking and reading about different tips you can use for your hobby. The field of arts and crafts is so expansive that you can never learn everything, and it’s up to you to take what you find out and turn it into your own creations. Prepare for some great advice to get you there.

Do you need a wonderful source for craft supplies? Many places online have great deals on craft supplies. Go to the search engines and look up good deals on craft item materials. Many stores have free shipping, too.

Search for fabric and other arts and crafts supplies online. A lot of the time, you can compare prices and find coupons on the Internet much more easily than going from craft store to craft store. When you shop online, you can get exactly what you want from the comfort of your own home.

Keep your focus on just one thing. It’s not a good idea to work on multiple projects. But, that leads to a room fun of unfinished items. Take the time to complete a project before beginning another. This gives you the best chances of finishing.

Etsy is a great place to get supplies for crafts. This online crafts retailer sells items directly from individual crafters. You can also sell your creations on Etsy. There are many types of items to buy on Etsy.

You should organize your crafting supplies. There are lots of ways to store them, so find something that works best for you. You’ll find it easier to locate what you need when your supplies are well organized. You will always be aware of which supplies are already on hand.

After having read this article, you’re surely ready to make your next creation. Think about all the advice that has been explained, and understand how it can affect your hobby in a positive way. You’re supposed to enjoy doing arts and crafts, and the more you know, the more you will have fun.

You can also visit our other websites and post your article.

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Fireplace Cleaning

Basic Fireplace Cleaning Procedures You Probably Forgot

Wood-burning fireplaces produce soot and creosote that build up on the walls of the chimney. This is a serious fire hazard and should be cleaned regularly.

Before cleaning, make sure the grate and irons are removed from the fireplace and placed on a large tarp outdoors. Also, cover any furniture or carpet with a trash bag to prevent spills.

1. Remove the Grates

A fire in your fireplace is a cozy experience, but a clean and functional fireplace requires some maintenance. Ash and soot buildup can block the chimney, creating a fire safety hazard. Similarly, failing to remove the grates from your fireplace can cause them to become coated with a layer of creosote and impede air flow over the fire.

Fortunately, you can improve your fireplace and prevent these problems by periodically removing and cleaning your fireplace grates. This process is relatively simple, but it does require some preparation and time. Before starting the project, you should turn off your furnace and clear the room of any flaming logs or debris. It is also a good idea to lay down a drop cloth or plastic sheeting in case you spill any paint stripper, which can be toxic if it gets on your skin.

Conventional fireplace grates are usually heavy cast iron devices elevated by upright legs several inches above the hearth floor. These can obstruct access to the hearth floor, and they often collect and spread ash and dust as they are moved. Some grate designs, however, are designed to allow for selective movement between a standard horizontal operative position and an elevated inoperative position clear of the hearth floor.

You can usually use a regular broom and sweep to remove most of the accumulated ash from a conventional grate. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any remaining ash and dust, but be sure not to use water. It is a bad idea to clean cast-iron fireplace elements with water; this will encourage rust. If your grate is coated in soot, you can scrub it with a wire brush and a solution of equal parts liquid dish detergent and water.

If your grate is painted, you can try to remove the coating with a commercial chemical paint stripper. Read the product instructions carefully before starting to ensure you understand how to use it properly. Be sure to protect yourself from toxic fumes by putting on a face mask and goggles. If the grate is old and hasn’t been used much recently, it may be covered in layers of flaking paint. You can attempt to remove the paint with a commercial chemical stripper, but it will likely take some work and patience.

2. Vacuum

A good chimney vacuum, which is a powerful shop or commercial vacuum with an additional ash nozzle for cleaning chips and wood shavings as well as ashes, is an essential tool for keeping a fireplace clean. It’s important to shovel out most of the ash and residue before vacuuming so hot embers, which may be hidden under piles of ash can’t be sucked into the vacuum system and damaged. The ash vacuum should have a metal hand tube rather than the traditional flexible hose so it can easily reach inside the flue and around the damper and smoke shelf. If you’re using a commercial vacuum, choose one with an easy-to-open canister for fast emptying of the ash and residue. It’s best to wear protective clothing and gloves during this messy job.

3. Remove Creosote

Creosote is a thick, oily liquid that results from incomplete wood burning. It is toxic if ingested and it can damage a chimney and impede airflow, causing dangerous smoke back-ups. Keeping creosote in check is critical, especially in older homes with open chimneys. Thankfully, there are several easy ways to remove creosote from your fireplace and chimney.

Creosote accumulates on brick edges, glass surfaces and other areas in proximity to open fires. The greasy substance can be washed away with ammonia, which is available at most grocery stores and household cleaners. It is best to use this on small patches of the substance, rather than large areas. A mixture of one part baking soda to nine parts water can also be used to clean creosote.

It is impossible to completely eliminate creosote buildup from a chimney, but regular cleaning and maintenance can slow the process down significantly. Brushing and the use of chimney sweeping logs can remove stage 1 creosote before it progresses to stages 2 and 3. Creosote removing products, like those that contain trisodium phosphate, can be squirted into a chimney to reduce the amount of residue over time.

Another way to dissolve creosote is to add several pails of hot water to the flue while a fire burns. The heat and moisture will help break down the thickened substance. Using non-flammable liquids, such as vinegar or non-toxic soap, will also help to disperse creosote deposits.

There are a number of other methods that can be used to dissolve creosote, including commercial cleaners and brushes. However, these procedures should only be undertaken by professionals who understand the dangers involved. Creosote is flammable and can easily ignite, so a professional will know how to approach the problem without making the situation worse.

Besides regular chimney cleaning, the best way to prevent creosote buildup is to burn only seasoned dry wood in the fireplace. This will make it easier to light and maintain a fire, reducing the risk of creosote accumulation. Additionally, leaving a layer of ash about an inch deep at the end of a heating season can aid in preventing creosote deposits from building up on chimney liners.

4. Clean the Firebox

If you use your fireplace regularly, it’s important to clean your firebox. The firebox is where combustion takes place, and it’s where soot tends to build up over time. Before you get started cleaning, clear a work area and cover carpets or upholstered furniture with protective drop cloths or sheets. This will keep dirt and debris from transferring to other areas of your home during the scrubbing process.

Then, remove any metal grates or andirons from the firebox. Then vacuum the hearth and fireplace surround with a shop vac, making sure to get into all of the cracks and crevices. If you have a gas-powered fireplace, turn off the supply line and turn off the pilot light before starting to prevent any unexpected surprises.

After you’ve cleaned up any ash or debris in the fireplace, put on rubber gloves and a mask to protect yourself from smoke and soot dust. Next, you’ll want to scrub the walls and floor of the fireplace with a broom or brush. Make sure you’re getting into all of the crevices and cracks, especially where soot has built up over time. You can also use a steel-bristled scouring pad if your fireplace has particularly stubborn or caked-on residue.

Another effective cleaning method involves a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP), bleach, and water. Wearing rubber gloves, mix 6 Tbsp. of TSP, 1 cup of bleach, and a gallon of warm water in a bucket. Pour some of this mixture into a spray bottle and saturate the walls of the fireplace and stained areas of the hearth or surround. Let sit for five minutes. Dip a stiff-bristled brush into the remaining mixture and scrub until clean. Rinse and let dry.

If your fireplace is made from natural stone, test any cleaners on a small section first to see how they react. Avoid using acid-based cleaners on stone or marble surfaces, which can damage the material. If you have a very old or valuable stone surround, it’s a good idea to consult a professional for tips and tricks on cleaning and preserving it.