Chimney Damage Caused By Freeze and Thaw Cycles
Winter weather often does damage to roads, lawns, and even personal health. Chimneys are no exception. Freezing temperatures, ice, and snow can wreak havoc on chimney masonry. Take a look at the chimneys around you and notice, leaning, crumbling, flaking, white staining, these are all signs of water damage.
Damage Caused by Cold Weather
Ever wonder how those giant potholes were formed? Blame freeze-thaw cycles. Rainstorms soak the bricks with water that enters through large pores. When the temperature drops the water inside freezes and expands. The brick breaks apart to accommodate this expansion and the cracking and crumbling of your masonry is often the result. Without repair, the cracks can become larger, let in more water, and repeat the cycle reducing your chimney to rubble. It’s not just your chimney that is at stake, the water can enter your home and affect other structures.
What to Look For
Being aware of damage when it occurs is an important step in maintaining your chimney. Signs of damage include:
- Pieces of tile from the chimney flue in the firebox
- Bricks loosened, crumbling, or flaking (called spalling)
- Cracked or damaged chimney crown? It could be allowing water in.
- Fireplace gate or chimney damper rusted – this is a sign of moisture
- Walls that have been stained by water. Look for signs of water damage on the ceiling or near the fireplace.
If you recognize any of these symptoms of water damage, please call a professional immediately. Here at Hudson Valley Chimney we will give you a thorough inspection and address all your concerns.
Can You Prevent Chimney Damage from Cold Weather?
Chimneys spend their lives outside and because of that, they will experience some weathering due to changing temperatures. However, there are things every chimney owner can do to lessen the effects of weather on their chimney and extend its life and function.
- Get a chimney cap – if you don’t have one. A chimney cap can be your first line of defense against excess water coming into your chimney and spoiling your brick. The chimney cap covers the opening of the chimney.
- Make sure your chimney crown is solid – the chimney cap sits on top of the crown which is usually a sloped concrete structure that deflects water away from the chimney. A cracked chimney crown can defeat its own purpose, so taking care of that will ensure no water finds its way into your chimney or into your house.
- Many homeowners have decided to waterproof their chimneys. This is an excellent tool in the fight against water damage. It does take multiple applications to get the desired effect, but a solvent-based solution sprayed onto the chimney can seal the porous surface of the brick, keeping water out and preventing more costly repairs later.
If you are struggling with any chimney issues, you don’t have to struggle alone. Call the professionals at Hudson Valley Chimney and we will give you and your chimney the service you deserve.
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