Chimney Care Company's Blog

Chimney masonry and brick repair

Is the look of your chimney bringing down your home’s curb appeal and value? Over time, chimney masonry can deteriorate, causing your home to look old and in disrepair. On top ofbrick and chimney damage that, dilapidated chimney masonry can put your home at risk for water damage. The unsightly cracked and crumbling masonry can allow water to seep into your home through your chimney. If your chimney’s masonry is showing signs of wear, it’s time to address your deteriorating chimney masonry with masonry and brick repair. The chimney masonry experts at the Chimney Care Co. can help! We can restore your chimney with masonry and brick repair; we deal with common repairs, as well as will full-on chimney rebuilds to restore your chimney’s look and function.


Stones and bricks can last for decades. Often, the mortar that holds the bricks and stones together breaks down long before the bricks or stones. Crumbling chimney mortar looks unsightly and can degrade the look of your home. Crumbling masonry also opens up the opportunity for water to enter into the chimney. Over time, that water can further degrade the mortar and the masonry. If crumbling chimney mortar is let go for too long, it can even compromise the strength of your chimney structure. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for crumbling chimney mortar: Tuckpointing. Tuckpointing involves removing the old, softened chimney mortar and replacing it with a fresh coat of mortar. This restores the strength of the chimney and freshens its look.

Chimney crown repair

Like chimney mortar, the chimney crown often breaks down before other masonry materials. Chimney crowns will break down especially quickly if the crown was constructed from the wrong type of material, which happens more frequently than it should. Cracks in the chimney crown allow water to enter the top of your chimney. From there, it can damage your chimney flue or even seep into the surrounding layers of your home, causing mold or rot. Rebuilding your chimney crown can help protect your chimney and your home from water damage.

Full or partial chimney rebuilds

If water is allowed to damage chimney masonry for too long, the damage can become so severe that chimney reconstruction is in order. A part or all of your chimney might need to be reconstructed if the bricks, stones, and mortar have cracked and crumbled to form an unsightly and irreparable mess, or if they have degraded to the point that the chimney structure is no longer sound and poses a danger to the home.

Don’t let your damaged chimney masonry go unaddressed; call the chimney masonry experts at the Chimney Care Co.! We can assess your chimney’s masonry to determine what type of repair is needed, and we can repair your chimney’s masonry to restore the look and function of your chimney and to save your home’s curb appeal.

Reasons to Invest in a Chimney Cap

One of the best places to invest in your chimney happens to sit on top, likely out of sight and out of mind. If you’re looking to protect your home and your chimney from serious and costly damage, you should invest in a chimney cap. Here’s why.

Protect your chimney from water damageRoof and chimney

The No. 1 reason to invest in a chimney cap for your home is to protect your chimney and fireplace from water damage. Without a chimney cap in place, rain, sleet and snow all fall freely into your chimney. Water in your chimney can weaken chimney liners. It can cause cracks in masonry chimney liners and rust in metal ones. Water coming in through your chimney also can rust and damage your damper, fireplace doors, and fireplace grate. Water can damage your firebox’s masonry or metal components, as well. An investment in a chimney cap can save you from having to invest in repairing water damage to your fireplace and chimney.

Keep birds and animals out

An open chimney serves as an invitation to birds and animals seeking warmth and shelter from the elements. At a minimum, a cap-free chimney can result in a bird or bat flapping noisily around your chimney or finding its way into your home. On a more serious note, birds or animals can build nests in the chimney that block the chimney’s flue and pose fire hazards. Or, the animal itself can find its way into your home to cause damage and threaten you, your family or your pets. A chimney cap secured with a cage surround can prevent animals from entering your chimney and causing damage or other problems.

Block downdrafts

Sudden gusts of wind through your chimney can chill your home or cause ashes and embers to come bursting out of your fireplace. A chimney cap blocks downdrafts from chilling your home, forcing smoke from your fireplace back into your home or causing a spray of embers from your fireplace.

Stop debris from entering the chimney

When the wind blows, it’s not just drafts that can find their way into your chimney. Leaves, branches, and other debris can blow into your chimney. Once inside, the debris in your chimney can cause blockages that can combust and cause a fire hazard, or that can prevent smoke and carbon monoxide from exiting your home safely through your chimney. A chimney cap with a wire surround can block debris from entering your chimney.

If your chimney cap is missing or damaged, or it’s not made from a durable material like stainless steel or copper, it’s time to protect your chimney, your fireplace, and your home by investing in a chimney cap. Call the Chimney Care Co. to learn about your chimney cap options today!

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Is Cost the Most Important Factor in Who I Hire for Chimney Maintenance?

Most responsible homeowners shop around before making a decision on home purchases and service contractors. Choosing a chimney sweep to perform cleaning, inspection, and maintenance of your fireplace and chimney should be no different. But many homeowners don’t know much about chimney maintenance, which can make differentiating between chimney sweeps difficult. So how do you choose which chimney sweep to trust with keeping your fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently?

What To Look For in a Chimney SweepIs Cost the Most Important Factor Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

When you’re searching for a chimney sweep, the easy way to make the decision would seem to be choosing the sweep who offers you the lowest quote. But price doesn’t tell you what you need to know about your chimney sweep. Anyone who can purchase the equipment can sell their services as a chimney sweep. That doesn’t mean they are fully qualified to clean and maintain your fireplace and chimney to keep your home and family safe. That’s why the single most important thing to look for in your chimney sweep is a certification by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

CSIA certifies that your chimney sweep has taken the necessary training courses and passed exams to certify they know the best practices and codes involved in cleaning, maintaining, installing and constructing fireplaces and chimneys. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps also are bound to a professional code of ethics so you know they’ll treat you fairly and follow the guidelines for maintaining your fireplace and chimney. Sweeps have to regularly renew their certification, so you also can be sure that your sweep is up-to-date on their skills and industry developments.

Questions to Ask Potential Chimney Sweeps

Beyond verifying your sweep’s credentials with the CSIA, there are some additional questions you should be asking when choosing your chimney sweep. Those questions include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you provide current references from customers?
  • Do you have unresolved complaints filed against you?
  • Do you carry liability insurance?
  • What do your standard chimney sweepings and inspections involve?

The chimney sweep you hire should be able to quickly and easily provide satisfactory answers to these questions. They should have a solid business reputation and references, no complaints against them and should carry liability insurance. They should be able to describe the different levels of chimney inspections offered, and their definitions should fit with CSIA standards. When answering these questions, your sweep should be happy to talk about their experience and their services. Any reluctance to answer questions should immediately trigger a red flag.

Who Can You Trust?

If you’re searching in the greater Cincinnati area, call the Chimney Care Co.! We are CSIA certified and proud of our upstanding reputation and 30 years of service. When you call the Chimney Care Co., we’ll be able to answer all of your questions, so you can be confident that our chimney and fireplace services will keep you fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently.

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Why professional certifications matter

Professional Certifications Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyThe leading professional organizations for the hearth and chimney industry focus heavily on education. These groups know that it is important that chimney sweeps and fireplace technicians know everything they need to install, service and maintain fireplaces, heating stoves and chimneys to protect their customers and their customers’ homes. For that reason, these groups provide chimney sweeps with training courses, continuing education opportunities, conferences and plenty of information to keep sweeps’ skills sharp and make sure they stay up to date on new industry technologies, products and techniques.

Here are some of the things chimney sweeps learn as they undergo their professional certifications:

  • The science behind how wood burns within the fireplace, and how creosote develops within the chimney;
  • Industry best practices for cleaning, installing, repairing and maintaining fireplaces, fireplace inserts, heating stoves and chimneys;
  • The proper clearances for fireplaces and chimneys during installation;
  • How to select the right size heating appliance for a home;
  • How to determine if a home’s ventilation system is adequate for a new fireplace or heating stove; and
  • Codes and standards for installing fireplaces, heating stoves, vents and chimneys.

Beyond training

While training and education is the cornerstone of professional certifications, the certifications carry weight beyond that. The chimney sweeps and companies who become certified by or join the membership of industry organizations also agree to follow by those groups’ codes of ethics. That means that when you hire a certified chimney professional, you know that you are not only getting a knowledgeable professional, but also a professional who will treat you courteously and who will not take advantage of you.

Some of the things chimney sweeps agree to in signing industry codes of ethics include:

  • Following industry best practices in performing their work;
  • Adhering to local codes and manufacturers’ recommendations when installing, cleaning and servicing heating appliances;
  • Representing their company honestly to customers;
  • Educating their customers on safe operation of home-heating appliances; and
  • Behaving in a professional and respectable manner when serving as a sweep or in representing the industry or their company.

The Chimney Care Co.’s professional certifications

If you are looking for a chimney sweep you can trust, look no further than the Chimney Care Co.! We take our professional certifications and memberships seriously, and we are proud members of the CSIA, the National Chimney Sweep Guild, the HPBA and the NFPA. Call to schedule an appointment today!

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Spring Checklist for Your Chimney

As days grew shorter and the weather got colder, many of us retreated indoors to the warmth of our homes and hearths. For those homeowners who made used their fireplace(s) during the colder months, spring is a great time to schedule a chimney inspection to make sure your chimney system is in good working order. If your assessment uncovers any issues that give you pause, call in a chimney professional to diagnose the problem before it gets big, expensive, and potentially dangerous. Deterioration of mortar joints, broken or spalled bricks, and water penetration are all signs that your chimney may need repair.

Homeowners who used their fireplace during the colder months should view spring as the perfect time to schedule an inspection to ensure their chimney system is in peak operating condition.

Homeowners who used their fireplace during the colder months should view spring as the perfect time to schedule an inspection to ensure their chimney system is in peak operating condition.

My Mortar is Crumbling

Open mortar joints and cracks in the mortar also cause water to penetrate your brickwork. A good repointing job, using proper materials, will enhance your chimney’s lifespan and will enhance its appearance, too. Repointing is far more than simply forcing some new mortar into your chimney’s cracks. The process requires different skills than traditional masonry, and even brick masons with years of masonry experience might not even have significant experience repointing chimneys.

My Bricks are Cracking and Breaking

Brick is known for its durability, but time and the elements can cause bricks to crumble or flake, a condition commonly referred to as spalling. Spalling is caused when the masonry absorbs too much moisture from rain/snow and is subjected to freeze/thaw cycles. Spalling bricks have cracks and breaks in the surface and often large, crater-shaped chips. The best way to avoid brick spalling is to eliminate the moisture. If the area around your chimney crown is cracked or the cap itself is defective, this allows water to seep into the brickwork below.

Water Penetration is Destroying my Chimney

Chimneys are notorious for leaking; the flashing is a common culprit of these leaks, as it lies at the point where the chimney rises above the roof. It keeps water out of the chimney, protecting both the flue and roof. Flashings are made from a variety of materials—aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, and/or tin. You’ll want to have new chimney flashing installed if yours is missing, rusted through, falling out, or completely covered with roofing tar (a common short-term fix that could be hiding a bigger problem).

An annual inspection of your chimney by a qualified chimney professional should include a thorough examination of the external structure to look for signs of deterioration or weakness, as well as a visual inspection of the flue inside your chimney to ensure that it’s in proper working order, too. The chimney professionals at The Chimney Care Company are fully prepared to meet all of your chimney inspection and repair needs. Give us a call or stop by our showroom today!

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Chimney Care Company | 413 Wards Corner Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140