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How Cold Weather Can Damage Your Chimney’s Masonry

Winter weather can be rough, and it can be especially rough on your masonry chimney. Snow, sleet, ice and freezing temperatures can all damage your chimney during the winter months, and it’s important that you are aware of the signs of winter chimney damage so you can stay on top of needed repairs.

The Freeze-Thaw Cycle and Your Chimney’s Masonry

Cold weather can damage your chimney’s masonry much like it damages the roadways and causes potholes each winter. Water penetrates your masonry’s porous surfaces. Once trapped inside, that moisture freezes and expands, causing your chimney’s masonry to crack and crumble.

That cracking and crumbling can have a major, negative impact on your chimney and your home. First and foremost, it can cause your chimney to look unsightly, harming your home’s aesthetics. Secondly, cracks and weaknesses in your chimney’s masonry can allow water to gain entry into the chimney’s interior or into your home’s structure, which can cause serious damage to walls, ceilings, your fireplace or heating stove, and your chimney flue. Finally, if left unchecked and allowed to progress, the cracking and crumbling of your chimney’s masonry can cause the chimney structure itself to become weakened and even fail.

Spotting Cold Weather Damage

It is important to be on the lookout for winter chimney damage so that you can have any damage addressed as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration. Some signs of freeze-thaw and winter water damage include:

  • Crumbling mortar
  • Spalling, or the popping off of pieces of chimney bricks
  • Cracking or crumbing of the chimney crown
  • Staining on walls or ceilings around the chimney
  • Crumbling pieces of chimney flue tiles found inside the firebox
  • Rusting of the chimney damper, fireplace grate or fireplace doors.

If you notice any of these signs of chimney masonry damage, it is important to call in chimney professionals to have your chimney inspected and repaired. When you ignore winter chimney damage, it only get worse over time.

Preventing Cold Weather Masonry Damage

To prevent winter masonry damage, your primary goal should be protecting your chimney from water and moisture. A chimney cap prevents water from running down your chimney flue and doing damage; make sure that your chimney cap is in place and in good repair. Your chimney’s crown deflects water away from the chimney flue and should provide some protection to the exterior sides of your chimney. During your annual chimney inspection, make sure you ask your sweep if your chimney crown has been properly constructed and is free from damage. Finally, chimney waterproofing provides a protective barrier for your chimney’s masonry that seals out water to prevent freeze-thaw damage.

If winter’s cold weather has been hard on your chimney’s masonry, call the chimney experts at The Chimney Care Co. We can evaluate wintertime chimney damage and restore your chimney’s look and function.

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

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