Masonry chimneys and fireplaces are sturdy structures that can be expected to last a long time, but the day always comes when things begin to deteriorate. There are three rather common problems that arise, all of which make a chimney and/or fireplace look and perform poorly.
One of the reasons a chimney can begin to look downright ugly is because the mortar has deteriorated, causing the masonry to loosen. In addition to looking unkempt, these types of chimney problems are hazardous. For instance, loosened brick or stone can fall onto people or automobiles.
Mortar may need to be replaced for any number of reasons, such as the passage of time, because the wrong mortar was used, or because excess moisture has worn it away. Masonry walls of a chimney are surrounded on four sides and at the top with exposure to extreme weather, including ice, snow, rain, and wind. Over time, the weather alone can wear away the mortar and loosen the masonry. In freezing weather, the masonry repeatedly expands and contracts, which is a lot of movement.
It can save a significant amount of money to have the mortar replaced with a tuckpointing procedure, as compared to waiting until teardown and replacement of the chimney are necessary. It’s especially important to call one of our chimney professionals right away if your chimney has deteriorated to the point that it’s leaning.
Black Staining Above the Fireplace
The aesthetic problem with a fireplace that is easiest to spot is when the area above the hearth is stained with black soot. It’s easier to see than chimney problems because it’s eye level. And the cause of the black staining is really no secret, either. The effects of a smoky fireplace are hard to miss. There are hazards associated with a chimney that doesn’t do the job of pulling combustion products up and out of the home. Besides staining the hearth black, toxic fumes can enter the home, and the combustion materials can cause respiratory problems. There are numerous potential reasons for a smoky fireplace, and our chimney technicians can help you figure out what is causing the problem.
White Staining on the Chimney
“Efflorescence” is what causes white staining on a chimney – actually, it can cause white, brown, yellow, or green staining on a chimney. When you see efflorescence, it means that your chimney is in need of repair, not just in need of cleaning to remove the stains.
Efflorescence occurs when moisture is getting into and between the masonry and the masonry contains salt particles. When soluble solutions move through the brick, stone, or block masonry and evaporate on the chimney exterior, the result is a salt residue deposit. Efflorescence takes on a fluffy or fuzzy appearance over time, as the residue crystallizes.
The color of the staining depends upon the compounds within the masonry. Not all masonry is at risk for this type of staining. One of the major factors is that there must be salt content in the masonry. The other two factors are that moisture gets into the masonry and the salt is able to move through the structure and evaporate on the outside.
The basic problem which causes efflorescence is moisture, and there are many potential causes of excess moisture.
Whatever issue you are facing that is making your chimney or fireplace look and/or perform poorly, our chimney technicians can help you identify and solve the problem.
Mailing Address: Nayaug Chimney Sweep & Chimney Cleaning, PO Box 1044, Glastonbury, CT 06033-1044
Nayaug Chimney Sweep & Chimney Cleaning / New London Turnpike, Glastonbury, CT / Phone 860-659-0937