Did you know the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has deemed water as chimney’s biggest enemy? In fact, too much exposure can lead to rusted metal components, deterioration and decay, rotted woodwork, clogging, stains and discoloration, cracking, and even foul odors. Just one look at our Chimneys Gone Wild page is evidence enough of these issues!
Now, all of these things are harmful and important to address, but one of the problems we see the most with masonry chimneys in Nashville is spalling.
What is spalling and how can one prevent or stop it? Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about! We’re going to answer all of your questions, so you’re prepared and ready for anything. And if there’s anything we missed, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help!
What Is Spalling?
Have you ever driven down the road after a big snow or ice storm, only to notice some big potholes in your path? These potholes are a perfect example of spalling damage. Masonry materials like bricks, mortar, and concrete are very porous and naturally soak in water. Spalling occurs in cold weather when temperatures drop and cause that absorbed moisture to freeze and expand. The force of the (now frozen) water then causes the materials to crack and break apart.
Then, when temps drop these new crack will fill with more water until freezing weather comes back around and the process starts all over again. This entire process is known as the freeze/thaw effect. And the more the freeze/thaw effect happens during a season, the more damage you’ll end up with.
How Does Spalling Affect My Chimney?
Now, since your chimney is always exposed to the elements, the bricks and mortar joints that make it up tend to be very vulnerable to spalling damage. This damage is serious because it not only breaks things down, but also allows water to easily enter and continue causing issues.
Needless to say, you’ll face some serious structural damage if any spalling issues are left neglected. In fact, repeated spalling damage can even cause the collapse of your chimney.
How Can I Know if My Chimney Is Spalling?
You may be able to identify a spalling problem yourself. Do it look like the face of your chimney brick, even a small portion of it, has popped off or is flaking? That’s one clearcut sign.
That said, while spalling damage can sometimes be easy or obvious to spot, this isn’t always the case. In fact, often chimney-related damages remain deeply hidden within the flue and aren’t noticed until the homeowner experiences inefficiency or some kind of hazard, like a chimney fire or smoke in their home.
If you ask us, it’s always better to catch spalling before bigger problems occur. That’s why we always recommend investing in a professional chimney inspection. Scheduling these annually will ensure any problems are found and swiftly addressed, guaranteeing peace of mind and enjoyment with every burning season.
Can Ashbusters Fix My Spalling Brick?
Verdict is in – your chimney has spalling damage. So… can we fix it? Absolutely!
Ashbusters handles a wide variety of masonry repairs, and how we approach any spalling damages will depend on whether you have interior spalling or exterior spalling.
If we find that the interior of your chimney is spalling or cracking, we will most likely recommend you invest in relining services or in a resurfacing system. This will fill in any gaps, making your chimney safe for use again in no time.
And if it’s your exterior brick that’s spalling, we can replace the damaged/missing bricks and repair your mortar joints with tuckpointing services.
No matter which services we implement, we will take great care to make these repairs look like the rest of your existing chimney. In fact, it should look like it was never damaged in the first place!
Another note: We would always recommend hiring a chimney technician (as opposed to a brick mason) to repair your chimney brick. Chimneys face specific problems that only a trained sweep will be able to find and properly address. Hiring someone who isn’t an expert on chimneys specifically could lead to bigger issues down the line.
How Can I Prevent Chimney Spalling?
So, your spalling issues have been resolved, and your chimney is looking good again. Great! Now… how can these issues be prevented from reoccurring down the line?
We highly recommend investing in chimney waterproofing. We can apply a coat of a specialized waterproofing sealant designed specifically for bricks and mortar. This creates a barrier against water penetration, while being 100% vapor permeable, meaning fireplace vapors, gases, and any pre-absorbed water can still escape. Other DIY products or store-bought paints/sealers simply trap these things inside, where they’ll only cause more spalling damage.
Our waterproofing products work effectively and will seal your repair work for the next decade at least. If you’re looking for peace of mind, professional waterproofing is the way to get it!
Give Us a Call
Keep spalling damage from deteriorating and destroying your masonry chimney. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!