5 Signs Your Home's Chimney Is in Need of Repair

Posted on: 20 October 2017

It is not unusual for people to overlook their chimney when maintaining or scheduling routine repairs around the house. But over time, chimneys can become damaged and need to be fixed in order to prevent further problems. Some of the common signs that a chimney is in need of repair include the following:


A chimney that is operating properly should be dry and free of moisture. One way to determine if there is a problem is by inspecting the firebox and damper for signs of rust. A damper that is difficult to operate or doesn't seal tightly may be beginning to rust. When rust is present, it means that excessive moisture is entering the chimney. Any time you see rust in your chimney, you need to call a professional to have repairs made.

Damage to the Mortar Joints

Damaged mortar joints are a serious problem that needs to be corrected promptly. A homeowner may not notice this problem on their own—examining the mortar joints is typically done while on the roof during routine inspection. When the mortar joints are damaged, the bricks of the chimney are exposed to excessive moisture. As the moisture builds up in the masonry, large cracks can form, especially in cold weather when there is a cycle of freezing and thawing. If repairs are not made, it is possible for a chimney with damaged mortar joints to eventually collapse.

Shaling Flue Tiles

When a chimney liner is damaged, small pieces of chimney tile can begin to build up at the bottom of the chimney. If too many tiles build up, it can pose a serious fire hazard. Shaling flue tiles can usually only be discovered by an experienced chimney sweep, which is why it is very important to have your chimney regularly inspected.

Spalling Chimney Bricks

Spalling happens when water gets into the brick or stone of a chimney and forces the surface of the masonry to begin to peel off, flake off, or pop out. When this happens, you may begin to notice small pieces of masonry falling from the chimney. Never ignore spalling chimney bricks-- without repair, the chimney will continue to crumble until it fails completely.

Damage to the Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is on the roof of your home and is the component that protects the chimney from outdoor elements. If the chimney crown is damaged, water can seep in between the chimney and the liner, which will eventually cause spalling bricks or shaling chimney tiles. A reputable chimney sweep should examine your chimney crown during a comprehensive chimney inspection. 

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