Common Failures in Brick Chimney Restoration Projects
Chimney restoration projects often go wrong, and common failures are a direct result of hiring someone other than a chimney restoration expert. Certified chimney sweeps frequently fix chimney restoration projects gone wrong. The bottom line is that homeowners can save money when they choose qualified chimney masonry experts at the outset for chimney restorations. The following are common failures that occur when brick chimney restoration projects go wrong.
Persistent Chimney Leaks
Brick chimneys with brick veneer are often the source of persistent leaking. In many of these cases, there is no problem with the brick masonry. Instead, the leak is caused by faulty design, issues related to intended use, and if the installation was performed by a person who lacks adequate knowledge and skill.
Common Chimney Restoration Failure Points
Chimneys are highly vulnerable to damage, and many things can go wrong. The following are among the common areas in which chimney failures occur during chimney restoration:
- Chimney cap installation
- Penetrations such as flues and vent stacks
- Underlayment such as felt
Painted or Coated Chimneys and More
Here is an example of a faulty chimney restoration project. Before the arrival of an expert in chimney restoration, the customer had previously been instructed to reseal their existing chimneys to prevent chimney leakage. The chimneys were painted by a trusted interior painter. Although the product was right, the application was wrong, which was understandable. The painter lacked experience in exterior painting. Also, he did not realize that the chimney leak would not be resolved with the application of the coating material he used.
The same customer had a problem with flashing. Copper flashing had been replaced, but what was needed was proper through-wall flashing. In addition, the roof deck was not adequately supporting the weight of the chimney bricks. Around the chimney, triple-header construction was needed.
The Unending Leak
In another real-life example of a chimney restoration project gone wrong, numerous chimneys at a 50-unit apartment complex were leaking. Design flaws had been suspected and it was clear that they needed to be corrected. To determine the root cause of the leaky chimneys, the demolition of one chimney was tackled. It was quickly obvious that the chimney had been “sealed” with so many layers of coating that only about five or six bricks could be removed at one time.
It also became evident that the flashing and counterflashing at the base of the chimney were purely decorative. There had been a complete lack of soldering. As a result, under the base flashing, the deck and parts of the framing had rotted.
Misunderstanding About Brick
Brick is often incorrectly assumed to be impenetrable. Many different conditions must be met to achieve the proper installation of a brick chimney in a restoration project. Considerations include the fact that water runs downhill and the building materials are highly absorptive. These principles create impediments and water movement should be redirected rather than halted.
Contact Guardian Chimney Sweeps
If you need brick chimney restoration, avoid unnecessary expense and hassle by contacting Guardian Chimney Sweeps. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps have experience and training to deliver high-quality workmanship on all brick chimney restorations.
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