Masonry chimneys can last a very long time. They do however, require inspections on occasion for wear and tear, as they are exposed to the harsh weather elements.
You the homeowner can make inspections in many cases. Looking for missing bricks or stones can usually be accompished standing firmly on the ground. Spotting bits of mortar, bricks, or stone on the roof can also signal it’s time to do a little maintenance.Upon seeing anything like this, it certainly means it is time to have a masonry professional examine your chimney.
Finding cracks and loose items can be a little more difficult and can require a from the roof look. Being on the roof will also allow for a closer look at the flashing. Flashing is the metal sheets near the roof line that shed water running down the sides of the chimney to the top side of the shingles and running away from the chimney. Checking these items is maybe best left to the professional.
In some cases a scaffolding will need to be erected to obtain safe access to making the chimney repairs. steep roofs usually require some type of wood framed scaffold to be built on the roof around the chimney.
You will not be able to see the top of your chimney or down inside the flues of the chimney from the ground. An installed chimney cap will have to be removed to see down inside the chimney. A very common problem with leaking chimneys is that the crown wash has severely deterioarated and is need of removal and replacement. The crown wash is a cement top around the flue liner sloped down to the sides of the chimney to help shed water.
Cracked flues can be a sign of a past chimney fire or simply old age. Replacement of bad flue liners mean some of the exterior chimney will need to be taken down. In some cases it will be necessary to reline the chimney. A metal flue pipe is installed inside the masonry flue through out the whole length of the used chimney.
Many times a chimney simply needs to be pointed. This is the process of removing loose and cracked cement joints between the brick or stone and replacing it with new mortar.
Sometimes homwowners will notice that their chimney is leaking some where inside the home. This should definitely be examined to determine the cause. In many cases the chimney shall simply need to have a masonry sealer applied to help keep water from being absorbed into the masonry.
So if you think your chimney might be in need of some repair work please give me a call. I would be glad to come over and take a look to see if I can help you get your chimney into tip top shape.