When the weather is cool, there’s nothing more comforting than the crackle of a fireplace in use. Of course, most of us forget about the potential danger our chimneys can represent if they’ve taken damage!
It may be scary to think about, but studies show that there are over 25,000 chimney fires in the US each year, costing us over $125 million in damage. Many of these fires are preventable with proper inspections and repair.
If you’ve been eyeballing your cracked chimney for a while, it’s always a safer idea to take on the repair project instead of continuing to use your fireplace. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to get your chimney up and running again.
Start With the Basics
Before you jump onto your roof to start the repair, there are a few things to consider.
First, you should be wondering, “Why is my chimney cracked?” You may notice a damaged chimney after a severe weather event, multiple freeze-thaw cycles, earthquake tremors, or other common causes. However, cracked chimneys can also be signs of foundation issues, so it’s worth taking the time to decide whether there’s a deeper cause in play.
Next, make time for roof safety by wearing shoes with a rugged, firm-grip tread. In addition, wear gloves and eye protection if you’ll be using a chisel. You may also want to rent a fall-arresting harness from your local home improvement store.
Replace Missing or Crumbling Bricks
If your chimney damage is severe enough that your bricks are lost or crumbling, you’ll need to replace them with new ones. Find replacements at your local home improvement store or online, and cut them by hand as needed.
Once you’re on your roof, pull away any crumbling bricks. You’ll want to take care not to remove too many at once, as this can impact the integrity of your chimney. In stages, replace them with the new ones by using the mortar and tools in the next step.
Repoint Your Mortar
Repointing your mortar can help you keep your bricks in place. You’ll need some high-heat mortar, which you’ll mix according to the product instructions. Only mix as much as you can use in about an hour.
Scrape out any loose or crumbling mortar, or use a hammer and chisel for more stubborn areas. From there, use a pointing trowel to press the mortar into the cracks, avoiding letting it spill onto the bricks. Note that you’ll need to allow the mortar to set for at least an hour, depending on the instructions.
For smaller hairline cracks, you can use a masonry sealant with a thinner consistency. Seal up any cracks or porous areas to prevent further damage to your chimney.
Fix Your Cracked Chimney Today
If you have a cracked chimney, it’s a good idea to tackle the project as soon as possible to avoid further cracking or crumbling. If you feel comfortable getting onto your roof to take the steps above on your own, get started today! If not, consider reaching out to a local chimney repair expert, as these pros will have tools to ensure safety while fixing your property.
Want more advice on making the most of your home? Be sure to take a look at our other content for additional tips and tricks.