Deciding On Chimney Rebuilds

Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Rebuilds in Richmond, VA

July 23, 2021

The life of your chimney is dependent on how often you use it, how well you maintain it, the weather and the quality of the original construction. When your chimney’s life comes to an end in Richmond, VA, the mortar will start crumbling and the bricks might crack, exposing you to the weather and the risk of fire. Read on to learn about chimney rebuilds.

Rebuilding the Firebox

If your fireplace develops cracks or the mortar crumbles, you need to replace it. If you have a prefabricated firebox, the service technician will follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about the predesignated panels.

In case there are no manufacturer’s recommendations, the professional chimney service technician will have to prepare the cement, clean up the mortar on the bricks and ensure proper clearances for combustibles. They will then use a trowel to show where the mortar should go on the bricks. The professional will apply the cement to the panels.

For a prefabricated fireplace, they will remove the fireplace from the panel and then order a new one based on the specifications of the manufacturer. Installation of the prefabricated firebox also follows the manufacturer’s specifications.

Rebuilding a Masonry Chimney

A masonry chimney rebuild is the most common. The extent of the rebuild will depend on the extent of the damage to the chimney. After the rebuild, the professional might install a chimney cap at the top.

If the damage is minimal, you may only need the top section of the chimney rebuilt. However, for smaller chimneys and chimneys where the damage is extensive, you may need to rebuild the whole chimney. With a few bricks and mortar, a mason is able to rebuild the chimney.

After rebuilding a chimney, the professional installs a new crown and cap. In case the chimney needs a complete rebuild, the professional tears down the outer brick layer and replaces it. However, the firebox and the smoke chamber may remain untouched.

Repointing Vs. Rebuilding

There are several factors that necessitate a chimney rebuild, including:

  • A chimney that leans to one side.
  • Lack of a chimney liner in an old chimney.
  • Large cracks in the bricks.
  • Crumbling mortar.
  • Thick creosote in the interior of the chimney.

If your chimney shows the above signs, you need to call a service technician and allow them to handle the rebuild. Instead of a rebuild, the professional might recommend repointing. Repointing comes in handy where the damage does not affect the structural integrity of the chimney and may not increase the risk of a fire.

During repointing, the professional replaces or fills in the external portion of the chimney’s mortar. They may remove the rest of the mortar from the chimney blocks as the mortar is old and comes off with ease. If the damage on the mortar and the chimney affects its structural integrity, then a rebuild is likely necessary.

How Professionals Perform a Chimney Rebuild

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, it is important that a

During the inspection stage, the professional will check for cracks, water damage, damaged crown, damaged flue tiles and liners, spalling and buildup of creosote. If the professional feels that the damage to the chimney can affect its structural integrity, they will recommend a partial or complete rebuild.

A partial rebuild doesn’t require scaffolding. Instead, the professional will only replace one part of the chimney, such as the crown. A complete rebuild involves replacing the external bricks, the firebox and the crown.

After the rebuild, you will enjoy improved fireplace performance. Your chimney will also be safer, there will be no leaks, you will reduce the cost of repair and your home’s value will shoot up.

Call Rooftop Chimney Sweeps for chimney and fireplace services, including chimney inspection and chimney rebuilds. We also offer gas logs, animal remediation and pressure-washing services.

Image provided by iStock

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