Are Your Chimney Bricks Spalling?
You may not have heard of “spalling” before, but you’ve definitely noticed if it’s happening to the bricks of your chimney. Spalling describes when bricks begin to flake and chip, making them unstable and possibly dangerous within the masonry.
Why do I have spalling bricks?
Even the strongest bricks can suffer damage. Over time, rainy weather and plain old age can cause chimney bricks to begin to erode. The flaking and chipping that’s common with spalling is an early sign that the masonry needs repairs, like tuckpointing.
Note that bricks can also be damaged instantly by lightning strikes, severe earthquakes and hurricane-level winds. Bricks that were of poor quality to begin with will fail sooner than high-quality bricks.
The main concern with brick spalling
For chimney repair technicians, intruding water is the primary concern when chimney bricks begin to spall. A break in the bricks will allow water to seep into the porous material and cause ongoing deterioration.
Water is your chimney’s worst enemy
Water is a chimney’s worst enemy, and much of the water damage we see in chimneys in the Long Beach and Los Angeles areas of Southern California begins with water in the bricks. Water can cause spalling, leaks, missing bricks, and more problems!
Make sure you have a chimney inspection right away to assess any possible water damage!
But even if there were no water issues, once bricks are damaged, they won’t reverse the problem on their own; rather, they’ll continue to degrade until the chimney becomes dangerous to use and live around. A leaning chimney and a chimney collapse are very real possibilities when damaged masonry is ignored.
Other spalling-related problems can include rotting in the roof and attic, damage to the chimney liner and interior masonry, and rusting of the fireplace damper.
What to do if your chimney has spalling bricks
If you notice that some of your chimney’s bricks are flaking and falling apart, or if they’re loose to the touch, or if the mortar between them is crumbling, you should have the chimney inspected.
A good inspection will determine the extent of the problem as well as how much damage has occurred elsewhere in the system because of the brick problems.
Once an inspector understands what’s happening, repair work can be initiated.
How to resolve spalling issues
Chimney repair technicians have several solutions to resolve masonry damage:
- Individual brick replacement or rebuilding of sections of the chimney
- Tuckpointing to replace decayed mortar joints
- Chimney crown repair if a damaged crown is part of the problem
- Chimney waterproofing to keep water away from the bricks and out of cracks
Additionally, various repairs may be required if damage has occurred in other parts of the chimney or fireplace system.
Expert chimney service since 1987
Oliver Twist Chimney & Fireplace has served Los Angeles and Orange counties since 1987 with complete chimney repair, inspection and cleaning services. We know how to get to the bottom of chimney problems quickly and do the work necessary to restore safety and full efficiency.
All our work is done in strict compliance with the numerous California codes covering building and safety.
If it’s time to have your Southern California chimney inspected, cleaned or repaired, speak with a chimney expert at (714) 843-9944. You can also get in touch with our handy contact form.