One of the biggest misconceptions homeowners often make is to repair only the visibly deteriorating part of a chimney. If the top of the chimney shows signs of wear and tear, it is tempting to focus on this immediate problem. However, this approach is like applying a band-aid on a deep wound. If the top is in a poor state, the bottom, which bears the brunt of internal heating and weathering, may not be far behind in requiring attention.
By only reconstructing the top of the chimney and leaving the bottom as it is, homeowners set themselves up for increased expense down the line. The bottom part will likely need a rebuild in a few years, meaning the recently repaired top part must be disassembled to facilitate this. Repairing only the top of the chimney wastes the money spent on the initial partial repair.
The False Security of Tuckpointing
Tuckpointing, which involves replacing deteriorating mortar in the joints between the chimney bricks, is often sold as a solution for a crumbling chimney. However, if the exterior is deteriorating, there’s a high likelihood that the internal masonry work is far worse. Tuckpointing, in this scenario, acts as a mere aesthetic fix, neglecting the internal structural integrity of the chimney, and can lead to serious problems in the future.
The Vulnerability of the Chimney Crown
The chimney’s crown is its first line of defence against the ravages of weather. Over time, it’s natural for small cracks to form in the chimney crown. If left untreated, these cracks can expand and allow water and other debris to infiltrate the chimney, potentially causing internal damage to the home or liner. This is often the catalyst for spalling – water entering brick, concrete, or natural stone and causing it to flake, peel, or pop out. The typical material used for chimney crowns is highly prone to cracking, particularly under Toronto’s heavy freeze-thaw cycles, leading to water intrusion and interior deterioration of the chimney flue.
The Advantage of Complete Chimney Rebuild
A full rebuild of a chimney is an investment that pays off in the long run. It assures homeowners they won’t have to dip into their pockets again soon for further repairs.
A company like A&A has developed a proprietary method to boost chimney durability. After reconstruction, the chimney cap and the clay flue exceed the chimney top, forming a doughnut-like cavity. This cavity is filled in a specific manner with a special mixture designed to prevent hairline cracks on the surface. These cracks can allow water in, initiating the process of erosion. This A&A proprietary cap provides a vital layer of protection, ensuring the longevity of the chimney. Chimneys are among the most underestimated parts of masonry jobs by the public. A proper repair goes beyond an aesthetic fix and delves into enhancing the structural integrity of the chimney, something that A&A takes very seriously.
Homeowners should treat their chimneys as an essential part of their house that requires due care and attention. Though more expensive upfront, full chimney rebuilds are a cost-effective solution over time, and proprietary methods like those from A&A provide additional longevity and peace of mind.
GTA, Hamilton, Burlington & Oakville.