How to repair spalling brick on the chimney?
Spalling is when the bricks on your chimney start to deteriorate to the point where chunks of it start falling from your chimney. Spalling usually begins as small structural cracks on your chimney and grow bigger until your chimney’s entire surface starts deteriorating.
If left untreated, with time, this condition will only worsen until it starts messing with the overall structure and stability of your chimney. Once the bricks start spalling in a particular location, it only increases the risk that all its surrounding bricks will do the same. This is why you, as a Plano homeowner, need to fix this problem as soon as you notice it.
What causes spalling bricks?
These are various things that contribute to spalling bricks, but one of the most common sources of such type of damage on your chimney is water. Water can weaken masonry and can erode surfaces. Whenever too much water gets trapped inside a structure, it causes something called the freeze cycle.
When the overall temperature cools down, the moisture expands within the surface and freezes. As soon as the temperature starts to heat up again, water tends to thaw and decrease in volume. As a result of this process happening repeatedly, it puts a lot of pressure on your masonry, which causes it to crack and spall.
Water can eventually lead to spalling in numerous ways. If rainwater consistently makes a direct hit with your chimney’s surface, it will eventually begin to degrade all your brickwork.
Similarly, if somehow water finds a way to enter the foundation of your home, it may end up damaging your chimney from the inside. Sometimes even moisture may enter your walls through something as harmless as water vapor, promoting your bricks’ spalling.
Using non-breathable sealants helps prevent any water from getting inside your structure, but that is not precisely the case. Chimneys made of bricks are very good at absorbing water and later releasing it through its natural pores.
But when a non-breathable sealant is applied over your chimney, it no longer allows it to breathe or release any water. This is why water trapped inside your structure or any water that finds a way inside your chimney remains trapped there indefinitely.
Improper construction or below the grade-built chimney.
If you notice that only the bricks located on your chimneys below grade level are spalling, it is likely that your chimney was not built properly.
Cleaning your chimney with high-pressure water or sand can cause a lot of damage to your bricks. Chimneys with a more rigid outer surface but a softer core will experience the most damage from this type of treatment.
The total damage that occurred to your bricks usually relates to the total number of freeze cycles that have taken place, the total amount of water, as well as the permeability and porosity of your bricks. Some bricks are denser throughout their core, while others are just tougher on the outside but softer towards the center.
Solution for spalled bricks
If you wish to identify your damage’s overall extent, you need to tap on your spalled chimney’s surface and then measure where your damage appears to seize.
If your crumbly surface extends anything more than 3/4 of an inch, it is more likely that the damage impacts your chimney’s overall stability. In which case, you need to take severe measures to repair and preserve your structure.
Even if your chimney damage does not appear to be serious, it will only get worse without getting it repaired. This is why you need to catch your problem during its early stages since it will be far less extensive for you to fix, and you will be greatly reducing the risk of any irreparable damage to your chimney.
As long as your problem is not past repair, an experienced professional from Elegant Fireside can help address the issue by clearing out all your damaged bricks from your chimney and replacing them with new bricks along with well-matched mortar.
We will also make sure that this process is conducted with excellent attention to detail and proper tools. Our chimney service experts will also make sure that your mortar and bricks match all your original materials. If not done correctly, you may end up paying for a repair, which causes even further damage to your structure.
If only the front end of your brick is damaged, it can be turned around and reused instead of replacing. Before any repair is done, a professional must identify and solve your problem’s root cause or else the issue will continue to persist even post repairs.
Brick spalling prevention
As soon as our professional identifies and solves your original cause of spalling bricks, you should be able to easily prevent the issue from occurring ever again on your chimney.
Preventing spalled bricks includes regular maintenance and upkeep of your chimney to ensure that water has not found its way inside your structure. Adding a breathable sealant to your chimney as opposed to a non-breathable sealant is also a crucial step.
Want to get your chimney inspected? Get in touch with Elegant Fireside and Patio today!
Our team is more than qualified to address your problems and help you fix them in no time. We have been serving the Metroplex area for more than 30 years. Give us a call at (972)-846-4878 or fill a simple online form, and we will take care of the rest.