One of the major signs of chimney damage is leakage or watermarks on your walls. Chimneys leak for a number of reasons, and it might be as simple as placing a cover over your chimney to keep snow and rain out of your home. In some cases, however, leaks can be caused by large cracks or damages to the break or seals between your chimney and the roof. If you notice moisture near or around your chimney, it is most likely coming from some kind of issue within the chimney. Stains on the wall might not seem associated with your chimney, but they often are. It is always best to have a chimney professional take a look at your chimney to assess the damage and arrange for the proper repair.
Do you ever go into your backyard and find a random brick or two that weren’t there yesterday? Try looking up. Spalling bricks are damaged bricks from the chimney’s exterior. Often, these bricks are cracked or fall off of the chimney, so you’ll find them around your roof or house. Spalling occurs when the chimney is exposed to moisture and freezing temperatures. Water enters pores and cracks in the bricks and expands when frozen. This widens cracks and leads to further damages. You want a professional to replace spalling bricks and waterproof your chimney.
If you notice a black, tar-like material, creosote, appearing outside of your fireplace, you might want to bring in a professional. Creosote happens naturally when you run your fireplace enough, but too much of it might mean that something is wrong with your flue or lining.
We all know rust is a bad sign, and your chimney is no exception. If any of the metal elements of your chimney are showing rust, it’s probably time to get them replaced for new ones. Rust might be a simple sign of weathering and moisture in the air, but they could also mean that there is moisture being exposed to your chimney via leaks. Rust also means that your elements are weaker than they should be. Rusted metal can crack and flake, so it’s always better to get these parts replaced.
It might sound fairly obvious, but you should always be on the lookout for new cracks and holes in your chimney. Cracks are not as easy to spot, and they may not seem like a big deal, but you definitely want to address them as soon as possible. Cracks let in moisture, so you might have both a leakage and freezing problem on your hands if you don’t get them repaired!