When properly constructed with adequate support, masonry chimneys can last for a lifetime. Unfortunately, not every masonry chimney is built correctly. If a chimney does not have sufficient footing, it can begin to lean away from the building to which it is attached. If you have noticed your chimney leaning, you may be in need of repairs for safety reasons. Inadequate footing, along with other causes for its leaning, can lead your chimney to eventually collapse if these issues are not corrected. Old Hat Chimney Service can inspect your chimney to determine why it is leaning. Once we know what is causing your chimney to lean, we can repair the problem to make your chimney stable and safe to use again.
Tell me more about chimney footing issues that can cause a masonry chimney to lean.
If a chimney has been added after the building was constructed, there is a possibility that the chimney footing was placed on soft backfill that later settled and became unstable. Bad soil can also lead to the instability of the footing. The chimney footing itself can be the cause of a leaning chimney. If the footing is undersized, the chimney will not be sufficiently supported and can start to lean. It is possible that the footing does not project enough past the chimney base to support its weight. The footing could have also been cast too thin, which can cause it to break apart.
What are some other causes of a leaning chimney?
Spalling damage from cold weather can cause a chimney to lean. When water leaks into bricks and mortar, the moisture trapped within the masonry materials freezes and expands. When the water thaws, the bricks and mortar break apart due to the expansion of the water trying to escape. Spalling also causes the mortar joints of your chimney to deteriorate, and the bricks become loose and can fall out. Other things that could cause a chimney to lean are missing or inadequate lateral support tying the chimney to the building and mechanical damage to the chimney from falling tree limbs.
How can a leaning chimney be repaired?
To determine exactly how to repair a leaning chimney, Old Hat Chimney Service will inspect the chimney to see what caused the leaning. If the leaning has been caused by inadequate footing, we can make the footing more stable by using slab-jacking or helical piers. We will then reline the flue and align, stabilize, and repair any cracks in the fireplace box and hearth. If spalling damage or fallen tree limbs have caused bricks to fall out which creates instability, the masons from Old Hat Chimney Service can repair the missing bricks with masonry techniques such as tuck pointing. Many times, a leaning chimney must be demolished to rebuild a new chimney because the movement of the chimney makes it a flue gas and fire hazard, especially if the chimney has moved significantly away from the building. Often, the leaning area will be confined to the part of the chimney from the roof surface to its top, and we can remove and rebuild the chimney in this location. No matter the cause or situation, you can trust Old Hat Chimney Service to solve the problem of a leaning chimney.
Is your chimney leaning? Contact Old Hat Chimney Service to schedule an inspection from one of our certified technicians.