Why Is the Base of the Chimney Crumbling?
Crumbling chimney masonry is a common problem, and repairs are urgently needed. Anyone who needs to ask why is the base of the chimney crumbling, however, may be particularly alarmed. When the chimney base is crumbling, it is often evidence of foundation problems. Read on to learn more details on this and other chimney masonry problems.
Weak Chimney Footing
When a masonry chimney is built, special footing for the structure is needed. The weight of a chimney needs additional support. If the chimney base isn’t built properly, it will crumble and crack beneath the substantial weight of the bricks and mortar. A leaning chimney is often the result of weak chimney footing. In general, the chimney footing should be one foot thick, at least, and it should extend six inches beyond the chimney structure on all sides.
A sinking foundation that occurs when the ground around and/or underneath a home shifts or alters can be the reason the base of a chimney is crumbling. If the soil becomes oversaturated with water, it can shift and put a home’s foundation at risk. As the foundation shifts, the chimney footing or the chimney alone could tilt inward or outward. Cracks and gaps form, allowing moisture and insects into the openings, worsening the problem.
Signs of a Chimney Crumbling
The entire chimney structure is subject to damage caused by moisture, which leads to chimney crumbling issues that need to be addressed. A leaky chimney is a common result of chimney neglect. The design of a properly built chimney puts its various components to work, keeping moisture out. This includes the chimney crown, chimney flashing, and chimney cap. Routine chimney masonry repair is a necessity. Keeping moisture out of the masonry system is crucial to prevent chimney crumbling issues.
Water stains on the walls and ceiling near the chimney are evidence of a chimney leak that can lead to a crumbling chimney. The following are more signs of deteriorating masonry:
- Bricks are cracked
- Discoloration is on the exterior masonry
- Internal chimney masonry is damaged
- The fireplace emits foul odors
- The chimney is leaning
The Problem with Water Infiltration
The number one cause of the deterioration and crumbling of chimney masonry is water infiltration. When water gets into masonry, the moisture inside the bricks expands and contracts during freezes and thaws in winter. This movement causes the complete destruction of the bricks. Spalling is a result of this process occurring. The brick face begins to crack and pop off. Crumbling, spalling chimney masonry is always a sign that chimney masonry repair is needed.
Dubuque Fireplace & Patio Can Help with Your Crumbling Chimney
The chimney technicians at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio have the expertise to provide reliable chimney masonry repairs and chimney rebuild services. Our experienced professionals are the ones to call if you are asking, why is the base of the chimney crumbling? It is always an urgent situation when you see evidence of crumbling chimney masonry. With services from our chimney sweeps at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio, your chimney structure is in good hands.
Call us at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio today at 563-582-5156 or schedule an appointment using our convenient online form.