Chimney Rebuilding and fireplace restoration and repair is an occasional but necessary part of your home’s maintenance program.
When rebuilding your chimney becomes a necessity for safety (or other concerns), it can sound like an overwhelming project, to say the least. However, when you know the steps involved in this type of masonry construction project, you’ll find that chimney restoration is a satisfying and worthwhile home maintenance project.
Consider the rewarding benefits of a restored fireplace and chimney:
- Improved fireplace performance and safety.
- Stopping water leaks around the chimney.
- Less patching and spot repairs of a system
increases home value.
- Enjoy the lower maintenance requirements of a functional fireplace and chimney system.
What is chimney rebuilding, and why would you need it? We cover everything you need to know about chimney restoration and rebuilding, and more.
What Causes Chimney Damage?
Your chimney is exposed to various weather elements all year-round. Damage from water is a primary concern. Whether it’s rainwater or melting ice and snow, liquids seep in between the bricks. During that freeze and thaw cycle (when that water freezes and thaws again), it causes something known as spalling.
Spalling damages the surface of brick or stone, causing it to pop, peel, or flake. Over time, this can cause the brick to fall apart. Cracked masonry work can lead to leaks and water damage inside the home as well. Usually, damaged brickwork needs a complete rebuild. Moisture affects the outside of your chimney and the inner parts as well. Water can even cause the interior metal parts to rust.
The weather that comes with changing seasons can negatively impact your mortar joints, causing them to crack or fall apart. A common sign of this is space showing between bricks. You may also notice some cracking. When your mortar joints become damaged, it allows moisture into your chimney leading to the problems mentioned above.
Learn more about mortar joint repairs in our post on Tuck-pointing vs Re-pointing.
What You Don’t See
While some chimney damages are blatantly obvious, you may need a chimney inspection to examine the hidden areas you cannot see with your eyes. Our inspectors use special video equipment that can detect any significant issues inside your flues. Brothers and Sisters, do not fret, we have you covered.
Full Service Chimney will find the existing problems and provide you with solutions.
The LEFT SIDE image shows an exterior crack in the brick stack likely caused by a lightning strike. We can all agree it’s easily noticed by anyone looking, even from a distance!
The RIGHT SIDE image shows damage that is most often unseen, but potentially deadly. Our inspector discovered the damage hidden in the attic. Cracks in masonry work such as this could allow dangerous exhaust to reach combustibles and your home.
The Importance of Inspection and Repairs
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly recommend having a chimney inspection conducted by a chimney service once a year.
Not only does this help prevent fires, but it’s also a good idea to check for damage and signs of animals. A regular inspection can help check for the following:
- Creosote buildup
- Water damage
- Spalling Issues
- Damaged crown
- Cracked or damaged flue tiles or liners
- Deteriorated flashing
- Unwanted pests in the chimney
- Obstructions or blockages
Even if you don’t often use your fireplace, regular chimney inspections and repairs can help you spot a problem early and avoid future issues.
The Benefits of Rebuilding Chimneys
Before we dive into the benefits, let’s talk about what it means to have a chimney rebuilt. There are different options. What you need will depend on the severity of the damage.
The two types of services include partial and complete rebuilds.
A partial rebuild works best for small chimneys where scaffolding isn’t required. A partial rebuilding means you only need one part of your chimney replaced, such as the crown. This type of rebuild is for chimney’s that only have damage at the top.
A total or complete chimney rebuild includes replacing the outside brick as well as the crown. Total rebuilding is often recommended when you’re dealing with extensive damage.
Structural flaws, such as when a chimney is leaning or falling apart, usually require total rebuilds.
As we mentioned earlier, a damaged chimney can result in leaks. Not only does this affect your chimney, but you can also get leaks in your home. You can avoid costly repairs by getting your chimney checked annually.
Caps keep water, debris, and animals from entering your chimney. Flashing prevents water from seeping inside your chimney, thereby causing leaks along the roof. Damage to either of these two components can lead to significant chimney leak problems. Having your chimney rebuilt means you won’t have to worry as much about these issues.
New Caps, Flashing, and Cricket Systems are often installed during the rebuilding process to prevent pest entry and leaks.
Your Chimney’s Masonry Work May Have Structural Issues That Need Fixed
If your chimney isn’t tall enough to create enough draft, then you may need to have a taller chimney built. Another common issue that may result in the need for restorations is when the flue is too small compared to the opening of your fireplace.
When your chimney is not up to code, or if it’s tilting, leaning, cracking, spalling, or completely falling apart, then a rebuild is in your best interest. It may also boost the value of your home and improve resale value.
Reduce Risk of House Fires
The buildup of creosote is the main reason so many chimney fires start. Enlisting the help of a chimney sweep can help reduce this risk, but it’s not always enough.
A chimney flue liner also helps reduce the risk of an uncontrolled fire. It works by protecting your house from flames, sparks, and carbon monoxide. Using one also protects the brickwork around the chimney.
It’s Best to Install Liners at the Same Time
When you hire a chimney contractor to perform your rebuild, then it’s a prime time to get flue liner repair or replacement. It can even save you money in the long run, to have it all refinished at once.
How Much Does It Cost to Rebuild a Chimney?
It could range between $1,000-$30,000. Again, the price depends on how much work you need, the size of your chimney, the number of fireplaces or utility flues to be restored… and dozens of other factors.
If you’re considering the reconstruction of one or more chimneys on your property, then you might wonder how much it costs. The short answer is that the cost of chimney rebuilding varies depending on the amount of work and supplies it will take to finish a project and the circumstances are unique to every home and situation.
Other Factors that Affect Price
There are different types of chimneys. Some for fireplaces and others for utility appliances. You’ll see price fluctuations depending on your home’s needs. The total cost of restorations may vary if you have masonry chimneys as opposed to factory-built chimney (aka “prefab”).
The cost of rebuilding depends on the type of chimney you need to rebuild. For instance, prefabricated systems or brick and mortar masonry rebuilds may vary in price because it’s an entirely different process and materials. That’s not to mention the tools or unique skills required for both.
When you’re calling around for quotes on repairs, if a contractor gives you a price without doing a documented evaluation (and showing you what they found), then keep looking.
A Certified Technician from Full Service Chimney will always review every element of the inspection with you, which ensures you understand and can make the decision that’s right for you, the homeowner.
Finding the Right Restoration Service
Having yearly inspections performed can help spot potentially dangerous issues early on so you can protect your house and your family. If your inspection uncovers major problems, then you’ll need to call a chimney rebuilding service to take care of the issue.
Having a chimney rebuilt means everything will be up to code and helping you prevent fires, leaks, or unwanted pests. Make sure you call the right chimney repair service company.
Many inspectors can help you find problems, but not every company is qualified or prepared to offer you complete solutions. Full Service Chimney is ready for the challenge and provides top tier services to over 38 cities in our local area.
If you’re experiencing problems with your chimney and you’re in the Kansas City area, then give us a call at 913-642-6171. Our certified inspectors will have your chimney working again in no time.