You bought your home because of the charming red brick facade and picturesque brick chimney. But now, the face of some of those bricks have started to look worn away. It’s as if someone were chipping away at the bricks! This is a condition called spalling brick.
Rebuilding a brick chimney could cost tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re normally a Do-it-Yourself Enthusiast, but lack masonry experience, then you may want to reconsider the DIY mindset on a project of this magnitude. Rebuilding chimneys is a highly skilled profession.
Don’t worry, if you have the necessary skills then we’ve put together a quick-start guide to preventing brick damage and repairing spalling brick. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about turning crumbling brick back into the beautiful red masonry you fell in love with!
Why Do Bricks Spall?
Chimney brick spalling is when the bricks begin to flake and crumble. In advanced stages, you may notice some bricks come loose or go missing altogether! This can happen for several reasons, but the most common reason is the weather.
When moisture becomes trapped inside the bricks and then the temperature drops below freezing, the water in the bricks freezes. Since frozen water expands, when those bricks thaw, they become brittle and flake apart.
Homes with frequent freezes and fluctuating temperatures will see chimney spalling much faster than warmer, more stable climates. If you live in an area with harsh winters, keep an eye on the damage starting around crowns, brickwork, and flashing.
It’s possible to seal chimneys and protect your home from this type of water damage with moisture protection treatments. Which we discuss further in the How to Prevent Spalling section below.
How to Repair Spalling Brick Chimneys
As soon as you see signs of flaking or crumbling brick, you need to act fast! Repairing the damage will go easier (and cost much less) than if you let the problem get out of hand.
Find an experienced chimney repair company to inspect and diagnose a spalling chimney. If they find out that your bricks need minor repairs, you might get away with sealing the bricks. For damage that has gone on for too long, you might need to replace the affected bricks.
How to Prevent Future Spalling
There are a few things you can do to extend the life of your chimney and prevent chimney brick spalling. Here are some of the most important things to do for your chimney maintenance:
- Apply masonry sealant
- Install a quality chimney cap
- Watch for leaks near masonry
- Annual chimney inspections (and regular maintenance)
The best thing do in order to prevent your chimney from spalling damage in the future is to call a Certified Chimney Sweep and ask what types of water protection services they offer.
See details and infographics on how water causes chimney damage on our Waterproofing Service page.
Remember, it’s important to address any spalling as soon as you see the first signs of damage or the problem can get out of hand in a flash!
All-in-All It’s Just Another Brick in the Wall
While the relentless march of time takes its toll on the bricks in your chimney, these tips should help you fix the existing damage as well as help prevent any further damage. Every chimney needs maintenance from time to time to stay in tip-top shape.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you learned a few things about spalling brick and how to fix it. We would love to help you fix your flaking bricks. If you’re looking for quality Kansas City Brick Repair, contact us today!