Fireplace Structural Repairs
The Heat Generated By a Fireplace Over Many Years Can Cause Structural Damage
Does your fireplace need structural repairs? Do you have cracks in your mortar? Loose bricks or blocks? Over time and many heat cycles the masonry holding your fireplace together can become cracked and you’ll start to notice loose brick or stone. There are other indicators as well such as the fireplace leaning to one side, or starting to actually collapse in some circumstances. If your fireplace and chimney has cracks in the mortar then you’re going to need structural repairs.
What Causes Fireplace and Chimney Cracks?
If your home is rather old it is possible the fireplace was built with a lime mortar, instead of today's Portland based mortars. The acid in the creosote , the heat from the fire eventually breaks down this mortar and turns it to a dusty, sandy material.
If your home was built after 1940 or 1950 chances are the fireplace is built with a Portland based mortar. These mortars are great, but they have their limitations. One of their limitations is that Portland starts to break down after reaching a certain temperature, somewhere around 800 degrees.
The other characteristic of a Portland based mortar is that is has trouble rapidly expanding and will cause cracking or spalling of the material it is used to construct.
Often water intrusion and really cold weather (freezing weather) is the cause for a great deal of chimney cracks and structural issues but it’s not usually the culprit behind a failing fireplace.
Last but not least is the possibility that the chimney and fireplace were just poorly put together. We run into this often and it’s often no fault of the homeowner as they may not have been the original owner, or the person who installed the chimney.
What Can Go Wrong With a Cracked Fireplace or Chimney?
Obviously the mortar that holds your fireplace isn’t supposed to have cracks. This can pose several dangers to your home. A cracked chimney flue for example could mean that your chimney might not be venting outside correctly, instead venting soot and dangerous gases into your home. Cracks in the fireplace or chimney could also pose a risk of fire or at worst case scenario a total structural failure of their the fireplace or chimney or both, (leaning or pulling away from the house). We’ve had to fix this before fairly often.
What Do You Do About Your Damaged Chimney or Fireplace?
If you are actively using the fireplace then both the fireplace and chimney must be in good working condition. Consulting with a fireplace and chimney specialist would be a wise idea if you feel there might be something wrong with your fireplace. With a very thorough inspection a fireplace specialist can determine what (if any) repairs need to be made.
Who Provides Fireplace Structural Repairs in Massachusetts?
JB Mohler Masonry is a fireplace and chimney specialist based out of Lancaster, MA. We specialize in structural repairs for both your fireplace and your chimney. If repairing your chimney is beyond replacing a few bricks and you need the help of a professional than give JB Mohler Masonry a call or fill out one of our online forms today.
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Give us a call or click here to schedule an estimate with one of our Masonry professionals.