What is spalling? It’s a term used to describe masonry deterioration in brick and/or stone products as a result of severe moisture absorption or penetration. During spalling, the brick surface flakes off, leaving the inner layers exposed to additional water intrusion.
Moisture is a BIG Problem
Chimneys that are exhibiting issues as a result of moisture problems are typically either missing the chimney cap, have a cracked crown or have flashing issues. The additional moisture that has penetrated the bricks wreaks even more havoc with the onset of freeze/thaw cycles.
If your chimney was constructed with a softer type of bricks (these are used by some builders as a way to cut costs while still maintaining the same general aesthetic), damage resulting from moisture intrusion is more likely to occur. If you find yourself being forced to rebuild your chimney because of irreparable damage, request that harder type bricks be used to make sure your new chimney lasts longer.
Examining the Damage
Locating and correcting the area via which the moisture is entering can be achieved by applying a waterproofing sealant to slow or stop further effects of spalling; however, the only way to properly repair spalling masonry is to replace it altogether. This may require removing individual bricks or an entire section.
It’s not uncommon for several courses of a chimney to need to be removed and rebuilt. Every situation is different, and as such, a trained professional should be consulted. The amount of damage is dependent on the amount of water, the brick’s absorption ability and the number of freeze/thaw cycles.
Water is your bricks’ worst enemy. An important part of maintaining your brickwork is to keep the mortar intact. Bricks with missing, loose or crumbling mortar are much more susceptible to moisture. Regular upkeep on your brickwork includes repointing the joints and reapplying new mortar on a regular basis.
Put a STOP to Additional Water Penetration
Homeowners need to be aware that their brickwork’s beauty needs to be protected by appropriate preventative maintenance. In an attempt to put a stop to further moisture penetration (and to protect repairs), many homeowners opt to have a masonry water repellent applied to their brickwork.
If these steps are taken, you’ll enjoy the beauty and elegance your brickwork provides for years to come, while at the same time avoiding costly repairs well into the future. If chimney spalling has become an issue for you, the time for repairs is upon us!
Coopertown is Shelby County’s oldest and largest chimney service company. All of our technicians are CSIA-certified and have years of industry experience. To schedule an appointment with a Coopertown professional, call us today! We look forward to working with you to maintain a safe and healthy home for years to come.