Waking up to snow capped roofs on a chilly morning is a sure sign that winter has officially arrived. But with beauty can come danger or damage, especially when we are talking about the effects snow and cold weather can have on our chimney systems.
Have you ever heard of the freeze-thaw process? We experience it every winter. The good news is that you can trust Highpoint Chimney Services to come take a look at your chimney, then recommend services to help reduce the risk of water absorption. Remember – preventive maintenance is always a cheaper and easier route!
Call us at 908-864-4114 or reach out online now to get started.
The Freeze/Thaw Cycle: Explained
It snows, the afternoon sun melts away that soft, beautiful blanket of white, then the porous brick of your masonry chimney absorbs the moisture like a sponge. Overnight, when the temperatures dip below freezing, that moisture turns to ice, which leads to freezing and expansion.
This repetitive cycle that occurs all season long is what we refer to as the freeze/thaw process – and unfortunately, the constant repetition of freezing and thawing in your brick causes it to crack. As time goes on – and the longer you neglect regular maintenance – the cracks in the masonry get bigger.
Eventually, this leads to spalling masonry, which is just a fancy term for the face of the brick chipping or crumbling away from the body of the brick. And when the softer portions of the brick are exposed to the elements, it allows moisture to enter the chimney flue, fireplace, and other parts of your home. This kind of damage not only compromises the structural integrity of your chimney, it can be extremely expensive to repair.
What Damage Can the Freeze-Thaw Process Cause?
Aside from spalling brick, there are a few other things to look out for when you are concerned your chimney has suffered the consequences of the freeze-thaw process. What out for:
- Cracked or crumbling mortar joints
- Efflorescence (white chalky residue)
- Leaks or water stains
- Loose or dislodged bricks
- Sagging or tilting chimney
- Damaged chimney cap
- Cracks in the chimney crown
- Damaged flashing
- Rusted damper and other metal components
If you notice issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to our crew. All that said, because it is hard to see most components of your chimney and fireplace, it is recommended you have a certified chimney technician come and perform a thorough inspection.
Can Damage From Freeze-Thaw Process Be Repaired?
Damage of any kind is always a cause for concern. But don’t fret, there are a wide variety of chimney repair services we provide in order to help get your chimney back to looking as good as new.
- Patching & Repointing: Also known as tuckpointing, this technique is often used when there are minor cracks or localized damage in the brick or mortar joints. The process of repointing involves carefully removing the damaged sections of mortar or brick and replacing it with fresh mortar and/or new brick. We always take extra care in making sure we are precise in matching the size and appearance of the existing mortar and brick.
- Brick Replacement: In cases where individual bricks have been severely damaged, or even missing, a chimney technician will install new brick and mortar, while ensuring proper alignment and compatibility with the existing brickwork of your chimney.
- Spalling Repair: To repair spalled bricks, we chisel away any of the damaged brick, fill the hole with mortar, and carefully place new brick – again, making sure to line it up with the existing brick.
- Crown Repair: The chimney crown serves an important role in protecting the top of your chimney from harsh weather. Similar to how freezing and thawing causes brick spalling, it can also cause your chimney crown to crack and deteriorate over time. Depending on the severity of the damage, we may be able to make minor repairs, but in some instances, we will have to completely replace it.
- Waterproofing: Did you know you could apply a waterproof sealant to the exterior of your chimney as a first line of defense to help protect the bricks and mortar from moisture and prevent future damage? This can only be done after necessary repairs have been made. But it is highly recommended in areas that experience heavy rainfall or harsh weather conditions.
We Are Dedicated to Helping You
Highpoint Chimney Services is equipped and trained to handle all of your furnace, wood stove, and fireplace chimney needs. We take great pride in providing affordable solutions to your problems. If you’re experiencing chimney-related issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Give us a call at 908-864-4114 or schedule an appointment online.