Have you ever suddenly noticed that your chimney has slightly tilted? Or is leaning on one side? The lean may be negligible or even unnoticeable to the general public but it is very dangerous. This is an issue which you need to address right away by getting chimney repair services.
Chimneys generally last you a long time, for about 40 to 50 years and that is almost half a decade. So, when you get your chimney built, you tend to forget about it. But when you notice even the slightest of the lean you need to fix it as soon as possible as there are many dangers associated with it. The bricks and mortar may fall on the people and property and your own house, the bugs and moisture may enter through the opening and the cracks, the flue liner may also become cracked which may lead to deadly gases entering your homes and in the most severe cases, the chimney may fall off.
Is A Leaning Chimney Okay?
Some chimneys are designed to tilt a little and if you had it constructed then you would surely know this but most chimneys tend to tilt away from the sun gradually over the years. It starts very slightly and then you finally notice the leaning tower of chimney on your roof top. If the chimney is on the exterior of your house then you will notice a gap with the wall it has been attached to. Some people cover the gap up with cement, mortar and caulk but that is not a permanent solution, in fact just a way to mask the gap.
Why Does A Chimney Lean?
The weight of the chimney and its materials is a lot and thus a heavy footing is needed to stabilize the weight in a concentrated space.
Sometimes the footing is too small. The ideal footing should be at least 1 foot thick and should be at least 6 inches extended out on all sides of the chimney. Anything less than that will result in the lean and collapse.
In the winter season the ground area below the footing tends to freeze and then thaw and sometimes expands which again melts in the summers. This repeated cycle causes water infiltration and also weakens the footing and thus leads to gaps.
Many times, the soil quality is poor or soil is expandable which tends to contract and expand with changing conditions of the water and nutrients. This also makes the footing unstable and cannot hold the load of the chimney and footing.
Fixing A Leaning Chimney
The good news, however, is that a leaning chimney can be fixed.
You will need to call in the chimney experts for this job. The experts will fix the tilting chimney without dismantling the whole of the chimney. They will install braces with metal on the outer layer of the chimney walls which will be attached to the roof with adjustable rigging made of strings.
The interior will also be positioned with wooden braces to keep it intact and levelled. Pressure will be applied gradually which will cause the chimney to be fixed in place. Hydraulic jacks are also used to position the chimney in its place.
Once the chimney is straightened, braces will be installed on the inside. Planks and metal or wooden corners will be fixed inside the chimney to make the interior and exterior structure more stable and sturdy. Wooden planks and the iron corners will help to shift the weight of the chimney away from the roof. All the corners will be in safe distance from the pipes to avoid hazards and accidents.
Once the interior and exterior of the chimney is done the roof will also be taken care of. The chimney leaks and cracks will be fixed. Then the gaps or cracks in the chimney will be filled with mortar, cement and caulk.
The foundation of the chimney is essential to the proper working of the chimney. The tilt of the chimney is a problem which should be solved immediately. Moreover, you should look for chimney contractors Columbia MD with experience in the field so you don’t end up paying for sloppy work which would need another repair very soon.