When not maintained properly, chimneys can become a fire hazard. That’s why roofing contractors recommend scheduling routine chimney maintenance and inspections. Still, it’d be a good idea to know the warning signs of chimney damage.
Signs of Weakened Mortar Joints In particular, you need to pay attention to your chimney’s mortar joints. Mortar, a paste made from cement and sand, is used to fill in the gaps between bricks. Prolonged exposure to the elements can weaken mortar joints and cause:
Cracks – Due to natural wear and tear, cracks might start forming in the chimney mortar. The winter freeze-thaw cycle, in particular, is a common cause of cracks in your exterior. That’s why contractors would usually recommend homeowners schedule a home inspection after this season. That way, they can repair damaged chimney mortar or get a window replacement before moisture can infiltrate the interior.
Flakes – If enough water manages to infiltrate your chimney, your chimney mortar might start crumbling.
Discoloration – The color of mortar depends on its composition. Gray is the most common color, but the hue can change depending on its composition. Discoloration is usually a sign of weathering or improper application.
What to Do When There Are Cracks in Your Chimney MortarDamaged mortar joints can compromise the structural integrity of the chimney, which is why if you see any of the aforementioned signs, you should have a roofing contractor replace damaged mortar as soon as possible. Contractors call the process of filling joints with new mortar chimney repointing. Chimney mortar can last up to 25 years, but contractors recommend replacing it as soon as warning signs emerge.
There are also several ways to extend the lifespan of your chimney. You can consult an experienced contractor to learn more about them.
Roof Masters, a locally owned company with over 20 years’ worth of experience, offers a wide range of professional roofing services as well as premium windows and doors. To request an estimate, you can call us at (301) 230-7663 or fill out our form here. We serve homeowners in Beltsville, MD, as well as the surrounding communities.