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Magic Sweep Blog

Complete Your Masonry Work Before Winter Weather Hits

If your chimney has been inspected this summer and you need work done, you should not wait. Winter is coming, and with it will come the busy season, and cold weather!

Beat the Fall Rush

The time between October and January is considered the fall rush because chimney sweep companies are busy during this time. It can be difficult to get an appointment during the fall rush because many chimney sweeps are busy with emergency calls at this time. If you wait until the fall rush to schedule your masonry work, your job might take much longer than it should, simply because the appointment time is just not available. Schedule early and avoid any delays.

Beat the Winter Weather

When the weather begins to cool, homeowners want to light those fires, whether for aesthetics or for warmth. Lighting a fire in a damaged chimney is a recipe for disaster, though, and can lead to a house fire as well as carbon monoxide poisoning and more. Get your masonry repairs completed before cold weather hits, and avoid even the temptation of lighting an unsafe fire. Just don’t do it. Do not put your family or property at risk. It is always best to get chimney damage repaired as soon as possible, no matter what season it is. Damaged masonry can lead to big problems year-round.

Water Damage and Winter Damage

Water damage is one thing, but when you allow your damaged chimney to take on water during cold weather, your problems will multiply. Water will work its way into your damaged masonry, then freeze and expand, causing more damage before it melts, and repeats the process over again. This freeze/thaw effect is the #1 cause of winter damage. Get the masonry work done now and avoid the damaging effect of water on your masonry this winter.

Don’t Be Left in the Cold

When you hire a certified chimney sweep to complete chimney work, they will require you to discontinue chimney use before the appointment. For instance, Magic Sweep requires that a fireplace and chimney be cold when our technician comes for a scheduled service–preferably no fire for 24 hours prior. Depending on how much work you need to be done, and how much you depend on your fireplace for heat, you may be in for a couple of cold nights or tempted to use a fireplace that is dangerous. This is dangerous and not recommended.

Magic Sweep knows the importance of chimney safety, and puts customer safety and comfort above all else. That is why we offer comprehensive chimney services year-round. Let us repair your masonry before winter, and we can help you prevent winter damage too. Call 757-523-2400 or come by!

Masonry Restoration

Your masonry chimney was built with strong and durable materials — brick or stone and mortar — so that it would be armed to provide you with decade after decade of use and enjoyment. Unfortunately, it has a few things working against it, like the constant onslaught of moisture from rain, sleet and snow. Over years of exposure and wear, water can turn a once-strong and proud chimney into a shell of its former self. That’s why regular chimney maintenance is so important.

Masonry Restoration - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

At Magic Sweep, we stress the value of annual chimney inspection and chimney sweeping appointments not just because they help ensure the safety and performance of your system in the short-term, but because they help contribute to the longevity of your masonry chimney in the long term, too. If small problems develop, we’ll be able to find and repair them during your annual inspection so that your chimney is strong and protected again. With regular sweeping appointments, we’re keeping the levels of combustible, potentially damaging creosote deposits under control.

When larger issues do come up, though, Magic Sweep is always ready to help. Our team can handle bringing even the most troubled chimney back to its former beauty and strength. Some of the restoration work we routinely do:

Restoring Cracked, Receded Or Otherwise Damaged Mortar Joints

Very frequently, we see the initial signs of masonry damage in your mortar joints, since mortar isn’t quite as strong as brick or stone. That can range from cracking joints to ones that have receded and crumbled, allowing moisture easy access to the interior of your chimney (to cause even more damage). To repair failing mortar joints, Magic Sweep technicians will carefully clean up and remove the old joints and replace them with new, properly shaped and water-tight mortar joints, through a process called tuck pointing. Our experience and training (as CSIA-certified technicians) is key here — improperly formed joints or joints made using the wrong material can cause even more damage, since brick and mortar used in chimneys through the years has changed considerably in compressive strength and moisture absorption. From historic chimneys to newer ones, our technicians have the skills to do the job right.

Restoring Spalling Masonry

Spalling is a particularly troubling kind of masonry damage that ranges from chipping and flaking to all-out crumbling. It usually happens as a result of the freeze-thaw cycle: essentially, water making its way inside your masonry, freezing and expanding with dropping temperatures and creating intense pressure that leads to widening cracks, splitting bricks or masonry that more or less bursts open. Spalling can occur in your chimney stack, on your chimney crown or elsewhere — water just needs a small imperfection to exploit. On a minimally damaged chimney crown, we may repair the damage with a waterproof Crown Coat sealant. With a severely damaged crown, we may need to rebuild it altogether. If you notice spalling masonry, call Magic Sweep — we can assess the damage, and make the repairs that’ll strengthen your chimney again.

Restoring A Damaged Chimney Flue Liner

Your chimney’s flue liner is doing a lot of important work, from helping to encourage proper draft to protecting the interior masonry from heat and moisture. Clay tile liners are common in masonry chimneys, and — particularly after years of use — they’re also prone to damage, like receded joints and cracked tiles. A damaged flue liner can lead to a diminished draft, potential (and potentially deadly) carbon monoxide leak and other issues. We can repair some damaged clay tile liners using HeatShield, a system that shores up cracks and gaps and restores the integrity of the liner. In some more serious cases, we may need to reline your flue. Whatever’s needed to bring your liner back to proper shape, you can count on Magic Sweep.

Those are just a few examples of the chimney restoration and chimney repair work we routinely do at Magic Sweep. If you have any questions or concerns about your chimney system — or want to schedule an appointment with our CSIA-certified technicians — give us a call!