You decide to take a look around the exterior of your home, just to do a little check now that autumn has arrived. The cooler days remind you that winter is coming, and it’s a good idea to make sure that everything is safe and secure before it gets colder and the snow might even start to fall. You’ll want to make sure the caulk around your windows is a tight seal, clean all the leaves out of your gutters, and, if you own a fireplace, make sure that you have a good supply of firewood cut and stored close to the house, within easy reach on those cold winter evenings. As you make your inspection, you notice that there’s some little flakes and debris on the ground close to the chimney which, upon closer perusal, turn out to be chips and flakes of brick and mortar. This doesn’t appear to be normal, and you’re right – it isn’t. What you have going on here is spalling.
What is Spalling?
Spalling is simply the process of your bricks or mortar flaking, peeling, or crumbling away. There can be several causes for this, but most include water. When your bricks and mortar are exposed to driving rains, eventually that moisture will permeate the surface, which causes it to weaken. Another way that precipitation can cause spalling to occur is through the freeze/thaw cycle. When rain falls, it can get into the porous surface of the mortar or the bricks that make up your chimney. When the weather gets cold, that precipitation can freeze, which makes it expand, widening the pores. As this cycle continues, eventually you will notice that the mortar or even the bricks will become weaker, start to flake and peel…in other words, spalling will occur.
Why is This Serious?
When spalling occurs, the structure of your chimney is compromised. It can cause your chimney to shift and cracks to appear, but it can also get to the point of bricks becoming loose and falling from your chimney. When structural damage becomes too severe, you may be looking at more than just a little repair job; it may turn into a complete rebuild, which is going to be a big hit to your bank account.
What Can I Do?
If you notice spalling is occurring, the time to act is immediately. Call in an experienced chimney sweep from Chimney Sweep Plus before the problem gets out of hand. They will be able to recommend the fix that is needed and then complete the work so that your chimney is up and working before the snow starts to fall. If the problem is already too severe, you may be looking at a larger repair job. This is why it’s important to make the call today, while there’s still time for Chimney Sweep Plus to get in there and perform a major repair job. You can trust them to take the time and care needed to make sure everything is safe and sound in time for the cooler days of autumn and winter.