We’ve Got Your Chimney & Fireplace Masonry Repairs Covered – Book With Us Today
Do you own a home or business in the Northern Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC area that has an existing chimney or fireplace? If so, it’s important to know about any critical masonry repairs that may be needed – and know who you can trust to do the work.
Over time, masonry damage due to temperature extremes and environmental conditions can occur for any structure prone to seasonal changes. Without proper care, these issues will only worsen with time, leading to increased safety risks and costly repair bills.
The sooner you address these issues, the better. Call Winston’s Chimney Service so we can send out a highly trained and certified technician to get the job done right. We have been repairing chimneys in the area since 1978, and our skilled masons can determine the best course of action to repair your chimney quickly.
Call today, so you can get back to enjoying your fireplace with those you love as soon as possible.
What Masonry Repair Services Does Winston’s Offer?
A damaged chimney is never fun to deal with. Fortunately, there are steps you can take as a responsible homeowner or business owner to identify problems early on before they become major threats – like getting repairs booked swiftly and investing in preventive maintenance after they’re completed.
You can rely on us for the following to get your masonry back in tip-top shape.
Chimney Rebuilds & Restorations
If your chimney needs work in more areas than one, a full rebuild or restoration job may be the best course of action. We’re here to help, keeping your vision, budget, and unique needs in mind every step of the way.
Partial Chimney Rebuilding
Sometimes a full rebuild isn’t needed. In these cases, we’ll work on the areas that need it, while keeping the other parts of your system looking great and functioning well throughout it all.
Grinding Out & Tuckpointing Mortar Joints
If your mortar joints are falling out, flaking, or missing altogether, some tuckpointing services will be in order. Not only does this boost the look of your system, but it restores the structural soundness as well.
Punching Out & Replacing Spalling Bricks
Are your bricks in rough shape? We can replace them, as needed, with new bricks that look and function similarly, leaving your system looking better and standing stronger at the end of it all.
Waterproofing With Chimney Saver
Waterproofing plays a vital role in keeping your repaired and restored masonry in good shape for the long haul. That said, it must be done correctly and with the most well-suited products for the job. Trust us for services that truly stand the test of time.
When you hire us, trust that the crew here at Winston’s Chimney Service wants you to be completely satisfied with your experience. Long story short – we want to wow you. Take a look online to see our long list of positive and five-star reviews, then give us a call to get your next appointment booked. We guarantee your satisfaction.
Why Are Swift Chimney Masonry Repairs Necessary?
The Mid-Atlantic region is home to many brick and stone chimneys, which are known for their beauty and durability. Unfortunately, with time and exposure to the elements comes the wear and tear that can damage a chimney and leave it functioning less than optimally. In order to prevent future safety hazards and inefficiency, regular masonry repairs for these chimneys is essential.
Masonry repair can involve repointing/tuckpointing work, replacing crowns, waterproofing, or replacing existing chimney components with new materials like brick and mortar. Plus, with the results of a professional masonry repair job, your chimney will look more beautiful than ever. We believe you deserve the best – count on our crew to get you there.
Ready to schedule services? Book your appointment with us today.
How Does Chimney Masonry Break Down?
There are lots of ways masonry can break down, whether it’s due to neglect, bad weather, animal tampering, or something else. But the most common way for this to happen is because of moisture. Water and your masonry aren’t friends – in fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has deemed them enemies – and it can cause deterioration and decay to occur, which weakens your structure significantly over time.
Then, with winter, comes the freeze/thaw dilemma. The region surrounding the Washington DC area, including Northern VA and parts of Maryland, experiences more of the freeze/thaw effects than many other states to the north or south. This is very problematic to the masonry on our homes – and on our chimneys, in particular.
What is the freeze/thaw dilemma?
As with most potential issues, it starts small. Erosion from wind and rain causes minor cracks in the masonry to form on the crown and in between the bricks or stone of the chimney. Then, over time, rain water and moisture from melting ice and snow seep into these cracks, as well as into the pores of your brickwork.
When winter and freezing weather arrive, the water freezes – and then expands just like it does in the ice trays in your freezer. And as it does, the cracks and gaps widen. Then, the cycle continues as the water thaws on warmer days, allowing more water to get in for next time temps drop below freezing again.
And once the gaps and cracks get to the point where the masonry is no longer bonded to itself, the bricks can become loose or the mortar crown can lift from the top course of masonry.
All of these issues mean your chimney system is being damaged more and more with time, inclement weather, and ever-changing temperatures. And you’re always going to be better off putting a stop to it sooner rather than later.
How can the freeze/thaw cycle be stopped?
The best way to ensure the freeze/thaw cycle can’t continue is by blocking water from entering with professional waterproofing services. Working with an expert ensures long-lasting, vapor-permeable products are used, so that your system can stand strong for years to come.
Ask us about getting the job done right for you soon!
How Do I Know When My Chimney Needs To Be Repaired?
If you own a home with a chimney, it’s important to have the structure regularly maintained and inspected by a professional sweep – and knowing when to call in can help save you lots of time and money in the long run.
The best way to know if and when repairs are needed is by getting an inspection booked well before the start of your fall burning season – preferably in the spring or summer months when our schedule books are less full. Not only will this give you a head start when cooler weather comes, but it also gives us ample time to get any damages addressed during a time where weather conditions are the most optimal for curing new mortar.
What are some signs that my fireplace or chimney need repairs?
When deciding if repair work is needed, look out for:
- soot buildup, which will appear as a black coating along the interior walls of your chimney
- smoke backing up into the house
- blockages, like a bird’s nest or excess creosote
- crumbling or loose bricks
- any signs of a chimney fire
- white staining, called efflorescence
- discoloration of bricks or mortar
- any indication of water damage
- large cracks in the chimney or fireplace structure
- unevenness in the way your chimney stands
- a leaning or tilted structure
- strange odors coming from your chimney or fireplace
If you notice any of these things, don’t delay. Set up an appointment with Winston’s Chimney Service ASAP and have an experienced certified chimney technician assess whether or not some repair work might be in order.
What Are Some of the More Common Chimney Repairs?
You’ve probably heard this term being thrown out now and then, but what is tuckpointing exactly?
Tuckpointing is a masonry restoration process used to repair or fill structural cracks and joints in brick or stonework. In essence, tuckpointing creates the visual effect of a perfectly finished and designed building constructed out of bricks, by grouting the joints in between bricks.
We’ll remove the old and damaged mortar, clean out the area, then insert new mortar that matches the old in color and composition. This provides seamless results that keep your system looking great and standing strong for years to come.
The cost of tuckpointing work can vary widely depending on factors such as the size and complexity of your particular building and the region you live in.
Ultimately, tuckpointing both improves the integrity of a structure by reinforcing its structural integrity, as well as greatly improves the style and overall aesthetic look. If you are unsure as to whether your home or building needs to be tuckpointed, an assessment will be in order. Contact a chimney mason professional – like one of our techs – for further assistance.
Chimney Crown Repairs
Chimneys are exposed to harsh weather conditions all the time, and the chimney crown is an essential piece in protecting them from these elements. Acting as a barrier between the masonry chimney and its environment, the crown covers the entire top of the structure, preventing water easy access to the masonry walls.
But when the crown starts to crack or crumble away, this protective layer no longer works properly, and it’ll be necessary to conduct some repair services. This may involve rebuilding the crown with cement, as well as adding waterproofing sealants to protect it against leaks and cracks that can arise in the future.
Generally, one should expect the cost of such repairs to be relatively high, but this will depend on the size of your chimney and its corresponding complexity. Our certified chimney technicians can access the crown on your chimney system and show you the damage via photos or video. After that, we’d be happy to move forward with appropriate repairs, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Chimney Flue Repairs
Maintaining a clean and functioning chimney flue is a necessary task for every fireplace owner. A chimney flue is a terra cotta or metal duct whose purpose is to expel smoke, gas, and other unwanted fumes from the inside of your home. It also helps to protect your surrounding walls and brickwork from potential damage.
Over time, though, your flue can deteriorate, requiring repair or replacement services. Signs such as leaking water in your firebox or smoke entering the room when fires are lit are sometimes indicators that your chimney flue needs some attention.
In most cases, an experienced certified chimney technician can repair any damages by applying tile sections to the interior of the flue itself. That said, the cost for these repairs depends on the state of the damage – there are several options and price points to consider. Be sure to rely on us to guide you through the process and get you where you need to be based on your needs and budget.
A fireplace’s firebox is an integral part of a traditional wood-burning system, as it makes up the interior flooring and walls that hold the fire in place. It is important to keep this type of firebox structurally sound and in good condition, as it safeguards your home from potential overheating or dwelling fires.
Being able to recognize when your firebox needs repairs and maintenance can help you prevent major damage down the road – as well as the costly repair bills that usually accompany these issues.
There are many signs to look for such as cracked brick, discoloring materials, ashes on exterior masonry, and poor draft or airflow. Once the issues have been identified, necessary repairs can be done, such as replacing cracked refractory panels, restoring bricks, making mortar touch-ups, and replacing joints.
As with most repair services, the cost will depend on the severity of the current problem. However, seeking professional help early on can prevent further damage and more expensive services in the long run.
Can Cracks in My Chimney Be Repaired?
Yes – cracks in your chimney can be repaired. So, if you’ve been noticing unsightly damage, and fear you’re stuck with it, put your worries aside and give us a call.
What can you expect after contacting us? Well, in order to resolve this problem, it’s important for us to determine the type of crack and what has caused it. Common types of cracks include surface cracks, vertical cracks or stair stepping, and horizontal brick separation.
After our assessment, we’ll be able to confirm a diagnosis and provide you with effective solutions. Our professionals will also offer advice on how to prevent further damage from occurring in the future.
Also, note that even small cracking and gaps should be addressed promptly. Although they may seem small and insignificant, even minor flaws can lead to serious issues (read up on the freeze/thaw process above) if left unchecked.
When Should I Consider a Chimney Liner Replacement or Repair?
Every chimney is equipped with a liner, which is essential to the safety and functionality of your heating system. Liners not only effectively direct smoke and fumes up and out of your home, but they keep your chimney and adjacent woodwork guarded from heat, flames, and acidic gases too.
Needless to say, it is important that any damage or wear to your chimney liner is identified early to avoid further problems, like home damage and potential health hazards. The signs that indicate your chimney liner may need repair or replacement services include:
- crumbling or cracks on the inside of the flue
- drafting of smoke into the living areas of your home
- an excessive amount of creosote buildup inside the smoke chamber or flue
If any of these signs are present, get in touch with an experienced chimney professional as soon as possible.
Can I DIY chimney relining?
We’ll always say no. In order to get optimal results from a chimney liner repair/replacement, it’s important for technicians to take certain measures, such as assessing moisture levels and damage in flue tiles, checking for holes in masonry joints, evaluating the existing separations, and more.
By performing the appropriate measures and providing skilled installation services, professionals can ensure that your chimney remains operational to use for years to come.
But if the appropriate steps are ignored or even a minor mistake is made, your chimney and home could be left very vulnerable to things like gas leaks and fire hazards. Don’t take any chances – trust our techs from the very start.
Schedule Masonry Repair Services Today
Why Would I Need a Masonry Fireplace or Chimney Rebuild?
Masonry fireplaces and chimneys are among the most popular features of a home, but it’s important to remember that these structures require regular maintenance in order to continue providing pleasure and safety. And when damages require more than a few basic repairs, the process of masonry rebuilding can ensure that structures will look great and perform optimally for many years to come.
Identifying when a rebuild is necessary can be tricky though. Keep an eye out for changes in performance, such as excessive heat or smoke, which are often indicators that the structure needs attention. Water intrusion is another huge reason some systems fail and need rebuilding, so taking appropriate measures to prevent it is a must.
What can I expect during my rebuild?
A masonry rebuild typically involves taking apart and reconstructing portions of the structure, while also restoring the aesthetic details with tuckpointing or specific brick-laying patterns.
Those wanting to kickstart this process need to plan with a professional chimney technician, who can help determine what has happened to cause the changes in performance, as well as how these issues can best be addressed and prevented down the line. Professional techs can also help direct you if there is damage that might be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, as this process can be costly.
What Are the Signs of a Chimney Fire?
Every homeowner should be aware of the signs of an active chimney fire, as these can put an entire household at risk. The most obvious sign of a chimney fire is an intense and sustained roar or rumble – like an airplane taking off – that lasts around 5 – 10 minutes.
Other signs include:
- an orange, red, or blue flame coming out of the top of the chimney
- sparks or embers shooting out in all directions
- an increased amount of smoke coming from the fireplace.
If you notice any of these, proper precautions need to be taken. Leave your home and notify the fire department immediately.
That said, not all chimney fires are as dramatic and may go unnoticed by the homeowner. We often find evidence of chimney fires when we conduct annual chimney and venting inspections. At that time, we can assess any damage and determine next steps to get the system back in good working order. This is one reason we like to do sweeping and inspections in the spring and summer. It gives us and the homeowner plenty of time to get the system repaired, if needed, before the heating season officially arrives.
We Care About Your Fireplace & Chimney System
Fireplaces and chimneys are essential features of many homes here in the Northern VA, Maryland, and Washington DC areas. They not only provide warmth during the cold winter months, but also a comforting ambiance for family and friends to enjoy during get-togethers and holiday festivities.
Given their integral role in providing a sense of home, it is important to prioritize chimney and fireplace maintenance and to avoid any potential risks associated with neglecting this regular care. Regular maintenance of your fireplace is more than just the occasional sweep… It also includes inspecting the damper, ensuring the roof flashing is sufficient, checking soot buildup and clogged flues, and so much more.
Because of all that, it’s imperative to trust an expert that’ll put your needs and safety first and foremost. Make sure to call upon experts, such as the CSI-certified chimney sweeps here at Winston’s Chimney Service, if you have questions about how to properly maintain your fireplace and/or chimney.
Reach Out Now for Quality Chimney Masonry Repairs
Repairing your chimney no longer has to be an arduous process – now with the help of our certified technicians, your fireplace can be restored in no time. Ultimately, we all want our fireplaces to operate as smoothly as possible so you can make wonderful memories with friends and family around them.
Call or book online today.