Chimney & Fireplace Restoration Services: Our Experts Have the Tools & Training to Get It Done Right
One of the wonderful things about living in the Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC area is the great architecture scattered throughout it, whether it’s a grand old building or a beautiful historic home.
However, if these grand structures have not been properly maintained, the aesthetics will be less pleasant to look at – and there will likely be dangers lurking behind the walls and up the chimneys, too, be it in fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters or flues.
Fortunately for those living and working in the area, the technicians here at Winston’s Chimney Service are certified, skilled, and ready to help you not only restore your wonderful fireplace system, but also clean and maintain your unit for years to come. Whether you have an old, historic home or something new and modern, we have the tools and training to help you out.
Why Should I Consider Restoring My Fireplace & Chimney?
There are many reasons to consider restoring your fireplace and chimney – from both a practical and an aesthetic point of view. Restoring these features gives your home a classic, timeless charm, while preserving the original look of your loved ones’ favorite gathering spot – a much better option than replacing it with something new and different.
In addition you can look forward to…
Improved Safety: A damaged chimney can be a fire hazard, giving flames and heat easy access to the rest of your home. This can also give harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, a pathway to enter. If your chimney is in bad shape, it shouldn’t be used until a restoration can be completed.
Boosted Efficiency: If your chimney is damaged, clogged, or broken down, it’s not going to heat your home as efficiently – which is kind of the point of having a fireplace, right? Lowered efficiency results in frustration and higher energy bills – avoid it all with a restoration.
Increased Home Value: Many homebuyers have fireplaces on their wish list – that is, well-working fireplaces that aren’t damaged or an eyesore. A well-maintained chimney can add value to your home, making it more attractive to potential buyers and upping your curb appeal significantly.
Prevention of Further Damage: Neglecting your chimney can lead to further damage over time – resulting in more expensive, time-consuming, and stressful repairs down the line. Tackle any issues now to save yourself headaches later on.
In the end, a restoration can protect your structure from the elements and keep it functioning properly by eliminating potential hazards such as cracks, crevices, or faulty mortar joints in the flue, firebox, hearth, brickwork, or stonework. This means improved safety, money saving, and more.
Ready to get the ball rolling? Book restoration services with us today, so you can get your fireplace and chimney back in good working order – and so you can once again enjoy evenings in front of the fire.
The Chimney Restoration Process: What Can I Expect?
So, you’ve decided – a chimney or fireplace restoration is definitely in order. Great news! Now, what can you expect after getting in touch with our techs and going over everything?
The First Step: Inspecting Your System
The very first step we take in restoring the grand fireplaces and chimney systems in our area is to perform a thorough inspection of the system – inside and out – to assess any damage that may be in the flue and firebox. We’ll also check for masonry issues that may have not been addressed through the years, and we’ll take a look at the condition of the damper, crown, and chimney caps as well.
In addition to all that, we’ll inspect the flashing and other building materials for what needs to change, if anything, to bring the structure up to current codes and standards. This includes things like checking on any clearance-to-combustion issues, as well as making sure there is a working and up-to-standards flue system.
And if any outside issues have developed over time, such as overhanging trees and branches that may interfere with proper function and draft, we’ll point those out too.
Budget & Planning
Once we have been able to get a good idea of any damage and or changes that should be made, we will work with you to come up with a budget and working plan to address the issues. In many cases, there are some very good options that will meet budget restrictions and still reach the end results with a wonderful, safe, and fully restored fireplace and chimney.
Here’s where working with a company that takes your best interests to heart is vital. Even hiring the most skilled technician can lead to unsatisfactory results if they’re doing work you can’t afford or not listening to your design or style preferences. Restorations are all about finding the plan that works best for you, so that you can enjoy your setup to the fullest year after year.
We’re committed to helping you find a path forward that’s compatible with your home and needs.
Getting to Work
Once we’ve got the go-ahead from you to move forward, the repairs and restorations can begin. The specific time frame for this will depend on the current state of your chimney and what type of services you need to get everything back in order. Rest assured, though, we’ll get things done efficiently and effectively, ensuring things are done in a timely manner without cutting corners or taking shortcuts in the process.
Once everything is looking good and standing strong again, we’ll advise you to invest in preventive measures to ensure your system doesn’t face issues again down the line. This can include services like waterproofing, chimney cap installation, flashing installation, and more.
In addition, be sure to book inspections every single year moving forward to ensure your system stays in tip-top shape for years to come.
If you’re ready to get an appointment set, give us a call. Given the chance, we believe we can make your old fireplace look better than ever.
Ready to schedule services? Book your appointment with us today.
Does Restoring My Chimney Mean I Have to Rebuild It?
When it comes to chimneys, restoring a chimney usually refers to repairing or replacing any parts of the structure that have become damaged due to age, wear and tear, neglect, weathering, or animal invasion.
Depending on the extent of the damage, this might involve anything from minor repairs, such as patching up masonry and replacing mortar joints, to major renovations, like repairing or replacing a terracotta liner which has fallen away.
And yes – in some cases, a whole rebuild may be needed if deterioration has been too extensive or there has been a house fire. That said, in most cases, a solid restoration job should suffice.
As always with this kind of project, it is recommended that homeowners seek professional advice from sweeps here at Winston’s Chimney Services before attempting any kind of restoration work. Expertise, experience, and an in-depth knowledge of chimney systems is often needed to determine if a restoration will be enough or if a whole rebuild is the only viable option.
What Is the Difference Between a Fireplace Restoration & a Chimney Restoration?
Restoring an old fireplace versus restoring an old chimney requires two different services.
Fireplace restorations are typically focused on restoring the aesthetic value and functionality of an old fireplace, from repairing tiling to refacing it entirely.
Chimney restorations, on the other hand, involve the inspection and repair of components that help the chimney work effectively, like the flue system, liners, and mortar joints. This can also include sweeping, waterproofing, and annual maintenance and inspection checks.
Many families get a combination of both fireplace and chimney restorations done at the same time. Once they are completed, keeping most warranties up to date will require annual services from a professional tech to make sure everything stays in good working order.
What Are Some of the Options When Refacing a Fireplace?
Many assume their options are limited when it comes to revamping the look and feel of the fireplace. But nowadays, if your fireplace needs a makeover, there are numerous refacing options to choose from.
Some examples? A popular choice is stone veneer – you can select from faux or natural stone, depending on the look you want to achieve and your budget. Another modern option is a solid-surface material like quartzite or marble, featuring smooth or textured finishes. There are even refacing options designed to mimic woodwork or a brick finish without all the labor and upkeep associated with those materials.
How much do fireplace refacing services usually cost?
The cost of a fireplace refacing depends on the size of your fireplace, as well as the type of material chosen, so the range is really wide – which makes it hard for us to give you a solid estimate right up front.
The best way to determine the cost is to have your fireplace inspected by one of our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) –certified technicians to make sure everything is in good condition. Once that is known, we can go over the many choices you have to reface the fireplace, along with new mantel choices as well.
All in all, if you are going to make the change, it’s important you get what you want. We are here to help you in any way we can.
How Do I Find Out What Condition My Chimney System Is In?
Knowing the condition of your chimney system is important for both your safety and your comfort. It’s easy to take it for granted, but things like inspecting and sweeping out your chimney annually can save you time, money, and even danger down the line.
The best way to find out what condition your chimney system is in is to call Winston’s and schedule a certified technician to come out to your home and conduct the type of chimney inspection needed for your type of system. During the inspection, we’ll look from top to bottom to ensure that your firebox is properly lined and sealed, that the flues are clear of blockages or displacement, that water is not getting into your system, and that there are no other structural issues present.
Note: If we find the chimney and flue too dirty to inspect, we will need to do a thorough chimney sweeping prior to the inspection. While having a proper sweeping and inspection will give you peace of mind, it should also help improve airflow and efficiency when using your fireplace or stove.
Can I Use My Fireplace During the Restoration Process?
You may be wondering whether or not using your fireplace during the fireplace restoration process is safe – especially if the process is going to take some time. The short answer is no.
It might sound like using a fireplace during a restoration should be cut and dry, but there are too many differences and circumstances that come up to be able to give you a simple answer – which is why we like to play it safe by recommending no usage until the job is complete.
For instance, we had a large job that involved knocking out the old terra cotta flue tiles, and it looked to be pretty straightforward from the inside of the fireplace where we could see the large gaps in the tiles. However, as we went up through the flue we saw there were several places that connected to the central flue – and all of those had to be traced so everything would be properly repaired.
In the end, we found an additional fireplace that was boarded up and painted over and yet another fireplace that was behind a false wall. The owners had to make some decisions as to what needed to be done, overall, so the fireplace and chimney system would properly vent and the rest of the structure would stay intact – or be rebuilt and restored as well.
In addition, while some restorations seem to be more simple than others, restoring a fireplace often involves a variety of materials, some of which will need to cure in order to do their job. That means you will have to wait to use the fireplace in most cases.
Again – that’s why we say not to use the fireplace until we are done.
Other things to consider:
- During the restoration process, especially when involving gas fireplaces, many of the parts may need to be removed which could make it unsafe to use until those parts have been replaced and tested for functionality during the final inspection.
- Everyone involved should have doubts about the safety of a fireplace during the restoration process – and should always err on the side of caution and wait until it’s completed.
- We also want to make sure, before using your newly restored fireplace, that everything has been checked out and passed a final inspection.
Once restored, your fireplace will look better than ever and you can be confident you can now use it as it is intended to be used. For all these reasons, it is best to wait until after the restoration process has been completed before utilizing your newly restored fireplace.
Schedule Restoration Services Today
How Is Restoring an Old Chimney Different From Restoring a New One?
Winston’s Chimney Service has seen some pretty crazy things in the 45 years we’ve been doing these restoration jobs in the Washington DC and Old Town Alexandria areas. Many of these structures are grand old historical buildings – and the key word here is old. And, when dealing with older buildings and homes there are things that have to be taken in consideration that you don’t need to with newer homes.
Materials: Older homes may have chimneys made of different materials from new homes, and matching old to new in size, color, and composition can present interesting challenges, all of which can impact the restoration process – and that require specialized skills and knowledge to tackle.
Code Compliance: The building codes for newer homes are obviously going to differ from building codes of the past. When rebuilding a chimney in an older home, it’s important to make sure that the new construction complies with current safety codes.
Structural Issues: You never know what kind of surprises and structural issues could be found in a chimney that was built decades ago. We may find things such as settling, cracking, or shifting – all of which can impact the restoration process and may require additional repairs or support structures.
Historical Considerations: In some cases, older homes may be subject to historical preservation regulations that can impact the restoration process. This may include restrictions on the use of certain materials or construction techniques.
Long story short, the process is usually more complex and intricate than most assume – and specialized knowledge and skills on the part of the sweep working on it is a must. When you work with a team that has experience working on systems like these and can navigate any unique challenges – like the crew here at Winston’s – you ensure a safer and more effective restoration overall.
If you want care from a team that knows what they’re doing when it comes to restoring your old or historic system, we’re the company to rely on.
We’re Here to Help With Your Restoration Needs
Whether you’re needing a major restoration job completed, like a rebuild, or something more low-key, like some tuckpointing services, we’re here to get your chimney and fireplace back in the best shape possible. We know that fireplaces are the focal point of many households, and we’d love to be the team you trust to get your system looking and functioning great for the long haul.
We’ve been trusted in this area for close to five decades due to our commitment to further education and our dedication to listening to the needs and wishes of our customers. We’ll always put your safety first, and we’re happy to answer any questions along the way.
Rest assured – when you work with us, you can be happy with the results you end up with.
If you’d like to speak with us about your restoration needs, don’t wait to reach out. Give us a call, or you can book online with us today. We’re excited to speak with you soon.