About chimneys; how they’re made, fitted, repaired
Have you looked at your masonry fireplace lately? If so, you may have noticed some discoloration in all the brick or stone of the fireplace, especially in the upper part of the structure. This is a sure sign of the excessive infiltration of water in the chimney cover.
Excess water in the chimney can manifest itself in three ways: efflorescence, mold growth and chipping. One or two of these symptoms may be visible in your fireplace or all three depending on the severity of the problem. Let’s look at each of the symptoms and the recommended solutions, so you can protect your fireplace from unwanted damage.
Efflorescence: the efflorescence is a white power that is seen on the surface of the brick or stone (masonry) of the chimney. The water that is inside a chimney wants to dissolve soluble salts in the brick and mortars. As the water migrates to the exterior surface of the chimney when it is absorbed, it drags it with it and then deposits it on the surface of the masonry during evaporation.
Solution: As with any water problem, you must prevent water from entering the source. Most of the water that enters the chimney enters through the upper part of the chimney or the crown of the chimney. The cracks allow the water in each rain so the cracks must be filled and sealed to prevent them from leaking. The crown must be inspected annually. You can remove efflorescence with a hard brush while applying a neutralizer made of 1 cup of household bleach mixed with five gallons of cold water. Several applications may be necessary.
Mold: usually, mold can not be seen directly. It is manifested by a slight darkening of the masonry in the lining of the chimney. A chimney enters through the top, most of the mold wants to make a definite difference in the tonal color range of the masonry from the top of the chimney to the bottom.
Solution: the application of a degreaser or heavy detergent generally seeks to eliminate most surface molds. Soak the fireplace with pants before applying the detergent and let it sit for approx. fifteen minutes. Then use a pressure washer to remove the detergent and mold.
Peeling: peeling is the delamination action of the face of the brick or stone masonry unit. It is caused by excess water inside the pores of the unit that freezes and thaws for hundreds of cycles. The constant freezing action breaks the pores of the brick and causes the face to fall.
Solution: if only some bricks are spilled, you can get ahead with the re-coating of the brick surface or extraction and replacement. If the damage is widespread, especially in the upper part of the chimney, it will be necessary to remove the damaged part of the chimney. Again, the crown of the chimney must be waterproof. However, remember that once a brick has been spilled, it has become a life-threatening long-term remedy.
These three problems could be avoided by installing a quality fireplace crown. Talk to your fireplace professional for additional information.