Is Your Chimney Leaning or Cracked?
The chimney serves a very vital function in a home. However, many homeowners would only think about their chimneys during winter. In the real sense, it is critical to ensure that the structural integrity of your home’s chimney is in perfect condition throughout each season. Most people would tend to think about the condition of the chimney’s interior or even the brickwork. However, the real issue comes from the fact that the foundation of the home may not be stable enough. One of the most common issues with chimneys is leaning. A leaning chimney can spell disaster, not only to the chimney but to your home as a whole.
If you realize that your chimney is pulling away or leaning, the best course of action would be to seek for the services of a professional foundation repair company. There are various reasons that would make the chimney detach from the rest of the home. The most common among these is that the home has been built on unsteady ground. This would tend to cause the heaviest part of the house, which is the flue, to detach as the base begins to settle. This occurrence causes the vent to become very unstable, thus posing a possible safety hazard.
There are various solutions to chimney leaning that one can go for at home. One of these is to use metal bars or even cables. The contractor may give a suggestion to strap the flue to the rest of the house in order to make it stable. This is a process that involves attaching the flue to the rest of the home by use of a strong material like a metal strap.
Since this method may work on a temporary basis, many professional contractors find it a short term measure. This is because ultimately strapping the flue to the house does not really resolve the root problem to the leaning chimney. It is therefore advisable to go for the permanent and reliable options for leaning chimney.
In order to determine the right method to deal with the leaning chimney, the contractor will need to determine the main cause for the leaning. For chimneys that have little foundation damage, the best means to deal with it is through insertion of pins or a flue. This will help strengthen the chimney and thus making it stable.
The other solution for a leaning chimney is the installation of a device known as a helical pier under the chimney. This is not only simple but a long term solution that would help fix your chimney. In other cases however, there would be need to rebuild the chimney completely and reconstruct the fireplace. This would ensure that no future problems are encountered.
Basically, it is advisable to keep checking on the chimney in order to ensure that it is in good condition. Sometimes, it may not be possible to see the lean in the chimney since it may not be obvious. It is always important to pay attention to the joints where the chimney itself meets the home in terms of gaps or cracks.
Chimney leaning with gaps or visible cracks is almost always a sign of foundation failure. It is best to consult with a local foundation repair company for a complete evaluation. These companies usually offer a free inspection service.