Foundation Repair Problem Signs: Fixing Chimney Brick Cracks More Easily
Chimney brick cracks are a worrying sign to see in your home. Many homeowners don’t know what to do when they see them. Can you just ignore it? Should you call a home repair expert immediately? Is there a deeper problem you need to address? Although it can be a confusing and frustrating problem, it’s not a death sentence. Here’s what you need to know about chimney brick cracks in your home.
How Can You Notice Chimney Brick Cracks Earlier?
If you want to make sure that your chimney brick cracks are manageable, you first need to make sure you catch them early on. Here’s how you can do that.
- Look for the Warning Signs
You must be able to look for the warning signs of chimney brick cracks. All of these are symptoms of chimney brick cracks, which can be seriously detrimental to your home:
- Foundation sinking
- Uneven floors
- Chimney detaching
- Concrete cracks
- Water problems in the basement
- Weatherproofing problems
When you know about these warning signs, you’re much more likely to be able to manage your chimney brick cracks because you’ll be more likely to know when they’re happening. Just by knowing what’s going on, you’re more likely to stay safe.
- Do an Inspection Yourself
Doing an inspection yourself can be a great way to manage your home’s health. After all, you see your home every day. You can track your home’s health by noting what something looks like right now, then noting it again in a month or a quarter. You might not be a professional, but you can at least notice what’s going on in your home.
Even though this may not be a substitute for doing an expert inspection, it is an extremely good way to get an idea of the health of your home. Doing an inspection can help you rule out easily identifiable problems and get to the bottom of issues that aren’t as easy to identify. All in all, it’s a great way to maximize your home’s health.
- Get an Expert Inspection
Of course, because your inspection isn’t as thorough or useful as an inspection from an expert, it’s still a good idea to get an expert inspection every year. Though it may seem counterintuitive, you want your foundation repair expert to come back with a clean bill of health every time you call for an inspection.
This is because you want your foundation to be healthy. The expert inspection helps you ensure that your foundation is as healthy as possible. If there are any problems, the repair expert can point them out and help you fix them.
What’s the Real Impact of Chimney Brick Cracks?
Many homeowners don’t take chimney brick cracks seriously because they don’t realize how damaging they can be. Here’s a quick rundown of the impact of chimney brick cracks on your home as a whole.
- On the Chimney
The chimney itself will see some substantial problems because of cracks. When you have chimney brick cracks, it’s explicitly because there’s a problem with the chimney. The underlying cause may be foundational throughout your home or it may be situated directly on the chimney, but either way, you’re typically going to see some serious chimney concerns.
Chief among those is the fact that when your chimney starts having brick cracks, you might not be able to use it. Unfortunately, it’s common for the chimney to have brick cracks that cause serious problems with the flow of air throughout the chimney. That can make it unusable, which is a shame if you enjoy being able to sit down near the fireplace with your family.
- On the Area Right by the Chimney
Chimney problems will begin right around the same time as when you start seeing chimney brick cracks. Typically, they start because the portion of the foundation the chimney rests on is starting to move away from the rest of the home. That means it’s going to detach, which can be a huge problem.
This area is an important area to pay attention to. If your chimney starts to detach from the rest of the foundation, you’re going to need to fix the problem. Otherwise, your chimney won’t have the stability it needs to stand upright, which means you’re not going to be able to maintain your chimney’s current status at all.
- On the Rest of the Home
This chimney problem doesn’t just have an impact on the chimney, either. It will also impact the rest of the home because of the problems with the foundation as a whole. Chimney brick cracks will seriously impact your home completely. That’s typically because of the underlying problems; it’s not that chimney brick cracks ravage your home, but instead that they and other concerns come from the same place.
This typically has to do with foundation concerns. Because the chimney often has a different foundation than the rest of the home, it’s common for one to move and not the other. If your home’s foundation as a whole has started to move but it’s left your chimney behind, you might have serious foundation concerns throughout your home as a whole.
FAQs About Chimney Brick Cracks
Chimney brick cracks don’t have to happen. Although it can feel as though this problem is inevitable, it isn’t. You just have to make sure you’re avoiding your potential chimney problems before you ever experience them.
- Think About the Problems You Might Experience
The first step is to think about the problems that you might experience with chimney brick cracks. This is typically a step that an expert will do for you; they’re in charge of brainstorming the variety of ways in which you could experience chimney concerns.
The earlier you’re able to avoid potential problems, the more likely you are to solve them without any serious concerns. As soon as you notice a chimney issue, contact an expert to get early help with your chimney.
If you consider the potential problems that might arise for you, and the many forces that might work to put pressure on your chimney and chimney bricks you will have a chance to nip issues in the bud. This will save you money in the long-run, but also help you to protect your property effectively from several different potential issues.
- Inspect the Chimney Whenever Possible
There are many things that you can do, but the bottom line is that you may need to do a stronger inspection along the chimney whenever possible to truly get an idea of its health. Inspections are one of the best ways to ensure that you know what’s going on with your chimney. Of course, they are also slightly harder to undertake than, for example, basement inspections. If you can, you should check your chimney at least once a year. While it would be better to inspect it in good light in the summer, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t check it over while you are putting up the Christmas lights. If you are not confident in your ability to access or inspect the chimney, do not hesitate to book a professional inspection.
There are several unique fixes for your chimney brick cracks, but there are some things these fixes have in common. For the most part, a fix will involve stabilizing the chimney and re-attaching it to the rest of the home for maximum structural stability in both the short term and the long term.
- Understand the Reason for the Cracks
Your method of fixing your chimney brick cracks may depend on the cause. Are they happening because your chimney’s foundation is moving? Are they happening because the foundation of the rest of the home is moving? Are they happening just because the chimney had a low-quality initial construction? You have to answer all these questions before you can decide how to fix the cracks.
You can determine the answers to some of these questions by looking at the state of the rest of your home. If, for example, foundation damage is the cause of your chimney cracks, you will see other signs. Cracks in your basement flooring and walls, for example, or an uneven lean in your floors.
- Stabilize the Chimney
The first step to fixing your chimney is to stabilize it to ensure that you and your property are safe. There are many ways to stabilize a chimney, so you may find that a variety of different methods help you with your chimney stabilization options. An expert will be able to surmise the best method to stabilize your chimney before moving on.
Depending on the severity of the issues you are facing, the process of stabilization could be very quick or incredibly lengthy. If your repair specialist feels that your chimney presents an immediate danger, they may instead suggest that you expedite repairs or even stage a controlled collapse. This may seem extreme, but an uncontrolled collapse could be lethal.
- Reattach the Chimney to the Rest of the Home
The chimney often doesn’t have a direct attachment to the rest of the home, but if you’re having chimney brick cracking problems, you might need to attach the chimney to the home. This provides the chimney with extra stability as well as a sturdy source of long-term support. This may not be the best option for you, however, so you should always ask for an expert opinion.
If your chimney is meant to be attached to the rest of your home and it has started to pull away, this is a very serious issue that warrants immediate attention from a repair specialist. If this structure collapses your whole property will be in real danger of following suit, and your health will, of course, be in immediate danger. Thankfully, the team at Groundworks knows exactly what to do to deal with this situation.
It’s easy for chimney brick cracks to be difficult for you to handle. You mustn’t allow them to get to a point where they’re impossible for you to get a grip of, however. Managing the cracks early on will help you with your long-term prospects.
- Small Cracks
Remember that if you truly have a brick chimney, some small cracks might be normal as the chimney continues to dry and settle. So-called “hairline” cracks, which are thinner in width than the thickness of a business card, typically aren’t indicative of foundation failure unless many of them are developing at once. Hairline cracks are pretty normal.
Almost every structure settles after construction, and very small cracks can form during this process. However, they should be static and small. By this, we mean that they should remain less than the width and thickness of a business card and that they should not spread further across the surface over time. If they are spreading, this is a sign of active damage and stress.
- Extensive Cracks
While smaller cracks might not be a problem, larger cracks are. Keeping an eye on these hairline cracks can remind you to get help as soon as you notice a truly serious problem. It’s important to look at these cracks regularly and check how large they are so you can seek help as soon as the situation develops.
As with smaller cracks, large cracks are more concerning when they are actively spreading and deepening. However, even if large cracks are static, you should still have them investigated to find out what the underlying cause is. This is because larger cracks are far more likely to have been caused by serious pressures and issues which could flare up again quickly.
Although it can be tempting, you don’t want to manage chimney brick cracks yourself. What’s the problem with fixing them on your own? For the most part, it’s the fact that you really can’t do it properly. You’re unlikely to be able to fix the problem.
- Difficult to Handle Properly
Chimneys aren’t easy to handle. You typically need some number of technical tools and often more than one person to manage a chimney. Because it’s unlikely that you have technical chimney-moving tools and you’re probably not thinking about how your friends can pitch in and help you, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do much with your chimney cracks.
The need for heavy equipment and specialist skills may not seem like an insurmountable issue, but there is also the matter of safety. There is no safe way for you to undertake structural repairs on an unstable chimney shaft with no specialist equipment or training to help you anticipate and manage the risks associated with it.
- Not Effective
You can do your best, but without the proper tools and expertise, you’re not going to be able to fix the problem. At best, you’ll stave off the worst parts of it for another day. Rather than putting time, money, and energy toward something that almost certainly won’t work, consult an expert from Groundworks to get expert-level help.
Even if you manage to safely implement a repair on your chimney cracks, there would be no guarantee that these repairs would be effective. To provide an effective repair to your chimney, you will need to be able to assess the true causes of these cracks. If you cannot effectively ascertain this, then there’s no way to know if you have deployed an effective solution.
Fix Your Chimney Brick Cracks with the Help of an Expert
Chimney brick cracks aren’t necessarily easy to deal with, but they don’t have to be extremely difficult to deal with either. You can manage chimney brick cracks in the same way you deal with any other problem. However, as with other structural concerns that you might have in your home, you must have the help of an expert to do so.