Sustained exposure to wind and rain means plenty of potential problems with chimney stacks. And there's a lot that can go wrong. Problems with flashings, mortar joints, damaged bricks, flaunching and cowls all have the potential to cause leaks and structural issues, damaging buildings and presenting serious risks to safety.
Early diagnosis and appropriate action is key to the prevention of serious and costly issues.
Our experienced surveyors draw upon many years of experience to provide accurate diagnosis and effective plans for remediation that balance cost with effectiveness.
From minor repairs including repointing, flaunching, chimney lead flashings and brick spalling to partial or complete chimney rebuild, our directly employed bricklayers and roofing experts make Daniel James Construction the perfect choice for chimney repairs and maintenance.
Slight chimney flaws have the potential to develop into major problems if not identified early and dealt with swiftly. Here are some early signs that your chimney may be in need of repair:
Gaps and cracks in chimney brickwork mortar
Repointing damaged mortar quickly is imperative to the health of a chimney stack. Water finding its way into the chimney stack structure will freeze and expand, causing further damage to mortar and brickwork leaving a chimney rebuild as the only remaining option.
Damaged and missing chimney lead flashings
Lead flashings at chimney abutments are often pointed with mortar, especially in older buildings. Problems with mortar adhering to lead and its inherent brittleness often leads to gaps where lead is fixed into brickwork. Lead sealant is a silicone based product specifically designed to provide good adhesion to both lead and brickwork and the elasticity of lead sealant means that it can withstand a degree of movement. When having repairs to lead chimneys flashings, always ensure that mortar joints are replaced with lead sealant.
Cracked chimney flaunching
Chimney flaunching plays an important role in discharging rainwater from the top of a chimney stack and securing chimney pots in place, but is generally constructed from a sand and cement mix which can be prone to cracking. Caught early, cracks can be repaired inexpensively and without the need to hack off and renew chimney flaunching.
When things move beyond past the point of minor repairs it might be time to consider rebuilding a chimney stack. Depending on the degree of damage, there a generally three options available:
Partial chimney rebuild
It is often the case that damage to chimney brickwork is limited to the top courses only, especially where flaunching has deteriorated and allowed large volumes of water to be absorbed into bricks and mortar. In this scenario, and assuming there are no structural issues lower down the stack, it is usually possible to replace only the damaged brickwork courses and flaunching, rebedding existing chimney pots.
Complete chimney stack rebuild
where chimney stacks are leaning or extensive deterioration of brickwork and mortar has occurred, a rebuild of the entire stack may be the only option remaining.
Demolishing the chimney stack to below the level of the roof is a good option where damage is severe and the stack no longer required. This course of action has the added benefit of eradicating the common problems assoiated with chimneys and avoiding the need for future repairs and maintenance. With this method, the chimney stack is dismantled to below the roof line and replaced with underlay, battens and tiles to match the exsiting roof. For houses, this is usually covered under permitted development except in the case of convservation areas, but checks should always be carried out before removing a chimney stack.
The key to keeping repairs minor and minising cost is to catch problems early. Contact us and speak with a chimney expert for advice on chimney repair, rebuild and removal.