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Remodeling and Home Design

Tim Wheeler Masonry Construction, Stone - Cast, Seattle, WA


Licensed | Bonded | Insured

TIMWHC*955KD


Tim Wheeler

Seattles Best Masonry

Chimney Repair Kirkland

Water damage Chimney crownThe key to being able to enjoy your Fireplace and Chimney here in the Kirkland area is to keep it in good working order, one of the very best ways to insure this is to give it a yearly inspection.  Chimney repair can be done quite reasonable here in Kirkland if the problems are addressed early.  Most of the Chimney repair that we see here in Kirkland area is caused by water damage and Chimney not being maintain properly,  Let's start with some of the ways that water can damage your Chimney.  Here in the Kirkland area we get quite a bit of rain most of the year, this mean we have to be able to keep the rain water from penetrating the top of the Chimney.  This is were the real problem comes in, most Fireplace Chimneys are not built to withstand the amount of rain water that they are exposed to.  The reason for this is that when the Chimneys are being built the mason is working with a product called mortar, this is the material that he is laying the brick with and it does a real good job of holding the brick together.  After the bricks are all laid the last thing to do when you are building a Chimney is place a Chimney Crown or Chimney top on top of the Chimney.  As we said this is were the problem starts, because most Fireplace Chimney Crowns are built with that same product mortar.  Mortar is a very porous material that will let large amount of water pass through and in to the Chimney structure.  To stop this most Chimney cleaners and repair companies will  coat the top of or the Fireplace or Chimney Crown with a sealant, or water resistant paint.  While this does stop some of the moisture from coming through it also traps the moisture that's in there thus not letting the Chimney breath out.  Masonry structures need to breath in and out.

In the picture above you can see the damage that water that is trapped can do, this Fireplace Chimney had to have major repair to fix the problem.  As we said most Chimney are built this way, so how should a Chimney Crown be built.  The answer is quite simple, the best material to build a Chimney Crown out off is concrete.  Well you might think that if that's the best material to build the Chimney Crown out off then why don't they build them that way to start with?  Good question, I think that its a lot easier to spread a little mortar around the top of the Chimney and use it as a capping material then to stop and create a Chimney Crown out of concrete.  When you build a Chimney Crown out of concrete you need to build a form to hold the wet concrete in place while it is drying, then you have to come back the next day and remove that form.  As you can see this is quite a bit more work then just placing a coat of mortar at the top of the Fireplace or Chimney.  But here is the pay off, a Chimney Crown that is built right with concrete can last for 50 years or more with little or no maintenance, compare that with a mortar Chimney Crown that needs help every few years or so and i think you are getting the picture.

As a Masonry Contractor in the Kirkland area we do quite a few Chimney repairs every year and some of them are quite inexpensive because they were built right to start with or they have been maintained every few years.  The point that i am making is that a Fireplace Chimney that is built right to start with will take far less maintenance and cost then a Chimney that is built wrong to start with.  The good news here is that any Chimney can be redesigned and repaired in such a way that it will last for many years with just a little maintenance.  Here are some of the things that you need to look for when you are inspecting your Chimney for water damage.  If you see dark area on the Chimney sides or on top, loose or missing brick, moss growing out the mortar joints, or white efflorescence on the masonry walls then your chimney is being damage by water.  So far we have just talk about water in the masonry and why it should not be there, but this is where it gets a little bit scary.  When about  two or three times a year we get a freeze, and when there is water inside the masonry and it freezes the water will expand in such a way that it will look like you hit it with a hammer, busting the brick and mortar.  In most cases even this damage can be repaired,  with a little more cost.  The average cost of a Masonry Fireplace in the Kirkland area is about $18000.00 dollars  and every year or so we have to tear one down and completely rebuild it because it was not maintained.  A few hundred dollars will go a long way in a Chimney repair if its not let go to long. Please give us a call if you would like a Free inspection of your Fireplace Chimney.

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