As we head into the middle of another cold winter season here in the Shenandoah Valley, homeowners across the region are cozying up to their fireplaces with their families and loved ones. We depend on our chimney and fireplace systems to keep us warm, but the brutally cold snow covered rooftemperatures can wreak havoc on masonry chimneys. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the bricks and mortar joints of your chimney can suffer from accelerated deterioration when the mercury falls below freezing. Fortunately, Blue Ridge Chimney Services is ready to help you deal with the masonry damage, and we offer a variety of preventive services that can protect your chimney from future winter weather masonry deterioration. We have provided top-quality professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation services to the Shenandoah Valley area for years, and our CSIA-certified chimney technicians have been trained by the leaders of our industry. We would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about what the weather can do to your masonry chimney and how we can assist you with keeping your chimney and fireplace system functioning at its highest levels of efficiency and safety.

How does winter weather damage my masonry chimney?

The majority of winter weather chimney damage results from freeze/thaw cycles. Masonry materials are porous, which means that they naturally absorb moisture. Since the exterior of your chimney is constantly exposed to the elements of weather, the bricks and mortar joints of the structure are at risk for water penetration every time that it rains, sleets, and snows. Whenever the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, any water that is trapped within the masonry materials will freeze and expand. As the weather starts to warm back up, it begins to thaw, and the force of the thawing can be enough to cause the bricks and mortar joints to crack and break apart. Repeated freeze/thaw cycles can lead to the accelerated masonry deterioration that the CSIA mentioned, and the damage can be extensive, especially if repairs are neglected. This can seriously compromise the structure of your chimney to the point where it could be at risk of collapse.

How can Blue Ridge Chimney Services help me with my damaged masonry chimney?

When you make an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified chimney professionals, you can count on us to carefully inspect every inch of the exterior of your chimney to properly assess the damage. Once the inspection has been completed, you will receive a detailed written explanation of any problems that were found with pictures of the damaged masonry. We will also provide a fair and honest estimate of the masonry repairs that are needed to restore the structural soundness of the structure of your chimney. Our team of chimney professionals are trained and experienced in chimney masonry repair techniques, such as tuckpointing. This technique is when we remove damaged masonry materials with specialized tools and replace them with a mortar mixture that has been customized to match the color and consistency of the existing mortar so that it matches the rest of the chimney. Once we have finished with the repair work, it will appear as if the damage had never occurred.

What types of water penetration preventive services does Blue Ridge Chimney Services provide?

We are proud to offer you several options that can help you avoid masonry chimney damage from water penetration. According to the CSIA, the most economical way to keep water out of your chimney is a chimney cap that has been professionally installed on the top of your chimney. Our expert staff can help you find the best cap for your chimney, and you can count on our chimney professionals to customize the cap so that it fits perfectly to your chimney. Not only will a chimney cap keep water out of the flue, but it will also prevent birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wild animals from getting into the chimney to nest. We can also show you caps that have specially designed vents that can direct the wind to help your chimney to draft properly. Another water penetration preventive option that we offer is flashing construction and repair services. We recommend flashing as the best way to protect the area where your chimney meets the roof, which is one of the most vulnerable spots for water leaks. We use the best quality of metal sheeting to wrap around the chimney in layers, and we will ensure that the flashing is securely installed with no cracks or spaces that could allow water to leak into the chimney. To protect your chimney from suffering from spalling damage during freeze/thaw cycles, we strongly suggest that you make an appointment for our professional chimney waterproofing services. We only use waterproofing formulas that have been specifically manufactured for chimneys, which means they are 100 percent vapor permeable to allow combustion gases to escape from the bricks and mortar joints while water from rain and melted ice and snow is kept from being absorbed into the masonry materials. After we have waterproofed your chimney, it will be protected from water penetration damage for at least a decade.

You can depend on Blue Ridge Chimney Services to give your chimney the ultimate protection from water penetration. We can also repair any winter weather masonry deterioration from that your chimney may have suffered. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified chimney professionals. We are here for all of your professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation needs.