A leaning chimney is very common in the Southeast, and especially in the Carolinas. Several factors can cause a chimney to settle and therefore lean away from the house. Common causes are expansive soils, poorly compacted backfill soils and poor drainage.
Chimney settling is very prevalent during severe drought conditions because the soil, if expansive, will literally shrink and contract. If the soil under the chimney foundation begins to change properties, the chimney will shift. The most visible sign of a settling chimney is a separation between the brick and the adjacent siding.
What to Do If Your Chimney Is Leaning or Falling
First, don’t let things get worse. Contact Foundation Repair Services, Inc. as soon as possible to request a repair estimate.
The most common solution is to install a helical pier underpinning system. This system installs underneath the settling foundation to provide permanent support and arrest future settlement. In many cases, the helical pier system can be used to raise and level the settled portion of the foundation.
The piers are simply drilled down into the soil strata to reach more firm, stable soil below. Then, a bracket is attached to the foundation to provide permanent support. The helical piers can be loaded immediately and create very little disturbance to the surrounding landscape.
In some cases, FRS installs a micropile underpinning system. This system works basically like the helical pier system described above, but is used in certain soil or loading conditions. If very high load capacities are needed or rock is encountered in the soil strata, then micropiles are typically used.