Leaning Chimneys Are More Serious Than You Think
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to overlook obvious signs of wear and tear. Some actually appreciate the rustic look and feel of older properties. Leaning chimneys, for example, are often interpreted as evidence of a well-used and well-loved fireplace.
Don’t make this common mistake.
Sagging, buckling or leaning chimneys are far more serious than you may realize:
- Bricks can easily fall, causing property damage, injury or worse
- Bugs and other vermin can enter exposed cracks
- Rain and snow can seep in, causing severe water damage
- Smoke and noxious fumes can leak into your home’s interior
Some homeowners use calk to plug leaks and believe that the problem is fixed. But these solutions are only temporary. And they sometimes cover up much deeper issues with your property — namely foundation failure (one of the leading causes of leaning chimneys).
At the first sign of any chimney damage, you should call in a licensed professional immediately — before the problem gets worse.
What Causes a Chimney to Lean in the First Place?
The stones and bricks used to construct chimneys are notoriously heavy. In fact, chimneys often need dedicated concrete footing to support all of this extra weight (this footing is in addition to the underlying foundation that supports the rest of your home).
Any number of problems can compromise your chimney or its concrete foundation, including:
- Improperly sized footing
- Cracked or crumbling concrete (as a result of time, water damage or shifting soil)
- Foundation failure resulting from soil erosion, improper water drainage or volatile soil contractions and expansions
- Worn brackets and clasps (used to hold the upper chimney segments in place)
Keep in mind that even a well-installed chimney can become destabilized over time — simply through wear and tear and natural settling of the home. This is especially common with older properties.
How to Fix Leaning Chimneys
Regardless of the cause, leaning chimneys require immediate intervention by a licensed contractor. Chimney-related repairs are not DIY jobs, and you should never attempt to fix your own chimney by yourself.
At Foundation Repair Services, Inc., we specialize in chimney repairs and the full range of preventative maintenance solutions to keep your chimney from leaning or buckling in the first place.
The most common solution we employ involves installing helical piers to underpin the entire structure. With this simple workaround, we install the system underneath the foundation and concrete footing to ensure permanent support.
The piers are drilled down deep into the soil strata until they find secure purchase. Thereafter, we apply brackets and clasps throughout the chimney to keep it firmly attached. And when necessary, we close any gaps to prevent heat or fumes from leaking.
In more severe instances, we may install micropile underpinning systems — especially with heavier chimneys that need additional support.
Is Your Home’s Chimney Starting to Lean?
A leaning chimney isn’t rustic, charming or quaint. It is a very serious issue that often leads to even more serious problems down the road.
If your chimney has started to lean, call in our licensed repair contractors immediately. Call us directly (803) 802-2477 or send us a brief email.