All too often, older fireplaces don’t work as they should. This can be dangerous: if you try to use a chimney that’s not venting properly, carbon monoxide can build up. Here’s what you need to know about restoring a chimney.
Check the Chimney’s Integrity
You can’t tell the condition of your fireplace by looking at it. Have an expert out, who can assess the structure and condition of the chimney and let you know what kind of work is needed to bring it back to usable condition.
A fireplace restoration expert will check out the liner of the chimney, as well as the firebox. If the chimney liner is chipped or cracked, it will need to be repaired before the chimney can be used. With more serious structural damage, it could be more cost-effective to remove and replace the chimney.
Make Structural Repairs
The firebox is the area where you have the fire–the part most people think of as the fireplace. If the firebox is damaged, a fire could actually move from the firebox up the chimney. As smoke and heat build inside the chimney, there is a risk of combustion.
Chimney masonry breaks down over time. You may suspect your chimney masonry needs work if bits of mortar fall down the chimney and collect in the firebox. It’s important to repair damaged chimney mortar as soon as you notice it, because the mortar protects the chimney from weather damage. When the mortar is compromised, there’s increased risk of damage from freeze and thaw cycles.
Make Aesthetic Repairs
Assuming the chimney is functionally intact, you may want to think about aesthetic repairs. Is the style of the chimney in line with your home and your personal tastes, or does it look dated?
There are several options for refreshing the style of your chimney. Swapping out the mantle for something new or repainting the chimney are two simple options. If you want to go further, replace the tiles around the chimney with something distinctive.
If your home is historic, you may want to maintain the historic look and feel of the home. There are fireplace restorers who specialize in historic homes, and who can help you bring a neglected chimney back to a point of pride.
Brandstetter’s KangaRoof is here to help with light masonry, chimney sealing, and other chimney work. Explore our chimney services.