Can You Reinstall a Chimney?

Discover More About Chimney Maintenance and Repairs

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is full of history as proven by many old structures, some in various levels of dilapidation. Among those different levels of dilapidation, many include minor and extensive chimney repairs, even chimney rebuilding! 


What causes most chimney deterioration?

A chimney begins to deteriorate the first time you light a fire in it, and each time it is used , it will deteriorate a little bit more.  The lifespan can vary based on the type of chimney and how frequently it is used. However, by keeping it well maintained, you can extend its lifespan and useability while eliminating the need for expensive chimney repair. 

A chimney made of concrete will be strong, but you need to consider the intenseness of the heat from the fires you build, as well as the weather conditions it is exposed to outside. Some other factors that contribute to the deterioration of a fireplace include: 

  • A fire can produce corrosive components that erode the silicate hydrates that bond the concrete, weakening the surface so that moisture can get inside, leading to cracking and spalling.
  • Flue gases leach into the area between the chimney’s shell and the liner, causing it to corrode. Over time, the liner’s coating begins to break down, allowing the hot flue gases to leach through to the chimney shell.
  • Carbonation is a process that will cause extreme amounts of carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide comes in contact with the concrete, causing it to weaken. That in turn causes the reinforcement steel to start rusting. Over time, this puts the structure in jeopardy. 

While it will take years before you begin to see these effects damage your fireplace, when they do become apparent, you can be sure that the chimney repairs will be costly! You can avoid this expense by having a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney each year either after or before winter use begins. 

Can a chimney with cracks be repaired?

A chimney that is well-built and well-maintained will give you years of enjoyment and warmth. However, if your chimney begins showing any indication of damage, it’s just a matter of time before you can experience more than expensive chimney repairs. 

When it comes to small cracks that aren’t zigzagging throughout the chimney, it isn’t in any immediate danger of collapsing. However, it is prone to water infiltration that can lead to more serious damage and costly chimney repairs. Just like the streets we drive on, once the water has infiltered into the cracks of a chimney and the temperature drops, that water freezes, expands, and expands the crack. 

From there, it is just a matter of time for the concrete to expand, and eventually, the melted ice water will gain access to the inside of the chimney. So, yes, even the most minor of cracks can be addressed by you. You can use a waterproof coating that fills and seals the crack, following the package instructions. Or if you’re not one to climb on the roof, or the cracks are large enough and the bricks are crumbling, call a professional chimney repair service. 

How is a crumbling chimney repaired?

A crumbling chimney isn’t always related to poor maintenance. They can be constructed with poor quality materials (bricks or mortar), or poor labor and crumble.  So, you see some crumbling or spalling on the chimney, it can sound frightening, but if you address it quickly, either doing your own or having professional chimney repairs done, it will save the chimney and your home. 

If you want to try your chimney repairs, we can give you the steps to follow, starting with inspecting and assessing the situation. This will allow you to isolate the problem so that you make targeted chimney repairs. Before you begin your chimney repairs, determine if it is a widespread issue or if you can’t identify the problem, stop right there and call a professional. 

If you see that there is just a handful of crumbling bricks in one location, inspect all around the areas, checking the mortar, chimney cap, and crown. Check the sealing around the cap and crown, and if you don’t see sealant, apply a waterproof sealant. 

Next, chisel out any mortar where the bricks are crumbling, and replace them with new mortar, new bricks if they are completely or over 25% crumbled. 

Will homeowners’ insurance cover a cracked chimney liner?

Maybe, maybe not, it will depend. Any chimney repairs needed due to a sudden, unexpected incident are typically covered by homeowner’s insurance. However, if the insurance adjustor deems that the chimney repair is needed simply because the chimney has been worn out based on normal use, your homeowner’s insurance will not pay. They will also not pay if the adjustor deems the chimney and fireplace have been neglected. 

The Final Dollar

If your chimney has been completely destroyed, it may be necessary to either close the fireplace off or replace the chimney.  How much does it cost to replace a chimney? That will depend on the type of material used for the chimney. You can expect on the low end to pay around $3,500 and this can go upward to $10,000 or more, with the average around $5,000 to $6,000.

Do you need chimney repair in Philadelphia, PA? If so, call us today at 267-622-7158!