Well constructed masonry has been thought to be able to stand the test of time. However, the harsh conditions of Chicago winters can often break down unprotected brick masonry. An unstable chimney from exposure to weather conditions can be a hazard in the household. We want homeowners and business owners to be well informed so that they can keep their fireplace or chimney protected. These simple steps can help alleviate future headaches and costly masonry repair work.
Apply an Outdoor Sealer to Combat Thawing and Freezing
Brick masonry is made of porous materials. This means bricks and mortar soak up moisture much like a sponge, causing them to expand and contract with the freezing and thawing that happens during winter and spring. This continual process contributes to the destabilization of the materials, leading to cracking, loosening bricks, or a full collapse. Avoid these issues by applying a permeable masonry sealer to the masonry exposed to the outdoor elements. This is especially important for historic properties with masonry work that may require more maintenance. If forgotten, it could lead to more frequent masonry repair.
Make Sure to Protect the Inside of a Chimney, Too
The snow on top of the chimney, combined with the heat inside, can cause damage to the flue liner if the melted snow starts to leak down the liner, possibly resulting in rust cracks and holes. This means that toxic fumes and heat will not ventilate properly. Water damage can also cause rusting of the damper as well as damage to the ceiling and walls around the fireplace. Homeowners can avoid internal water damage altogether by having a chimney specialist install a chimney cap at the top of the chimney. Our team can help assist in the installation of a chimney cap. See
The Impact of Increasing Weather Changes on Masonry
The city of Chicago has recently issued a report saying that it is likely that the progression of climate change will result in more freeze/thaw cycles and heavier, wetter snow and more winter rainfall, possibly “making structures more susceptible to spalling, cracking, and potholes.” These small steps are more important now than ever with the forecasted changes in climate for the upcoming years.
Reach out to Soumar Masonry for Your Project
Soumar Masonry Restorations, Inc. would love to help you or your business winterize your chimney. Whether you have a single home, operate a multi-use residential building, are overseeing new construction, or are updating a historic property that needs masonry repair and renovation, we can analyze, restore, and repair your structure so that it operates safely. Request a free estimate on your project, or call us today at (630) 216-4422.