Chimney repairs may seem quite scarce, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t essential to know how to fix when it’s needed. Although chimneys are very durable, there comes a time where they require chimney service as well. Therefore it’s essential to know how to prevent chimney leaks if damages should arise. The first step is re-securing the chimney’s foundation to avoid any leaks—when you mix the mortar make sure its consistency is strong and firm. When applying the mortar to the crown, from the mortar into the apex with its peak at the middle of the crown, keeping the edges a decent thickness to prevent it from later detaching; let the mortar to cure for a few hours before continuing any further.
a. Restore the brick joints: To restore the mortar joints be sure to prep the allotted area to ensure there’s good mortar adhesion. Chimney repair is quite difficult for a beginner or even experienced DIY-er to make sure the chimney is repaired correctly. While applying the mortar to the joint using a pointing trowel, most people usually use their fingers to properly spread the mortar to apply to the tighter joints and ensure it’s tightly packed. Clean away any excess mortar and recheck the voids to make sure they’re filled in the correct spots.
b. Installing a cap and screen: Chimney repair is an extremely extensive process that has to be done correctly to ensure it can be used. Many homes don’t have chimneys, but homes that do have to be sure to keep up both chimney repairs and fireplace service—gas fireplaces are suggested to be annually serviced by a gas fireplace service professional to ensure there are no issues with gas connection to clean or any dust or debris that could impede chimney cleaning. When completing the project, you want to prevent rainwater from entering the flue—install the cap and screen at the top of the chimney and adjust accordingly depending on the type of weather cap and/or damper bought.
c. Remove the ashes: After repairing your chimney be sure to do a simple cleaning to remove the ashes from the fireplace. It’s recommended to make sure that ashes don’t build up greater than 2-inches during colder seasons—use a flat fireplace shovel to clean out any leftover ashes and place them in a bucket from easy removal and disposal. If you plan to remove the soot and fire stains from your fireplace, a little more effort is required by spraying on a mixture of soapy water and let it sit on the surface for approximately 30 minutes.
d. Remove any hard stains: Often there’ll be hard stains to clean while undergoing chimney repair, that requires something far stronger than soap and water. Typically, muriatic acid is used on chimneys because it’s an abrasive chemical used to clean fireplaces—when using this chemical make sure to use safety procedures. Let the solution sit on the surface for approximately 30 minutes before using a wire brush to remove rust and debris effectively.
e. Outside maintenance: Upkeep on chimney repair is as important on the outside to make sure it’s in good condition. Placing a wire screen on the outside of your chimney is an idea for keeping debris and animals from getting down the chimney. Finally, examine the mortar between the bricks to ensure its condition as well, make sure there is a watertight seal around the flashing.
How To Clean a Stone Fireplace
After a few months of passing seasons, it can leave your chimney severely dirty. An accumulation of smoke and soot can waft out, leaving the stone extremely dingy, but there are many ways to get your fireplace sparkling. Start by gathering the required cleaning materials and laying them on a tarp to protect your surroundings. The best cleaner to effectively clean dirt and grim is an enzymatic cleaner or a homemade cleaner made by mixing trisodium phosphate into warm water with the proper ratios (the dirtier the fireplace, the stronger the solution needs to be). Use protective gear to ensure your safety and crack a window to let the chemical fumes out, strongly scrub against the fireplace repeatedly and finish by sponging water over the fireplace to rinse off the cleaning solution.