Chimney Repair Philadelphia

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Serving Eastern Pa., Central NJ, and Northern DE

Chimney Repair Philadelphia Area

Chimney Repair Yardley Pa
Image above is from before tree damage (Google Earth) and shows a two-piece stone top.
chimney damage from tree
chimney repair philadelphia
Tree damage (left) and New Stone (one piece) Top Hoisted into place.
chimney repair completed yardley pa
(Above) Chimney repair completed with one piece stone top and sub-level Crown Wash (better than original).
Industry Challenges and Common Problems with Chimney Repairs
Facilitating chimney repair has its inherent difficulties that come with the territory. Access is the main obstacle to overcome when chimney repair is needed. Chimneys are nearly always adjacent to a rooftop, so expertise in roofing is a prerequisite to proper chimney repair. Proper rooftop scaffolding is often a major part of chimney repair. Often a true mason will have little or no roofing expertise and many have little respect for your roof when the scaffolding is broken out to set up on your rooftop. A certain amount of roof damage is expected when a chimney is repaired. Often a mason will nail down plywood to protect the roof and when removing the temporary cover, only caulking or "muck" is used to seal the holes created in the protection effort.
Chimney repair is often an effort of several trade skills that many in the post WWII era of the specialty contractor do not entirely possess. When a chimney is repaired down to the roof level, the flashing is often in need of replacement. Either the flashing is damaged during the work or the masonry courses are disturbed in the repair process. The metal flashing being secured into the masonry must be replaced. Metal flashing is a trade in and of itself and dealing with sheet metal with its intricacies can be challenging for a mason. Next we have the roof itself and the runoff of water and the type of roofing material used. In roofing the flashing of a chimney alone involves at least two trade experts or one that has a lot of experience in both sheet metal and the particular type of roofing in question. There are several ways to flash a chimney and one approach used on the many types of roofing will fail, especially with the retrofitting of base flashing. Low sloped roofing has its methods, while metal roofs have their requirement and the various styles of shingles for steep slopes are another arena in and of themselves. There are elements like Base Flashing, Counter Flashing and then the particular system of roofing used that all have to be completed by an expert in that particular arena. Given the transient nature of our industry, as expounded upon elsewhere on this website, rarely does a mechanic stay in the trades long enough to become an expert in every area of roofing and sheet metal.
chimney needing repair   chimney repairs needed
Poor repair methods destroys chimney (left) and neglect on Crown Wash causes destruction (right). Below: Closeup shot of Brick destroyed by poor re-pointing methods:
chimney repair pointing
The masonry chimney, especially those made of exposed brick and stone are often repaired improperly. The pointing or "putty" used in the repair of these chimneys is just "off the shelf" mason mix containing a majority of Portland Cement. The cement used so commonly tends to solidify to a very hard finished pointing years down the road. This cement grows harder and harder through the years and it begins to destroy the very structure of the masonry wall of the chimney. Especially on brick work, it is commonly evident to no care or attention was taken as to the hardness of the putty used in repair operations. The result often is the destruction of the brick structure. The "fired" edges are chiseled lose exposing the soft "salmon" inside the brick. This creates a vulnerability that is very porous and susceptible to fast degradation. Cement (Stucco) is often slathered on these chimneys as a cheap alternative to proper repair. Stone work has many variances in the stone and in the pointing. It is imperative that stone work not be impeded from drying through aeration as protruding, exposed joints often cause frost damage to porous stone as trapped moisture freezes and expands, damaging the stone structure.
Chimneys are often neglected and unfortunately the damage caused by neglect can be costly to repair. The Crown Wash at the top of many chimneys is a sloped cement that protects the chimney from water intrusion. This crown wash is actually the roof of the chimney. Some chimneys have a solid stone top that lasts for years longer than the typical crown wash. It is usually evident from the ground that a chimney crown wash is in need of repair. Top courses of brick or stone become lose from the influx and retention of water and the freeze cycles expand and begin to destroy the structure. The vulnerability of the chimney to the destructiveness of water infiltration necessitates periodic service and thus we see the chimney often showing signs of the aforementioned amateurish repair methods that cause further damage.
An expert in masonry, roofing and sheet metal is hard to find in the world of the specialized contractor. We are the experts in Chimney Repair. We repair chimneys every day and we do it right, assuring you of not only a lasting chimney, but a lasting roofing system that will serve you for years to come. Call us today.
Chimney Flashing    

Often, Brick construction is done wrong in the first place: Brick Screen Walls

Chimney Repair Philadelphia

Website written by, Robert Wewer