Chimneys are well known for their aesthetic appeal and durability, as well as the unique character and warmth that they add to a home. They often hold up for many years, and sometimes even centuries, due to their durability and longevity. Many older chimneys still stand today but often suffer from age-related issues.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your old fireplace is unsafe; however, there are certain risks prevalent in chimneys that are over the hill (fifty years old). A few common age-related issues involve: 

Chimney Lining: Liners, composed of stainless steel or ceramic, are the main safety feature of a chimney and they also enhance the chimney’s functioning. Many older homes may not have lined chimneys because building requirements were different in the past. The chimney liner covers the inside of the chimney and protects combustible materials in the house from the heat of the fire. It also safeguards the chimney from damage caused by acidic smoke and protects your family by helping to direct deadly carbon monoxide out of your home. If your chimney lacks a liner or if the liner is damaged, the combustible materials could be exposed to heat, which could eventually cause a house fire. If this happens, you could possibly face problems with your insurance claim if an unlined chimney caused the fire. 

Brick and Mortar Deterioration: Older bricks are often better than newer bricks simply because of the way they were fired; this is why we can still see really old houses where the bricks are still in good condition. Still, extreme heat, age, and weather can cause the mortar to wear away. When mortar deteriorates, the chimney structure becomes more vulnerable to collapse. Luckily, if you address chimney problems early, an expert in repairing chimneys could save you the trouble of rebuilding a leaning or collapsed chimney through a procedure called “tuckpointing” or “repointing.”

Chimney Waterproofing: Chimneys are exposed to severe weather year-round. Water absorption is the main reason of deterioration. By waterproofing your beloved old chimney, you will extend the life of your chimney for years and protect against leaking problems.

If you have an older chimney or fireplace, we advise you to seek the consultation of an expert in repairing and renovating chimneys to help ensure a safer home. Here at Clean Sweep, we have served customers in Asheville, Waynesville, Sylva, Bryson City, Cashiers, Highlands, Cherokee, Black Mountain, and Franklin since 1984. We believe that an older home offers plenty of charm, but special attention is required for safer functioning of an older chimney. A chimney inspection, which should be conducted annually by an expert chimney sweep, can help to determine what your chimney needs. Please give us a call today. 

Resources:

Common Issues Found in the Chimneys of Old Houses (High’s)

Problems with Chimneys in Old Houses (Pozzi)