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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

What is repointing?

Masonry chimneys are constructed using special techniques and materials that ensure they will be able to withstand a lot. Your chimney is exposed to moisture, extreme temperature swings, and corrosive gases on a regular basis. Because of this, years and years of constant use will eventually begin to have an effect on the chimney. This is especially true for your mortar joints, the cement-like substance that holds your masonry brickwork together.

When your mortar joints start to crumble and pop out of place, we at Old Smokey’s use a technique called repointing to get your masonry looking and functioning like new again. We have been in business for nearly 40 years, so you know that our masons offer the best service with the most experience in northern Indiana, northern Ohio, and mid-Michigan area.

What is the mortar?

man climbing up ladder

When you inspect your brick or stone masonry, mortar is the white, cement-like substance that lies between your bricks or stones. Mortar is important to the health of your masonry because it acts as the glue that holds your bricks and stone together. Without it, your masonry fireplace would just be a pile of bricks and likely to topple over.

What causes mortar to degrade?

There are many things that can cause mortar damage. Poor construction, old age, and general wear and tear are sometimes the culprits. However, more often, mortar damage can be traced back to issues related to exposure to moisture. When it rains or snows, moisture can settle on your masonry and seep into tiny pores in the mortar. Moisture can then accumulate and pool inside the mortar, gradually eroding and weakening it. If that moisture freezes, it will expand quickly, hastening the speed at which your mortar degrades.

If you notice that your mortar is starting to crumble or pop out of place, it needs to be inspected and repaired soon with a procedure called repointing. Repointing is done by carefully grinding away old mortar joints and refilling it between your bricks. This restrengthens the bonds between your brickwork, protects your masonry from moisture while giving your masonry a new look.

Let the professionals at Old Smokey’s help.

Repointing is a delicate and painstaking procedure. That’s why it is important to leave it to a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified professional. Only a CSIA certified mason will know how to remove old mortar correctly and replace it. At Old Smokey’s, our CSIA certified masons will also be able to match your mortar perfectly with your current masonry mortar, making your masonry look as good as new.

If your mortar is looking a little worse for wear, call us at 260-424-0009 or schedule an appointment online today!

We Install Stainless Steel and Aluminum Liners

Your chimney serves as a source of enjoyment for your whole family. However, if your chimney isn’t properly lined, you may be putting your family at risk. Your chimney liner serves two main functions. First, it gives smoke, gases, and heat a smooth path from your fireplace to outside your home. Secondly, and most importantly, it protects your home from heat produced in your fireplace. At Old Smokey’s, we can’t stress enough the importance of having a liner installed in your chimney. In fact, if you do not have a liner installed in your chimney, your fireplace is not safe to use. Let us help you determine if your chimney liner is functioning properly and ready for use.

smoking chimney against blue sky

What is a chimney liner?

When you use your fireplace, your masonry naturally conducts heat. Although your masonry is not flammable, it can hold heat and transfer it to your surrounding woodwork. If your woodwork gets hot enough, this can be a serious safety hazard. The National Bureau of Standards tested chimneys with no liner. They discovered a fire lasting over 3 hours with no liner increased risk of a house fire. Because of this, fire codes today require having a protective liner in the chimney. This creates a barrier between the inside of your chimney and your home.

How do I know if I have a chimney liner?

In the 1940s, fire codes became more strict. Therefore, if your home was built after the 1940s, you most likely have a liner installed. If you are unsure whether you have one or not, do not operate your fireplace until you have an inspection. Schedule a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney technician to inspect it and give you guidance.

If your home was built after the 1940s this does not mean that you can just forget about your liner. Chimney liners can crack or become holey, exposing parts of your home to extreme heat. Because of this, you still need to have your liner (along with your entire chimney system) inspected annually to determine if your liner is showing any signs of weakening. If your liner isn’t working properly, it can lead to a number of issues including masonry erosion and carbon monoxide exposure.

We can help!

At Old Smokey’s we offer a number of liner options, however, the most common ones that we install are either made from stainless steel or aluminum. These types of liners are relatively easy to install, insulate well, and are very durable. Our CSIA certified chimney technicians are well trained and have many years of experience installing chimney liners, so you can trust that your chimney liner will function the way it is supposed to.

If you have questions regarding your chimney liner, we here at Old Smokey’s can help you determine the condition of your chimney liner and any steps that need to be taken. Call Old Smokey’s today at 260-424-0009 or schedule an appointment online to have a technician come to your home for an inspection. We look forward to serving you!

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