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How Cold Weather Can Damage Your Masonry

Cold Problems

Cold temperatures do a number on bricks and mortar. (We can’t give you that exact number because it differs with every set of circumstances; the algorithm considers temperature, construction materials, age, duration, etc.,) We do know this: with cold weather comes freeze-thaw cycles. This puts physical stress on chimneys. The freeze-thaw cycle can lead to masonry deterioration and potential risks.

Old Smokey’s understands what damage cold can cause on your chimney. It isn’t cold by itself that inflicts the harm. Moisture is cold’s ally in the Damage Department. Snow and ice melt leaving you with water or moisture. Moisture in your chimney can damage the brickwork, chimney crown, flashing or liner. Freeze-thaw cycles can affect much more than your chimney. You may have to address issues regarding your whole structure.

Brick absorbs water such as melted snow or ice. Gaps, cracks or crumbling in mortar joints can allow this water to spread to other parts of your chimney.

We have witnessed problems like this many times.

What can be done?

The first and most sensible step is a professional chimney inspection. We have to find out what’s going on — if anything.  A layperson may not recognize problems from freeze-thaw cycles. Schedule an appointment with Old Smokey’s today. Call us at 260-424-0009 or 800-876-6539 or click here.

Let Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney take a professional look at your chimney’s brickwork. We will assess if damage from the cold, or anything else, warrants chimney repair or rebuild.

Chimney damage from freeze-thaw cycles is fairly common. It can cause a variety of problems, from cracking and crumbling joints and bricks to discoloration and mold growth.

Spalling is a significant potential casualty related to freezing and thawing. Spalling is the surface deterioration of your brickwork. Cracks appear. Pieces of brick begin to form chips and break off. It’s a breakdown that demands attention, often resulting in brick replacement or more.

Weather and time do their “number” on your chimney regardless of the chimney’s age or construction materials.

We can help!

Old Smokey’s can conduct an honest assessment of current conditions and guide you through recommended remedial options. What might these be? One option might be repointing. This involves the removal of eroding mortar joints and replacing them with smooth, new mortar. It’s one of our most common chimney jobs. The tedious task allows us to make good use of our expert knowledge of masonry history, materials, techniques and tools.

Other measures might range from selective brick replacement to chimney rebuilds.

We are proud of our Old Smokey’s trained professionals. Old Smokey’s has delivered excellence to homeowners in northern Indiana, northern Ohio and mid-Michigan for more than 20 years Homeowners from Elkhart, IN to Ypsilanti, MI, from Lansing, MI to Fort Wayne, IN in the south are served by Old Smokey’s. They know our “number.” By the way, it’s 260-424-0009 or 800-876-6539.

What To Do When Your Chimney Leaks

Chimney Leaks and What to Do - Fort Wayne IN - Old Smokey's Fireplace & ChimneyIf you’re like most homeowners, your chimney is probably one of the most taken-for-granted parts of your home. It’s one of those things that you expect to be there for you when you need it but may not give it much thought in the meantime. “It’s all just cosmetic,” we think; this thought process isn’t one to be ashamed of, however, it is one to be corrected sooner rather than later. Monitoring your chimney for leaks regularly will help save you from large repair bills down the road.


Chimneys are notorious for leaking, and the problem is almost always the flashing, which lies at the point where the chimney rises above the roof. It keeps water out of your chimney, protecting both the flue and roof. Flashings are available in a variety of materials. You’ll want to have new chimney flashing installed if you find that it’s missing, rusted through, falling out or completely covered with roofing tar, which is a common short-term fix that’s sure to be hiding a bigger problem underneath.


Chimney materials—brick and mortar—are, by their very nature, porous. As such, they experience hastened deterioration as a result of prolonged exposure to and contact with water and the elements. The freezing and thawing process—during which time water that has penetrated the various chimney materials freezes and expands—quickly deteriorates the overall construction of your chimney.


One way to limit the impact the freeze-thaw cycle has on your chimney is to prevent as much water as possible from penetrating the materials as possible. Water in your chimney can also cause rust on steel and cast iron parts, ultimately weakening or destroying them over time. The weather is constantly battering the exterior of your chimney. Harsh weather conditions can have a negative effect on your chimney.


By waterproofing your chimney, you enable it to repel up to 99.9% of the water that would otherwise penetrate the brick and/or other materials. Waterproofing is a true preventative measure that can add years to your chimney’s life. Because it’s not a requirement, many homeowners deprioritize it; this is a big mistake! There are many issues that can develop as a result of water being on and getting in to your chimney, and, as such, swift and immediate action should be taken to ensure that you’re not faced with unnecessary and avoidable repairs bills.

Unless you’re just looking for a reason to get rid of your chimney, there really is no excuse for not taking better care of it. Water is the biggest culprit for masonry damage, and causes everything from cracking and crumbling joints and bricks to discoloration and mold growth. If water is the cause of your masonry decay, it’s time to have an experienced technician evaluate the condition your chimney’s exterior and flashing are in, get them repaired if necessary, and have your chimney coated with a waterproofing product. Whether you have a leaky chimney or are simply looking to prevent future leaks, let Old Smokey’s experts restore it to its original beauty and functionality.

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