Chimneys and Facades – Common Home Inspection Findings
Cracked Bricks and Deteriorated Mortar/Cement on Chimneys, Brick Veneer and Facades, and Decorative Architectural Features
Water and the Minnesota weather freeze-thaw cycles may deteriorate brick veneer surfaces and components of chimneys. The older the home, the more likely it is to find that brick components of a home have begun to deteriorate.
The chimney is often an element of the home that is out of sight and out of mind. Due to the inaccessibility of many chimneys, homeowners rarely inspect them. Deterioration is commonly found in chimneys over 40 years old.
The crown of a chimney should be free of cracks. Proper seals should be installed around the clay or metal flue/vent to prevent water from seeping into the internal components of the chimney. Brick should be free of cracks/deterioration and mortar/cement should be free of cracks, disintegration, or separation from bricks. Chimney repair, fireplace, or masonry contractors often repair or replace cracked crowns, cracked bricks, and deteriorated or separated mortar/cement.
Brick veneer or facades of a home may also contain cracks and deteriorated/separated mortar/cement. Cracks are often found near the corners of windows and doors. Cracks spanning several courses should be evaluated by a qualified mason. Cracks may continue to increase in size and compromise the veneer/façade or decorative architectural features if water infiltrates cracks and freezes/thaws, or movement of foundation/structural components continues. Significant deterioration of mortar/cement may cause brick components to become unstable and fall.
Routine homeowner inspections and proper maintenance of brick components of a home may preserve chimneys, veneers, facades, and decorative architectural features of a home. Hiring a qualified contractor to properly repair cracked bricks and deteriorated mortar/cement on chimneys and brick veneer can save thousands of dollars in future repairs. Preventing significant deterioration of mortar/cement may reduce the possibility of brick components becoming unstable and falling to the ground.