Author: Mark Linville

2018 Best Ways to Improve Your Home’s Exterior

2018 Best Ways to Improve Your Knoxville Home’s Exterior

2018 Best Ways to Improve Your Home’s Exterior

Whenever spring or summer comes around, the good weather encourages people to host events at their homes. It could be a simple family get-together or an extravagant party. It could be that you were deciding to put your house on the market. Whatever the event may be, your home needs to be ready for visitors, and it needs to be in tip-top shape. If you reside in or close to Knoxville, TN then check out Chimney Sweeps West. They offer various handyman services to get the curb appeal you are searching for. To get the exterior to look presentable, some of the options are adding a fresh coat of paint, adding a fence, or adding a deck.

Painting the Exterior

Whenever you paint the exterior of a house, it adds curb appeal. If you choose the right color scheme, then your house can appear bigger, and who doesn’t want a bigger looking house? Painters say neutrals, whites, and creams can give the illusion of a larger house, and currently, those are the trending colors. It will also increase your house value by 2-5%. Home buyers search for houses that are ready to be moved into than doing all the extra repairs. It can also benefit you because painting the exterior is much cheaper than installing new vinyl siding or whatever the material may be. Painting can help your house to stand out because if you live in a subdivision where all the houses are identical then you will need something unique to make your home different. It also gives you the opportunity to be creative and customize your house to your liking.

Fencing the House

The houses that are fenced give off a polished appearance. Some fences have ornamental elements on them for decorative purposes. The quality of your fences can also increase your house value because fences are extremely useful. Fences are excellent for marking your property. If you live in a close subdivision, then there has to be a marking that indicates where your property begins and ends. Along with being a property divider, fences are great for safety purposes. If you have children, then fences serve as boundaries preventing the child from leaving the house. It is also a boundary for pets. Often, pets wonder out to the yard, and sometimes cross that boundary and get injured, but if you have a fence, then you do not have to worry about it because it acts as a security precaution.

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Adding A Deck

There are various types of decks all made from different materials. The two common ones are a pressure-treated wood and composite deck. If you want a custom- built, unique style then hire a well-reputable deck designer. Backyard decks are multifunctional; for example, you can have dinner with the whole family while grilling outdoors, you can have lounge chairs and sit out there while reading a book, or you can host social events while enjoying the company of your friends. A backyard deck can increase your property value drastically. If you have a well-built deck, then the average value it adds is about $9,000. Decks are perfect for privacy. If you do not like having a lot of attention, then having a deck in your yard can prevent have the public’s attention.

Great Reasons to Call a Chimney Sweep

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In case you’re new to the universe of chimneys, you may not know precisely what a professional chimney sweep does. Like the name suggests, these experts clear (i.e., clean) smokestacks. Yet, many additionally perform other essential errands, for example, diagnosing issues and making repairs and substitutions. Since you comprehend what a chimney sweep does, we need to discuss four motivations to get one of these professionals out to your home.

Tips For Hiring A Qualified Masonry Contractor

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Enlisting a Chimney repair contractor to do repairs on your smokestack done in your home in Knoxville, TN can be overwhelming undertaking. This is on the grounds that many individuals will claim to be Chimney repair contractors when you begin your hunt, yet not every one of them have what it takes and skill to take care of business right.

Summer Projects to Improve Your Home

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Summer Projects to Improve Your Home

Summer is one of the best times in the year to get around to improving your home. Both regular maintenance tasks and remodels can be done in the summer, seeing as you won’t have to worry about the weather too much. Small additions and touch ups on your home can go a long way in making it a more pleasant place to live.

Not sure what things to focus on while working on your home? Well, here’s a list of things that are worth considering.

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Paint and Finishing Touch Ups

Never underestimate a new coat of paint! Paints these days are more durable than ever, so if your house isn’t exposed to too much harsh weather where you live, a fresh coat should last you at least a few years.

However, paint can be tricky, and if you don’t know paints well, this could be a job best left to a professional.

Redoing the paint anywhere in your house shouldn’t simply be a matter of running to the store, asking an assistant what you need, and then applying whatever you bought to the area that looks like it needs to be repainted.

Not all paints are equally good. And if you apply a fresh coat of high quality paint to a wall that had a bad paint, your new paint job simply won’t last as long. Sometimes getting a paint job to last properly could require you to add a primer underneath, or to scrape off the old layer completely.

Whichever way it goes, it’s important that you realize that you can’t treat painting like a simple, straightforward task if you want the new paint job to last. To get your paint to last, you have to make sure you know what you’re dealing with and that you’re using the right products to get the best out of your fresh coat of paint.

When checking for areas that might need a new paint job, you need to think further than just checking your walls and roof. Here’s a checklist of areas that you can check to see if they need a fresh coat of paint or finishing:

  • Window and door frames
  • Doors (including garage doors)
  • Fencing
  • Deck or patio
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Roof

Not everyone has a painted roof, so not all of those areas would necessarily present a problem to you. However, what should be clear is that there are plenty of areas in and around your house that can do with a fresh coat of paint or finishing from time to time.

Siding Improvements

Maybe your siding is old and you want to replace it. Or perhaps you just want to switch from one kind of siding to another. Siding can either be made from vinyl, wood or metal, and all options have their pro’s and cons.

If you have wood siding, there’s a good chance that it might need some maintenance. There might be areas in your siding where the wood has gone bad, in which case some parts might have to be replaced.

Adding Energy-Efficient Windows

Energy-efficient windows can go a long way in helping to regulate the temperatures inside your home without using air-conditioners, heaters or your fireplace. The aim of these windows is to either keep heat inside your home more efficiently, or if rooms get too much sun, the windows helps to keep out the harshness of the sun.

The trick is to get windows that suit your climate type best. You might even want to install the different kinds of windows in different areas of your home depending on how much sun they get. Also be sure to do your research and make sure that you’re having a high grade window installed, otherwise all the effort might not pay off really well.

Handyman Build a Patio

Deck and Patio Addition

No, a deck or patio addition isn’t a very small home improvement project, but if you don’t have a deck or patio, adding one can make your yard a more fun place to be this summer.

If you’re exceptionally good at carpentry, you could even try to build your own. It could be a fun project for your family to try this summer.

However, if you’ve never built anything out of wood in your life, your deck or patio isn’t a good place to start experimenting. After all, you want your deck or patio to be durable.

If you already have a deck or patio, you could consider changing it to be bigger or smaller. But even if you’re perfectly satisfied with the amount of space on your patio, and the space still left in your yard, you should check your deck or patio every year to see if it needs any maintenance. There might be pieces of wood that are cracked, or some planks might need replacement.

To help your deck or patio last longer, it’s also best to have a fresh coat of finishing applied once every one or two years. How often you refinish your patio will depend on the weather conditions in your area, as well as how often you use it. To keep this area looking its best, it’s also recommended that you clean it properly.

Need these projects done but don’t have time to complete when yourself? Feel free to call us at Chimney Sweeps West! We have a team of professional handymen that can help you painlessly get around to all of your home maintenance tasks this summer. With professional help, you won’t have to squeeze home improvement and maintenance into your already busy schedule, we can help you get everything done in as little time as possible so you can enjoy the look and feel of your newly improved home in no time!

Get Your Chimney Waterproofed

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Like any other part of your home, your chimney needs care every once in a while. Many homeowners don’t give their chimney much thought. They just allow it to deteriorate and accumulate dirt. But eventually this kind of neglect can prove to be a serious health hazard. Your chimney can get damaged in a variety of ways – one of the more common ways being cracks in the chimney. But you should also have your chimney checked for water damage. As water damage can be very harmful to your chimney.

How Can Water Damage Your Chimney?

If your chimney isn’t properly waterproofed, it won’t be safe to use. Water damage can cause a lot of problems with your chimney. That’s because large parts of your chimney are made from materials like steel, which will rust if it’s exposed to water.

If you never have your chimney inspected, now would be a great time to get in touch with a local chimney sweep service. Professional chimney sweeps will be able to check for any water damage in your chimney. If there’s damage, it’s always best to locate the source of the problem and have it fixed. Once you’ve fixed the source of the problem, you can have your chimney fixed without having to worry about your fixed chimney getting damaged again by the same source of water damage.

Water damage to your chimney can cause your damper to rust, as well as potentially causing problems with water penetration in your walls. If that’s the case, you might even see mold grow on your walls near the fireplace, and the wallpaper of paint might lift because of the dampness in the wall.

Mold in your house is terrible for your health, so it’s always best to have any problems fixed that can cause your walls to rot.

Mold and Your Health

Mold is primarily linked to respiratory problems. So if you or one of your loved ones suffer from asthma, or if you tend to have other problems, like coughs, wheezing or a stuffy nose, mold is a likely culprit in your home.

For people who are more allergic to it, mold can also cause skin problems like rashes. Needless to say, the health problems associated with mold in your home is no fun.

To prevent mold from growing in your home, you should have any leaks – like roof leaks or broken pipes fixed as soon as possible. If your chimney is the problem, then you’ll be able to fix the problem by calling a chimney sweep and having your chimney fixed.

It’s important that you have any leaks fixed as soon as possible, as leaving them could cause your walls to get soaked, leading to more water damage than if you had the problem fixed soon after it was discovered. Once you walls, chimney and roof have water damage, the wet parts (or the badly rusted bits) will all have to be replaced. You can’t leave any area of your walls wet and hope that it will dry out, as you’re leaving a potential breeding ground for more mold to grow. And once the mold starts to grow again, it can be very difficult to control.

Things you can do to prevent mold from growing in your home include:

  • Keeping humidity levels low.
  • Thoroughly drying out any areas, like carpets, after they got wet.
  • Properly ventilating areas that are often humid, like the shower and the area above the stove or kettle in your kitchen.

The health problems associated with mold might seem insignificant to you, but mold-related allergies shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your respiratory system is a vital part of your health, and chronic exposure to mold can take its toll on your health.

Apart from this, your house is likely to smell damp and unpleasant if you leave water damaged areas without fixing them promptly.

Staying Safe Next Winter

Let’s face it, you don’t want to think about winter yet. It feels like things are only just starting to heat up, so why worry about the winter? There’s still a lot of time before then.

Fact is, springtime is great for getting your chimney inspected before winter this year. That’s because it’s the ideal season to do all kinds of outdoor maintenance tasks. The temperature isn’t too extreme, which often helps for certain parts of the maintenance work.

Getting your chimney inspected in spring also allows a lot of time before winter, so if there are still problems after your chimney is fixed, there will be time to get your chimney ready before winter.

Remember to use a chimney cap to avoid water damage through your chimney. Chimney caps are also great for preventing birds from making nests in your chimney. This is very important because the nests can actually catch fire whenever you use your chimney, and this can lead to a chimney fire.

Apart from this, you should have your chimney inspected annually to see that it’s still ready for each coming winter. Chimney inspections from professional sweeps aren’t cheap, but your chimney has a very important role to play in keeping your house safe. Without the proper care, it’s better to refrain from using your chimney, as you can never be too safe when working with any area in your house that uses fire.

Spring is the Perfect Time for Exterior Chimney Repair

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Spring is an awesome time for spring cleaning and yard upkeep, however that isn’t all. This spring keep your fireplace in mind. Regardless of whether it need repair or it simply needs a little cosmetic touch up this year, spring is an incredible time for these repairs.

To begin with, spring begins the off-season, which implies chimney sweeping companies are less occupied and clients have more opportunity to calendar repairs.

Second, by planning your repair in the spring, the repair doesn’t interfere with the standard utilization of your chimney and fireplace. Contingent upon the degree of the harm, a repair can be a torment amid the icy months, since chimney cleaners require a cool chimney and fireplace to work, for their wellbeing, and an intensive clean.

What is Exterior Chimney Repair?

Fundamentally, the parts of the chimney that are outside the house make up the outside fireplace. At the point when the crown, masonry, flashing, or chimney cap need supplanted or repaired, you require outside fireplace repair. These repairs are best done in decent climate, so it doesn’t intrude on your stack utilize, and it’s additionally simpler for your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) to make these repairs in pleasant climate.

Some outside fireplace repairs might be restorative repairs. On the off chance that you are putting your home up for sale, or have quite recently procured it, you may plan a restorative repair. Chimney Sweeps West of Knoxville works in stone work repairs that are enduring and wonderful! Our group can expertly repair your stack to reestablish its excellence, its proficiency, and its security. Regardless of whether you require minor mortar repairs, brickwork, or remedial stone work, Chimney Sweeps West is the group to call. We can even evacuate years of residue and grime development from your stone or block!

Normal Exterior Chimney Repairs

Tuckpointing is required when the mortar between the blocks is broken, eroded, or generally harmed by water or bugs. It’s the procedure by which the mortar is painstakingly evacuated and new mortar is pressed in. Tuckpointing is to a great degree precarious in light of the fact that the mortar ought to be coordinated in shading, organization, and quality or it will really exacerbate matters, both structurally and aesthetically. Chimney Sweeps West has mortar-coordinating down to a science!

Block re-confronting is required when the blocks start to spall or lose confronting. The fireplace clear expels blocks independently, and replaces them. Chimney Sweeps West attempts to ensure the completed item mixes flawlessly with the first stone work.

Another regular exterior chimney issue is a leaning chimney. It can be brought on from different basic issues, poor development, or cataclysmic events. Chimney Sweeps West is knowledgeable about stack reclamations and revamps and can work with property holders to make something standard or extraordinary for your home.

Spring Clean Your Chimney

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Now that things are warming up a little, it’s time to take a look around your house. There are probably quite a few maintenance chores you put off during the winter. One area that you should pay special attention to is your chimney and fireplace. Your chimney probably worked hard throughout the winter, so you should check that it didn’t sustain any damage.

Why Have Your Chimney Inspected?

The good news is that your chimney is probably in an okay condition. If you were still using your fireplace all throughout the cold months without any problems, chances are your chimney isn’t badly damaged.

So why have your chimney inspected if it’s still okay?

For starters, a chimney inspection includes a chimney cleaning. If you’ve been regularly using your fireplace, there’s a good chance that your chimney is full of soot and other buildup. Apart from that, having your chimney cleaned will help the professional chimney sweep to clearly see what’s going on. If there are any cracks that formed in your chimney due to overheating, for instance, you can have them fixed before they have any time to spread further.

Even if your chimney is still in tiptop shape, it needs to be cleaned regularly to keep your fireplace safe. A dirty chimney will leak more smoke and harmful gases into your home than one that’s been properly cleaned. So if you found that you had a problem with smoke leaking into your house this winter, it’s definitely time to have your chimney swept.

When to Clean Your Chimney?

You can call a professional to sweep your chimney any time of year. There isn’t a specific time of year when you can’t have your chimney swept.

That said, when exactly you have your chimney inspected might depend on a couple of things. If you have your chimney inspected once a year, then obviously you’ll always have it inspected more or less at the same time each year. If you don’t regularly clean your chimney, the best time to call a professional is any time before using it again.

If you normally clean your chimney yourself, you should still have it inspected from time to time just to make sure it’s in good shape. Don’t assume your chimney is safe to use just because you cleaned it. Unless you aren’t a professional chimney sweep, there’s a good chance you might have left some dirt. And even if you got all the dirt, you might not know how to spot and fix cracks.

Who Can Inspect Your Chimney?

As mentioned before, it’s always best to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a qualified chimney professional. But how will you know who to trust?

Your safety depends on finding a chimney sweep that knows what they’re doing. In the same way you wouldn’t have your car services by just any mechanic, or you wouldn’t have anyone tamper with your home’s electric connections, you shouldn’t trust anyone with your chimney.

Before allowing someone to work on your chimney, ask about what certifications they have when it comes to the work they do. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers a certification program for chimney sweeps. Ideally your chimney sweep should be certified with the CSIA, or a similar organization.

While the work chimney sweeps do is vitally important to your health and safety, there’s no standard requirement someone must fulfill to work as a chimney sweep. This means that anyone could sell themselves as a chimney sweep, even if they know nothing more about chimneys than you do!

That’s why the CSIA and similar organizations have set out to standardize the industry. These organizations recognize the importance of having a well-maintained chimney when it comes to fire safety.

Keep in mind that the best chimney sweeps won’t necessarily be cheap. But don’t be fooled into hiring someone who isn’t a professional just because they’re cheaper. Often times, the cheapest sweeps won’t even clean your chimney. Unfortunately there are many chimney sweep scams out there, where a sweep will require you to pay for an inspection upfront only to disappear without a trace.

So when choosing a chimney sweep, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that the professional you’re hiring has a real business. A business address, professional work uniforms and an online presence all indicate that you’re working with a real company.
  • As mentioned, ask about any special qualifications or experience in the field before hiring someone.
  • If you’re new in an area and you have any friends with chimneys, ask them who they use for chimney sweeps. It could save you a lot of headache.
  • Be careful about anyone who requires you to pay a large amount of money upfront, even if they haven’t so much as looked at your chimney.
  • Don’t hire someone if you feel uneasy about them. If everything looks right and your gut says no, trust your instincts. Your safety isn’t something you should risk for anyone.
  • If you’ve been using the same professional for many years and you’re satisfied, avoid using someone else in the future only to chase a bargain.

What should be clear, is that taking good care of your chimney is as important for practicing good fire safety as being safe while using your fireplace is.

Are you located in Knoxville? If so, feel free to call us! Here at Chimney Sweeps West are ready to help. With multiple standard levels of inspection, our professional team will help ensure your chimney is ready to go through another winter safely.

Best Way to Waterproof a Chimney

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Asking what’s the most ideal approach to waterproof a chimney or what are the best waterproofing items are both sufficiently justifiable inquiries, but on the other hand they’re excessively wide for a basic answer. The most ideal approach to waterproof what sort of chimney? Is it accurate to say that we are waterproofing a vertical wall or the breast of the brickwork? There are brick, concrete block, stucco and stone chimneys and there are diverse contemplations for every one of them – meaning you may utilize distinctive items on various sorts of fireplaces. We should peel this back like an onion.

Picking the Right Waterproofing Product

Before getting started, please understand that the less a waterproofing product costs, the less likely it is to do you any good. One noteworthy brand costs close to nothing yet endures a fairly short measure of time since it separates in with UV exposure (daylight.)

You need an item that utilizes poly siloxanes or silanes. Fundamentally, that implies that it doesn’t utilize solids to obstruct pores of the stone work, rather it sets up an electrostatic charge that outside water can’t overcome. In the meantime, if the brick work has caught dampness in it the day you choose to waterproof (and it might) the head weight of the water inside will have the capacity to defeat the electrostatic charge and escape. At the end of the day, water can’t get in, yet it could get out if need be. The good stuff costs more – not restrictively more – but rather it is gracious along these lines, so justified, despite all the trouble.

Sealing Brick Chimney

Since around 99% of the general population perusing this have brick chimneys, we should begin there (I will address non-brick fireplaces later). One of the focal issues concerning waterproofing is the porosity of the material being waterproofed. This bodes well: you don’t need to waterproof steel or vinyl since water doesn’t infiltrate them in any case. While bricks are by and large less permeable than numerous different materials (like an cinder block) unique sorts of bricks fluctuate in porosity themselves.

This clarification is to set the phase for understanding that occasionally you need to waterproof a fireplace more than once. This makes sense: however we don’t prefer to let it be known, the truth of the matter is that occasionally experts misconstrue how much waterproofing a fireplace needs and end up returning when they get a complaint. We beyond any doubt don’t like that way, nor do we like individuals being disappointed with our work, however where waterproofing is concerned, it is by all accounts an unavoidable truth. Lesson of that story is 1) request that your waterproofer go over it twice only for good measure (regardless of the possibility that it costs more) and 2) don’t be too tough on your person in the event that you need to get back to him. I thank you on behalf of all the guys who ever get caught in that squeeze! And please look below for special information concerning re-applications.

A last thing before moving onto more specific data: If you have spalling brick, i.e. the faces of the brick are flying off, don’t try to waterproof the chimney; it’s past the point of no return. Rather kick yourself for not having done it ten years back and have the brick structure reconstructed. At that point waterproof it so it doesn’t occur once more.

How is chimney waterproofing applied?

Waterproofing is applied with a sprayer. On the vertical walls, i.e. the greater part of the chimney, waterproofing ought to be applied from base to the top in light of the fact that as the waterproofing material leaves the sprayer it keeps running down the fireplace and gets assimilated into the stack underneath the region being taking a shot at. It kind of sums to doing it twice. Clearly, the top needs additional consideration or it’d just get one pass. After you complete around 10 minutes’ worth, do it again just to ensure the entire structure gets a decent dousing.

Extraordinary contemplations ought to be given to breast walls, re-application, the crown, the flashing region and the mortar joints. The breast wall is the place a chimney doesn’t go straight down to the ground, rather circumvents something (quite often a fireplace.) They aren’t typically by and large flat zones, a 30°-60° edge is really normal. These zones ought to get diverse treatment.

Sealing the Chimney Breast

Since the chimney breast has a more extreme introduction to rain and especially snow, it needs more layers of waterproofing. Most waterproofing utilized nowadays is water-based material. This is for two or three reasons: one is that water-based materials cost less than dissolvable based materials. They are more secure to ship, store and utilize and they are splendidly sufficient to the errand. The exception to the advantages is on non-vertical surfaces.

One way to deal with a non-vertical surface is to waterproof it over and over and over. Another is to use a solvent-based material, still with polysiloxanes, because it soaks deeper into the substrate. For a chimney with a breast below, opt for the more expensive solvent-based waterproofing.

An extraordinary note about re-applications. On the off chance that one needs to re-apply waterproofing after the water-based material has officially dried, dissolvable based waterproofing ought to be utilized. This is not regular learning, even among the exchange. Regardless of whether re-applying the following day or after ten years, utilize dissolvable based waterproofing. Try not to be frightened that if in the wake of perusing this article you know more than the general population you contract to carry out the occupation; the vast majority don’t have the foggiest idea about this. Just persistently demand getting what you request.

Sealing a Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is a level surface and it’s made of cement or mortar. It shouldn’t be made of mortar, however there’s a decent shot that it is at any rate. In view of what you’ve quite recently perused about waterproofing the chimney bosom, you’d sensibly feel that you’d simply utilize a dissolvable based waterproofing material there. In any case, that is not really: a crown requires more than common waterproofing.

The crown is fairly permeable. In case you’re fortunate the crown will be made of cement and will have been worked in a way that makes the top very smooth and non-permeable. In any case, by and large, crowns are genuinely permeable and have more introduction to rain and snow than all the rest of the chimney, and accordingly more problems (e.g. leaks) that the rest of the chimney as well.

There are coatings made particularly for crowns (the two noteworthy brands are Weather Tight and Saver Systems and both are by and large accessible to the exchange just.) Regardless of the brand being utilized, crown prep is critical. All the greenery and earth must be wire-brushed away. The crown ought to be wetted down before the material is connected. Crown coatings connected to dry surfaces don’t build up the fundamental security you’re searching for. Extensive breaks ought to be caulked with high sap filler before the crown coat is connected.

A note on flat surfaces which are not chimney crowns, for example, carports and so on. Siloxanes are not the best decision here in light of the fact that garages are made of cement. A comparative material (silane) is fitting so as to get legitimate holding with the substrate. It isn’t so much that chimney waterproofing material won’t work; it’s quite recently that silanes will last longer in this case.

The flashing area needs special attention. Traditional flashing, which 99.9% of all of us have, is not actually so great. I’m sure traditional in-the-mortar-joint-flashing was a huge improvement over whatever was before it a hundred years ago, but don’t imagine it keeps water out the way you wish it did.

There are spectacular blazing items which, as I would like to think, are tragically underused. Streak Seal and Flash Tight are high-pitch coatings particularly for this reason. To waterproof the blazing truly well, request one of these items. Your breadth might possibly even hear what you’re saying, yet don’t hold that against him. For this situation you’ll be teaching him. As I stated, they are still undervalued items now.

Now the big one: the mortar. Since most spilling happens at the joints, you need to be extra certain you splash them well with the waterproofing. You ought to realize that when in doubt mortar joints are regularly not also fortified as you may think they seem to be, and there are in reality little breaks in the mortar (more often than not obvious however.) The joints themselves have distinctive properties on various chimneys relying on whether mortar concrete or Portland bond was utilized, also the molecule size of the sand utilized and the pH of the water that was blended to make the mortar.

To what extent does chimney waterproofing last?

Before moving on, let me answer another FAQ. The question is how long does chimney waterproofing last? Answer is, as a general statement, probably about 20 years for most people. If you have the wind blowing sand at your chimney a lot, perhaps in the desert or by the sea, the brick surface can wear away, but most people don’t have that. There are guarantees, generally about 10 years. When those guarantees were instituted they were basically guesses from studies done in wind tunnels and freeze-thaw cycles. After a lot of years of observation, 20 years seems to be a generally good answer. Having it redone every 10-15 years is reasonable maintenance.

What is the distinction amongst beading and repulsing water?

A related subject: there’s a contrast amongst “beading” and repulsing water. Directly in the wake of anything is waterproofed, there is an extremely fulfilling impact called beading. This is the place you see dots of water simply sitting at first glance, sort of like seeing water sitting on oil. As perfect as it is to see, at impact is transitory. I don’t know why, yet the reality remains that waterproofing stays compelling for some, numerous years past the beading impact is no more.

How to waterproof stone chimneys

Finally, there are stone chimneys. Depending upon what kind of stone, the surface may be quite dense or quite porous. Regardless, stone usually doesn’t waterproof well with chimney waterproofing materials. The reason is that siloxanes and silanes bond to silica, and stones may or may not be silica. If they are, it’ll work, and if they aren’t, it won’t. Faux stone on the other hand is made with Portland cement, and you can waterproof it.

A Final Cautionary Word

Let me finish with a fun (in retrospect) cautionary tale. Be careful where you spray your waterproofing material. We once had an employee get cute and draw a smiley face on one of our customer’s driveway. It dried right up, no problem. But, when it rained the smiley face showed up just great. We wound up waterproofing that whole driveway just to keep it from smiling in the rain. Put down cloths on the roof so you don’t get it on the shingles. Never get it on the windows (you’ll mess them up permanently.) And of course, be real careful not to get it on the driveway.

‘Animal in my fireplace’ and other critter-in-the-chimney encounters

If you have a chimney, you probably at one point or another had an instance where there was an animal stuck in there. It happens. The CSIA emphases chimney caps as a way to help prevent animals getting in your chimney.

Chimney Safety Institute of America emphasizes the need for chimney caps, where appropriate. Why? It’s all about animal intrusion. The flue is an inviting, cozy environment that may be appealing because it offers refuge, and dry lodging, to the critter. Some crawl in, and some fly in.
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Chimney Repairs

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With winter drawing to a close, and the frequency of using your fireplace goes down, it’s time to start thinking about having your chimney inspected for repairs. As with most other things, after prolonged use, there can be minor damage to your chimney. While minor damage might not seem like such a big deal, the reality is that it can lead to bigger problems if left without repairs. That’s why having your chimney inspected regularly can help keep your family safe. Especially after winter, seeing as your chimney could’ve sustained some minor damage during the cold winter months.

Are Chimney Repairs Important?

At Chimney Sweeps West, our work is to help you keep your chimney in good shape, so of course we believe that chimney maintenance is important, but it’s not just because we want you to hire chimney sweeps.

Unfortunately many homeowners might be under the impression that having their chimneys swept and repaired isn’t necessary to keep their families safe, while in reality chimney problems are one of the main causes of fires in residential areas.

A chimney that isn’t working properly can also leak carbon monoxide into your home. Because carbon monoxide is similar to carbon dioxide, you won’t notice when your chimney isn’t channeling the gas out of your home as it should. But even though there won’t be clear warning signs that carbon monoxide is being released into your home, the gas is highly poisonous. Inhaling too much can be fatal.

According to the NFPA, fires caused by heating equipment (that includes your fireplace) were second on the list of most common fire causes in 2016. But even though only 16% of home fires were caused by heating equipment, falling far behind the percentage allocated to fires caused by cooking (which was the main cause of home fires), fires caused by heating equipment were responsible for 19% of the deaths that took place a result of home fires in 2016. Fires caused by cooking were equally likely to result in death, making up for a further 19% of deaths in home fires.

What this means is that, although your chimney is less likely to be the place where a fire starts than your kitchen, chimney fires are more dangerous, leading to death in more cases.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to have your chimney inspected before you use next winter. Also have a carbon monoxide alarm installed into your home so you’ll have an early warning if there are any toxins leaking into your home from the fireplace.

Having Your Chimney Inspected Is Cheaper Than a Fire

Homeowners who don’t have their chimneys regularly inspected by a qualified professional often end up paying the price in home repairs. Assuming you’re lucky enough that a fire that started in your chimney doesn’t result in loss of life, the effects of such a fire will still be awful.

To have your chimney swept and checked for damage will cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand if your chimney needs a lot of work (such as in cases when the chimney wasn’t built properly to begin with). Fire damage, on the other hand, will almost never cost you less than at least $5000, and that’s if the fire was small.

We’re willing to bet you have some things in your home near the fireplace – like furniture and maybe even a piano – that’s dear to you. These possessions have sentimental value that go well beyond their monetary worth, and they’re the first that you’ll lose in a fire.

Always Practice Fire Safety

So, suppose you’re a responsible homeowner and you have your chimney inspected annually. Do you get to throw out that ugly fire extinguisher? Well, we’d have to caution you against that.

Although having your chimney inspected annually before using it for the winter will certainly lower your risk of a chimney fire, there really aren’t any guarantees in life. Various things can impact the safety of your chimney, including the materials you burn, as some woods burn at a temperature that’s too hot, causing your chimney to crack more easily.

But apart from the fact that your chimney still works with fire – and is therefore a potential risk regardless of what you do – there are also other areas in your house that are high-risk zones where fires can start.

According to the NFPA’s report on home fires (titled Home Structure Fires) approximately 46% of home fires start in the kitchen. These fires often start as a result of forgetfulness, where residents might leave the home to run a quick errand only to come back to a burning house. Faced with this horrific scene, it’s often then when they realize they forgot something on the stove, or in the oven.

To practice good fire safety entails more than just having a fire extinguisher in your home (although that certainly is important). Good fire safety is about all-around mindfulness when it comes to potential fire hazards in your home. So while inspecting your chimney and having it repaired is an integral part of practicing good fire safety, we urge you to be more mindful in other areas as well. After all, there’s no use having your chimney inspected only to lose your house in a kitchen fire.

Talk to Qualified Chimney Professionals

Chimney sweeps aren’t all the same. While some Chimney sweeps undergo proper training, others don’t know much about what they’re doing at all. There’s no use in hiring someone who knows no more about your chimney than you do. In that case, you might just as well have tried to sweep your chimney yourself.

Obviously, your safety should be a deciding factor when hiring a chimney sweep company. You wouldn’t want an unqualified doctor, so why hire someone who doesn’t take your safety seriously to sweep your chimney?

Contact Chimney Sweeps West to have your chimney inspected by our team of highly qualified professionals.