There is nothing quite as enjoyable as sitting in front of your fireplace, reading a book or relaxing with friends and family. That said, keeping your fireplace healthy and well-maintained is important for enjoying it safely. And if your chimney is in rough condition, your entire fireplace experience is sure to suffer.

One of the biggest threats to your chimney masonry is the freeze/thaw cycle. What is this vicious cycle, and how can you combat it? The team at Integrity Chimney has answers.

What Is the Freeze/Thaw Cycle?

a chimney with smoke coming out surrounded by a snowy roofMoisture is the biggest enemy of brick and mortar. Your brickwork is naturally porous, meaning any water and snow it’s exposed to will absorb right into it. It may seem like a weird comparison, but think of your bricks and mortar like a sponge… Unless there’s a barrier (like waterproofing products) to keep water a bay, it’s going to soak in.

The freeze/thaw cycle is the process that occurs when water enters the pores of masonry, then freezes and expands. This expansion puts a lot of strain and pressure on the masonry, causing it to crack and break, and it triggers a lot of structural damage if not readily addressed. The freeze/thaw process is particularly dangerous for chimneys, as they are typically the tallest part of a house and are exposed to the elements all year round.

What Damage Does the Freeze/Thaw Cycle Do?

The freeze/thaw process can cause a variety of problems for chimney masonry.

  • It can lead to cracks, chips, and even large chunks of masonry falling off.
  • It can cause the mortar between the bricks to weaken and crumble.
  • It can lead to serious structural issues that can pose a danger to your home.
  • If not treated, it can lead to a chimney collapse
  • It can cause masonry pieces to fall into your chimney and create clogs.

The integrity of your chimney is dictated by the integrity of the mortar that holds the bricks together. While bricks can last a lifetime, mortar is susceptible to damage and needs maintenance. When your mortar cracks and crumbles it can cause bricks to loosen and even fall out. This can be damaging to your roof and your home.

How Do I Address Freeze/Thaw Damage?

icicles hanging down by a masonry wallIf you suspect that your chimney is suffering from damage caused by the freeze/thaw cycle, it’s important to have it inspected by a professional. Integrity Chimney has a team of fully trained technicians and chimney sweeps that will be able to assess the extent of the damage and recommend the appropriate repairs.

In order to repair the damage caused by the freeze/thaw cycle, we’ll need to address the source of the problem. If water is entering the chimney, it’s essential to fix any leaks or cracks that may be allowing water to seep in. This could involve tuckpointing the chimney, installing a chimney cap to prevent water from entering, or any number of other chimney leak repair services.

How Can I Prevent Future Damage?

In addition to repairing existing damage, there are also steps that homeowners can take to prevent future freeze/thaw damage. One of the best ways to prevent freeze/thaw damage is to ensure that your chimney is properly sealed and protected from water.

One of the best ways to prevent freeze/thaw damage is to ensure that your chimney is properly sealed and protected from water.

We do this by waterproofing the structure with a vapor permeable sealant. Our waterproofing products ensure no water or moisture can get access to your bricks, while still allowing them the ability to breathe – a necessary feature of all masonry chimneys.

Be sure to trust a pro with all of your waterproofing needs. Store-bought products claim top-notch protection, but they often end up simply trapping the pre-absorbed moisture in – which only causes any damage to continue. Trust our experts from the start for a job done right.

Call Our Experts Today

The freeze/thaw process is a major threat to chimney masonry. It can cause serious structural damage and can lead to a variety of problems, such as cracks, chips, and crumbling mortar. To repair the damage, it is important to address the source of the problem and replace any damaged masonry with new, high-quality materials.

To prevent future freeze/thaw damage, homeowners should ensure that their chimney is properly sealed, protected, and regularly maintained. Have your chimney inspected by our experts as soon as possible.

Integrity Chimney offers you the best technicians in the area. Our vast knowledge and experience can help you spot problems and keep your chimney well maintained, providing you with a fireplace that keeps you warm, happy, and free from worry with every burning season.

Call 570-221-4113 or reach out online now to get started.