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CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
CHIMNEY COMPONENT DEFINITIONS
CHIMNEY FIRE ACTION / PREVENTION
COMBUSTION GASES & PARTICLE HAZARDS
COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ
FLAME COLOR, BLUE vs YELLOW COMBUSTION
HEATING SYSTEM INSPECTION
HOME HEATING SAFETY
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
SAFETY RECALLS CHIMNEYS VENTS HEATERS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
WOOD, COAL STOVES & FIREPLACES
WOOD STOVE SAFETY
This article catalogs the types of chimney cracks and movement that may be found in brick, stone, or concrete block chimneys; we describe the inspection and and diagnosis of the cause of each type of chimney cracking and we suggest the probable severity, safety concerns, and chimney repairs that may be necessary. We include links to additional detailed articles about each type of chimney cracking or movement. Also see CRACKED CHIMNEYS, MASONRY BLOCK and see CHIMNEY COLLAPSE Risks, Repairs.
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This article series on chimneys, chimney construction, and chimney safety provide detailed suggestions describing how to perform a thorough visual inspection of chimneys for safety and other defects. Chimney inspection methods and chimney repair methods are also discussed.
Guide to Diagnosing & Evaluating Cracks in Brick Chimneys
Our brick chimney photographs just above illustrate a common (and dangerous) crack pattern found in corbeled (stair-stepped) chimneys where a brick chimney passes through an attic floor and is angled over to exit at the chimney ridge. At the chimney in our photo at above left, look very closely at the masonry joint where the chimney begins its transition from vertical to angled. To prevent cracks in a leaned-brick chimney such as this one, the chimney depends on absolutely stable support by the roof framing structure where it passes through the roof to outside. Unless the brick chimney was adequately supported and constructed it may lean, causing the crack pattern we show at above right.
Watch out: often the crack in a leaning brick chimney occurs at the attic floor where the chimney begins its transition from vertical to angled - a spot where the crack may be hard to spot. See CHIMNEY INSPECTION INDOORS for a discussion of chimney movement that opens a hard-to-find crack where a corbeled brick chimney passes through an attic floor.
List of Typical Causes of Cracks in Brick Masonry Chimneys & Flues
The second cracked chimney at above right is a bit more suspect because we see what might be traces of soot or creosote having washed out through the cracks to the chimney exterior. If this proves to be the case this flue is certainly seriously damaged.
Frost Cracking in Brick Chimneys & Flues - outdoor & indoor evidence of brick chimney damage
Thermal Cracking in Brick Chimneys & Flues May Produce Thin Vertical Openings
Severe Chimney Cracking - Deteriorated, Collapsing Brick or Masonry Block Chimneys
Cracks in Masonry Block or Concrete Block Chimneys
Chimney Cracks due to Chimney Movement, Tipping, Leaning
Curved Brick Masonry Chimneys
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