There’s more to masonry than meets the eye. A masonry chimney is made up of masonry materials and metal materials, including brick, mortar, concrete, stone, flue tile, steel, and cast iron. These materials are damaged significantly by water penetration and other natural occurrences. This damage can range from cosmetic to structural, and all is better prevented than repaired.


Chimney leaks are preventable with routine inspections and maintenance. Home owners should make it a top priority to schedule these routine checks because a professional will see a problem long before it presents itself to the untrained eye. Often times, by the time a leak is noticed by the homeowner, it’s already caused extensive water damage. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) water penetration can cause serious damage, including: rusted damper assemblies, fireplace accessories, and glass doors; deteriorated metal or masonry firebox assemblies, and central heating system; rotted adjacent wood, ruined wall coverings, and decayed exterior mortar; water-stained walls and ceiling; clogged clean-out area; stained chimney exterior; cracked or damaged flue lining; collapsed hearth support; tilted or collapsed chimney structure; and chimney settlement. These problems can be avoided by scheduling your waterproofing appointment today.

Common Masonry Damage - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney


Cracks are often due to expansion and structural settlement, but can also be due to issues with the mortar. When mortar is the problem a professional may need to repair the mortar joints, repoint, or tuck-point the masonry. Preventative measures for cracking would be to hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) during construction or remodel to insure the chimney is of proper proportions and standards.


Spalling means bricks are falling from your masonry, or they are missing. This is caused when water penetrates the masonry and worsens by a process of freezing and thawing. Spalling can also be caused by structural stress. It is a hazard when bricks fall from the chimney, as a falling brick can injure a person or damage the exterior of your home. There are other kinds of masonry damage that is more cosmetic than dangerous.


The most common cause of staining is water damage. Excessive amounts of water traveling through the masonry can cause staining on the exterior of the chimney. This can be undesirable, especially if a homeowner is interested in selling. A professional can correct these stains by refacing the bricks.


Displacement is a structural problem that is caused from inadequate anchors for lateral support, freezing action, and corrosion of steel support. Displacement causes the masonry to essentially shift. This can be a costly fix, as it is a structural problem, but like spalling, displacement can be prevented by working with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) during construction. Extensive damage may call for a chimney rebuilt.

Your whole chimney system is made up largely of masonry. It’s an intricate system, dependent on a very specific science of gases and temperature. This wouldn’t work without an adequate masonry chimney. It’s important to get the most out of your chimney by keeping up with routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. Contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep for yours today.