Summer is perfect for taking care of necessary home maintenance tasks, which is why you might start evaluating every corner of your home for damage. Although many people don't realize it, your fireplace can age and become unsafe over time, which is why you may need professional masonry repair. Here are three things to look for that indicate the need for fireplace repair.
1. Deteriorating Mortar
Over extreme heat can deteriorate the mortar that holds together bricks, which can cause the chimney to start to fail. As the mortar starts to deteriorate, it can cause bricks to start to push closer together or become knocked loose entirely, which can disrupt the stability of the entire structure.
When you inspect your fireplace, look for any signs that the mortar has started to recede, or pull back from the surface of the brick. If you notice loose bricks, do not remove them. Instead, refer to a masonry repair professional. To repair the area, they can use tuckpointing to clean out bad mortar and replace it with fresh paste, strengthening the bricks.
2. Discoloration Staining
This can be a sign that water has started to infiltrate the bricks that line your chimney. Oftentimes, this occurs because of wind, hail, or falling tree branch damage that causes cracks in the mortar designed to hold the bricks of your chimney together. When water can seep through the space, it can cause discoloration or rust spots, while also leading to freezing and water expansion that can damage the bricks more.
Inspect your fireplace for any signs of permanent discoloration. If the bricks around your fireplace have been painted, use a flashlight when the fireplace is off and cool to look for discoloration on the interior of your fireplace box. If you spot discoloration, stop using your fireplace until you have the entire area checked, repaired, and cleared by a masonry professional.
3. Debris Flaking Into Fireplace
If water has started to damage your fireplace, it could allow bricks to break apart and fall into the interior of your firebox. To spot this problem, clean the inside of your firebox and go through the ashes. While you may notice wood and other ashes, spalled bricks should remain as whole fragments that are easy to spot.
Remember, just because your fireplace is damaged doesn't mean it can't become as good as new with the help of masonry repair professionals. By contacting experts with experience in chimney repairs, you can protect your fireplace structure and the safety of your indoor air. For help, contact a company like A-1 Rooftop Chimney Sweep.