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Why Do I Have a Discoloration on My Chimney?

Your chimney is not only used for heat and comfort, but also aesthetics and beauty. Just as a chimney can save homeowner’s money in utilities and add value to the property, it can just as easily decrease the value if it’s neglected or damaged. When your chimney becomes discolored, it becomes obvious there is a problem. Oftentimes, the color can tell you what the problem is.

Stains on the Exterior

White Stains – When water passes through the masonry, it leaves behind minerals like water molecules. If you have white stains on the exterior surfaces of your masonry chimney, your chimney is being affected by water. This is especially common in ocean regions where there are a lot of salts in the air, such as in our service area.

Red Stains – Red stains are common toward the top of the masonry chimney. They are a result of a corroded and rusted chimney cap. A damaged chimney cap may allow water inside, allowing the rusty water to run down the chimney face.

Stains on the Interior

Green/Black Stains – Noticeable stains on the inside of the chimney system are often a result of water damage. Greenish/black stains are a direct result of mold and mildew. The bacteria and spores are likely present in the air and affecting the quality of the air you breathe.

Black/Brown Stains – Caused by soot and creosote, these common stains are mostly found in the firebox. A regularly cleaned and maintained fireplace will not stain. Soot stains may be an indication of a dangerous overproduction of carbon monoxide in the chimney.

Stains on the masonry are not the only kinds of stains that may indicate a dangerous hazard. If you have any type of heat appliance including gas fireplaces or electric heaters, you should be aware of the surrounding space. For instance, if the wall near your heat appliance appears discolored, the heat is affecting it. Most of the building materials that make up your home are flammable, including wood, insulation, wiring, wall coverings, and window treatments. When heat affects the area around the appliance, it still weakens the beams and materials over time, drying them and making them brittle while increasing their fire risk.

No matter what the discoloration or where it occurs, it indicates a problem. If you have noticed a change in appearance, a stain, or otherwise discolored area of the chimney’s masonry or area nearby, you should call a professional for an assessment. Hudson Chimney provides important services such as chimney inspections that can keep your family safe. Remember to schedule your inspection annually, especially if you notice a change or a problem in your system.

Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 or contact us online!

We Fix Leaky Chimneys

When it comes to chimneys, leaks are a common problem. Leaks inside the chimney as well as on the outside of the chimney are detrimental to the structure of the home and the chimney. At Hudson Chimney we make it our priority to keep your chimney functioning safely and efficiently. Many chimney sweeps might repair the damage from a leaky chimney year after year, failing to fix the problem at it’s source—the leak. At Hudson Chimney we repair the damage and fix the problem.

The Dangers of a Leaky Chimney

A leaky chimney can cause unseen damage for weeks or months before it’s noticed by a homeowner. That’s why it’s vitally important to schedule regular maintenance like chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. It’s at these appointments that a professional will get a look at your chimney.

When it’s caught early you can avoid the many damages and dangers caused by a leaky chimney.

  • Rusted and Deteriorated Parts
    Water can cause metal and cast iron parts like the damper and the liner to rust and malfunction or crack. A damaged chimney liner can raise fire risk and allow carbon monoxide and other harmful gases into your home.
  • Stained, Weakened, and Ruined Structures
    Water will ruin your walls, floors, and ceilings. A chimney leak can cause a leak in other parts of the house because the water runs to a lowest point, pools, then forms a leak. You might have a leak several feet or a couple rooms away from the chimney, but an experienced chimney sweep will check the chimney first.
  • Stained and Deteriorated Masonry
    Water damages and weakens masonry faster than anything else. It stains the exterior and interior of your chimney, the firebox, and hearth. Water stains are unsightly and point to a big problem. If your chimney has been leaking long enough to cause a stain, there is most likely already costly damage to the entire system.
  • Increased Fire Risk
    Water in the chimney affects the draft that keeps the chimney functioning properly, safely, and efficiently. When the draft is compromised, the air slows and stalls in the chimney, allowing hot gases and sparks to linger in the chimney, igniting creosote and soot that is highly flammable.
  • Shortened Chimney Life
    When water mingles with soot, it creates a highly corrosive substance that can damage masonry and chimney liner. Moisture disrupts the function of the chimney system and damages it structurally.

Trust In Us

Water causes such extensive damage, that it should be avoided at all costs. Not only can a certified chimney sweep catch a chimney leak in time to save your chimney, but he can also catch it in time to save you in catastrophic costs. Schedule your inspection and let a chimney expert diagnose and cure your leaky chimney today!

How Ivy Can Damage Your Chimney

Although the look of ivy climbing up your masonry chimney can be a beautiful sight, this climbing vine can actually damage its structure. Especially if your home was built before 1930, ivy may cause deterioration of the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Masons did not use mortar mixed with Portland cement to construct homes until after 1930, and the earlier mortar mixes are not nearly as strong and durable, according to Today’s Homeowner. Climbing vines like ivy can easily grow into any existing cracks in the bricks and mortar, and this growth can quickly worsen that damage. Our staff at Hudson Chimney knows that many people love the appearance of climbing vines growing against their chimneys, but we would like to tell you more about why ivy and other similar plants can damage your chimney.

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What kind of damage can ivy and other climbing vines do to my chimney?

Certain types of ivy such as English ivy grow very aggressively and will attach themselves into cracks and other eroded areas in the masonry materials of your chimney. Additionally, it can be challenging to even see spalling and erosion damage of the bricks and mortar when your chimney is covered by ivy. One of the biggest problems with ivy growing into your masonry chimney is that if you attempt to pull away any ivy growth to check for cracked or missing bricks, you risk the possibility of pulling down your entire chimney structure.

What can I do if I want to keep the ivy growing on my chimney?

Hudson Chimney can professionally inspect the condition of the masonry materials of your chimney to see if it can support the growth of climbing vines without suffering from further damage. Well-built masonry chimneys typically do not have problems with damage from ivy and other climbing vines. Our expert chimney technicians will know if your chimney was built with mortar containing Portland cement, and we will make any necessary repair recommendations that should be done that will allow you to keep your ivy growing against your chimney.

Does Hudson Chimney have any recommendations of better climbing vines to plant?

We do suggest that you avoid any aggressive vines such as English ivy. Virginia creeper and Boston ivy are great alternatives to consider planting. You can also keep these vines from growing directly against the chimney by installing a support made of wire, lattice, or trellis around your chimney. Non-attaching climbing vines such as roses, wisteria, clematis, and jasmine can easily grow along this type of support without any possible damage done to your chimney. Even better, you can move the support to make chimney inspections and repairs easier.

If your older chimney is covered with ivy, contact us at Hudson Chimney. We can inspect the condition of your chimney to be sure no damage has been done.

All About Chimney Crowns

Just as you would think from the name, chimney crowns sit at the very top of masonry chimneys to prevent water and animals from getting inside the chimneys. A crucial part of a masonry chimney system, your chimney crown needs to be in good condition to best protect your chimney. If your crown is suffering from hairline cracks, your chimney could be in danger of even more cracking and spalling damage. Luckily for the residents of the Jacksonville, FL area, Hudson Chimney specializes in repairing and building chimney crowns. We would like to tell you more about this important part of your masonry chimney by sharing with you some information from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) about chimney crowns.

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What exactly does a chimney crown do?

Covering the top of the chimney to seal it from the flue liner to the chimney edge, a chimney crown constructed by Hudson Chimney provides a downward slope to direct water from the flue to the edge of the crown. Without a chimney crown, the entrance to your chimney is wide open and can easily be invaded by water from rain and melted snow and animals such as birds, raccoons, and squirrels. Both water and animals will do a lot of potentially expensive damage to your masonry chimney, which is why it is so important to have a properly built chimney crown on the top of your chimney.

What kind of damage can water and animals do to my chimney?

The CSIA calls water the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys because it erodes away bricks and mortar. Hudson Chimney often sees spalling damage, which is caused when water that has penetrated masonry materials freezes within those materials, it expands. As the water thaws out, it forces the bricks and mortar to crack and break apart. If this type of damage is left untreated, the structure of your chimney is in jeopardy as it could collapse. The greatest type of damage done by animals has more to do with the nesting materials they leave behind in your chimney. Abandoned animal nests in a chimney create dangerous hazards such as fires ignited from the materials and debris and flue blockages that can cause poisonous gases like carbon monoxide to be forced back into your home.

What are the details of a properly built chimney crown?

Constructed from a Portland cement-based mixture, a proper chimney crown should be installed so that it provides an overhang projecting beyond all sides of the chimney by a minimum of two inches. Hudson Chimney additionally ensures that the flue liner tile projects above the crown also by a minimum of two inches.

Concerned about your chimney crown? Contact Hudson Chimney to inspect the condition of your crown and make recommendations for repairs or a rebuild. You can trust us to protect the inside of your chimney with a correctly constructed and installed chimney crown.

What Causes a Leaky Chimney?

Do you have a masonry chimney? If you do, you may already know that the likelihood of having a leaky chimney can be quite high. Why are masonry chimneys so likely to experience water leaks? The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) answers this question by stating that water is the biggest enemy of a masonry chimney. Every component of your chimney can possibly suffer expensive and extensive damage when water penetrates into your chimney. Stained ceilings or walls, loose bricks and chipped mortar on the exterior of your chimney, and musty or moldy odors coming from your fireplace are all signs of a leaky chimney. If you have seen any of these signs, it is crucial to contact a professional chimney company like Hudson Chimney to locate the source of the leak and make repairs so that your fireplace and chimney system can function safely and properly. But, what exactly can lead to a leaky chimney? We would like to tell you four problems that allow water to easily penetrate your chimney.

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1. DAMAGED OR MISSING CHIMNEY CAPS

Chimney caps are your least expensive preventive measures against water penetration because they cover the top of your chimney. Freezing temperatures and destructive animals trying to get into your chimney can cause cracks and other damage your chimney cap. When your chimney cap is damaged (or even worse, missing completely), water from rain and melted snow can easily get into the masonry work of the interior of your chimney. Hudson Chimney offers a wide variety of chimney caps, and our certified technicians can install a custom-fitted cap to protect your chimney from water leaks.

2. DETERIORATED CHIMNEY CROWNS

Located directly beneath the chimney cap, a chimney crown is constructed from concrete and used to seal the opening of your chimney. Unfortunately, your crown could be made from the wrong or ineffective material, or it could be improperly installed. In these situations, damage and deterioration will occur sooner than later, and you will have an opening to your chimney where water can easily enter. The masons at Hudson Chimney can repair damaged chimney crowns as well as correctly install custom-made crowns to keep the water out of your chimney.

3. DAMAGED FLASHING

Flashing is sheeting made from metal that is placed between your chimney and your roof to protect this area from water leaks. Easily improperly installed, not every chimney company will the time to customize the flashing itself for a perfect fit. Our technicians will customize flashing by carefully measuring each part of your chimney and its surrounding areas on your roof so that it fits exactly and leaves no holes or cracks, which allow water penetration of your chimney.

4. WORN OUT MORTAR JOINTS

Water deteriorates the essential mortar joints that hold your chimney together and creates holes and cracks within the masonry. In the winter, water trapped in your chimney freezes and thaws, which leads to the bricks breaking and crumbling, and this will cause even more water leak problems. Fortunately, Hudson Chimney can do masonry repairs using the tuck pointing process. Once we have completed these repairs, we can apply a waterproofing treatment that will ensure that your masonry work in your chimney is protected from any water leaks in the future.

Dealing with a leaky chimney? Contact Hudson Chimney to schedule a visit from one of our certified masons to fix your water penetration problems.

How Water Can Damage Your Chimney

If your home has a masonry fireplace, you might know that the Chimney Institute of America (CSIA) has named water as the biggest enemy of your chimney. Water penetration of your chimney is the biggest cause of expensive and extensive damage to the interior and the exterior of your home. Keeping water out of your chimney is the essential key to prevent the deterioration of the entire structure. At Hudson Chimney, our CSIA-certified technicians are well aware of the damage water can do to a masonry chimney, and we can find the leak, repair the damage, and then prevent further water penetration of your chimney. Often asked by our customers how water can be such a big problem, we would like to share three ways water leaks can do lots of damage to a masonry chimney.

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1. Water leaks can cause brick and mortar spalling, which can lead to structural damage.

The exterior bricks and mortar of your chimney suffer a great deal of water exposure, and this water will penetrate into the materials, which causes them to erode. When this trapped water freezes inside your bricks and mortar, the breaking apart, cracking, and loss of masonry materials occurs when the temperatures rise and the water thaws. The expansion of the thawed water can be too much for bricks to endure, which is why they become loose and/or break off of your chimney. This phenomenon is known as spalling, and unrepaired spalling can lead to possible severe structural damage of your chimney. Additionally, water will continue to invade your chimney through the holes provided by the spalled bricks and mortar. If you ever notice loose bricks or mortar on the exterior of your chimney, contact Hudson Chimney for a chimney inspection. We will repair the damage and waterproof your chimney to prevent spalling from occurring again.

2. Water leaks can cause cracks and other deteriorations to your chimney flue liner, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Water penetration not only affects the bricks and mortar of your chimney, but it causes damage to your interior flue liner as well. If you have a clay chimney liner, cracks will form due to water leaks, and if you have a metal chimney liner, rusting will occur from water exposure. Both of these problems can cause your liner to break apart and crack. A cracked liner can be a health hazard since your chimney liner serves to protect you and your family from the by-products of combustion, like toxic smoke and carbon monoxide, from entering your home. At Hudson Chimney, we can repair and restore clay chimney liners with HeatShield, and we can replace damaged liners with a durable stainless steel.

3. Water leaks can cause interior damage to your home, including stained walls and ceilings and mold growth.

Not only does water penetration of a masonry chimney cause many issues to the chimney itself, but a leaky chimney can also stain the ceilings and walls of the room where your fireplace is located. If you find water leak stains in your fireplace room, you should also consider the possibility of mold growth in the ceilings, walls, fireplace, and chimney. Contact Hudson Chimney as soon as possible if you ever see this sort of water penetration damage.

If you have more questions on what types of damage water penetration can do to a masonry chimney, contact Hudson Chimney today. We are happy to help you repair and prevent this kind of damage to your fireplace and chimney.

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