Having a basic knowledge of your home and the way it functions is beneficial for a homeowner. And while you don’t have to become an expert in construction, observing areas that are falling into disrepair will help you to know when to call in a professional. With this thought in mind, we are going to talk about the chimney and what signs you can look out for that show it is in need of repair.
The first thing to think about when determining if your chimney needs repairing is whether anything has happened that would cause damage. For example, has something fallen on it such as a tree limb or scaffolding? Have you experienced any natural disasters like a tornado or a bad storm? Even a small earth tremor can do some damage. The weather is another factor that, over time, can begin to cause erosion to materials like mortar and brick.
It is also important to perform a visual check of the chimney to determine its condition. One simple way to do this is to stand a short distance from your home so that you can see the chimney from ground to roof. Does the chimney look like it might be starting to separate from the rest of the building? Does it seem to be leaning or listing at all? Next, have a look at the chimney’s footings, are there any signs of deterioration? Do a quick test of the mortar by using a screwdriver to scrape some of it, if you notice it crumbling away easily, this is a sign that maintenance is needed.
As you can see the majority of homeowners can perform a few simple checks to see if areas of their chimneys need repair work. It's important to note, however, that while these checks are good at determining the condition of outer areas of the chimney, there are other areas that will need professional attention.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector