Repair a stone chimney is similar to repairing a brick and mortar chimney. Stone chimneys are made of large stones that are held together by mortar. It’s easy to think that stone chimneys do not deteriorate as quickly as brick and mortar chimneys due to the less porous nature of stones. Though the stones are typically denser, the mortar between the stones is the concern. So, what’s the difference between repair a stone chimney and repairing brick and mortar chimneys? Do stone chimneys require less maintenance?
Water and Mortar Don’t Mix
Both stone and brick chimneys share the same structure. All chimney types should have a chimney cap, chimney crown, flashing, etc. Keeping up with the maintenance of the structure will keep your home and chimney safe from water deterioration, toxic buildup, nesting animals, etc.
Mortar is the porous material that holds the chimney stones or bricks together. Humidity, fluctuating hot and cold weather, and strong storms cause the mortar to quickly deteriorate. These weather conditions are typical in Chicagoland all year round. Water sits inside the natural grooves of the mortar, making these grooves bigger as time passes. High wind from storms erode the mortar cutting pieces away. The disintegration of the mortar then causes the brick or stone to collapse, causing serious damage to your chimney. In less severe cases, your chimney would need to be repointed. In the most severe case, where your chimney has degraded mortar, it would need to be rebuilt.
If the stones of your chimney look as if they are 3D, popping out more than they should, then it may be a sign the mortar in between the stones have mostly deteriorated. There may be cracks in the stones, or even a green-ish moss like color overlaying the stone which is caused by weather, age and water decay. This is different than a brick and mortar chimney as you should look for cracks and a white color caused by salt deposits on the brick, a sure sign of water damage. Both a stone and brick chimneys require the chimney mason to scrape out the mortar and replace it with new mortar.
Stone Chimneys Are Less Maintenance
Natural stones make for not only a beautiful look, but they are useful to prevent deterioration. Stones like marble and granite absorb heat and are scratch resistant. Because of this, stone chimneys last longer than brick chimneys. After a rough winter or wet summer, a stone chimney may only need a replacement of mortar.
A Damaged Stone Chimney: What to do?
If you suspect that your stone or brick chimney has experienced any of the damage listed above, it’s best to call a certified chimney professional. Although there are many Youtube DIY videos on replacing mortar on the internet, it’s not recommended to attempt to replace the mortar yourself. Your chimney may have further damage that you don’t know of, and a certified professional can identify. It’s best to call Superior Chimney to make an appointment for a chimney inspection at 877-244-6349. Follow us on Facebook for extra advice on maintaining your chimney.