Superior Chimney Services, Inc.

What Makes “Chimney Potholes”?

The freeze thaw cycle is an unfortunate way your chimney experiences damage in the fall, winter and spring months. Have you ever noticed the road during springtime? Even without salt, the very porous asphalt/concrete is freezing and thawing. This process causes annoying potholes & cracks. The same goes for chimneys! The material that holds masonry together is very porous and becomes easily damaged throughout the yearly freeze thaw cycles. However, this year in Chicagoland was rather different. We experienced the freeze thaw cycle a lot earlier, and it continued for much longer than average. The weather was very cold in the early winter months, with some ice. Then, in January and February, we experienced much warmer weather. According to weather forecasters, we will be getting extremely warm weather, followed by freezing temperatures. So, what does this mean for our chimney structures? Will they be collapsing by the time summer rolls around?

What is the Freeze Thaw Cycle?

The freeze thaw cycle occurs when water seeps into the masonry of your chimney and freezes and thaws repeatedly. The cycle is what causes spalling. This process can weaken the structure of the chimney over time, leading to cracks, spalling compromise, and other damage. As water freezes, it expands, putting pressure on the masonry. When the ice melts, it leaves behind gaps and cracks that can allow more water to seep in, creating even more damage. If you notice any pieces of brick or mortar falling off of your chimney’s structure, it’s probably a sign of spalling damage. If damage is left unrepaired for a long period of time, your chimney can collapse. In many big cities like Chicago, with old buildings that are often not taken care of, you can see crumbling chimneys from miles away! Have you seen one?

How Does This Cycle Affect My Chimney?

Understanding the chimney freeze-thaw cycle is important for chimney maintenance and safety. Ignoring the effects of this cycle can lead to costly repairs and potentially dangerous situations. Cracks and damage to the chimney can result in structural instability, leaks, carbon monoxide and even chimney fires.

Protecting Your Chimney from the Freeze Thaw Cycle

The first thing you need is a chimney professional to check the current state of your chimney. A Superior Chimney professional can find any damage with the interior or exterior and repair it. With the help of a waterproof applicant such as ChimneySaver, you can protect your chimney from the freeze thaw cycle. ChimneySaver creates a permeable barrier between the weather/water and the porous mortar. The vapors inside the chimney can still escape, preventing harmful condensation. Plus, water from the outside cannot get inside, which is the beginning of the damaging freeze thaw cycle.

Contacting A Chimney Professional

If you suspect your chimney has experienced or is experiencing damage from the yearly freeze thaw cycle, contact Superior Chimney today at 877-244-6349, and ask for a chimney inspection! We will be happy to help with all your chimney needs.

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