Do-it-yourself Chimney Repair Instructions

Shashank Nakate Nov 23, 2018
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The common activities for keeping a chimney in the right condition are waterproofing, cleaning, and crown restoration. Its maintenance needs to be looked into at least once a year so that hazardous fireplace conditions are avoided.
Just like any other maintenance activity in the house, smokestack or chimney repair is also important. The problems that might arise from unkempt fireplaces push it to the top of the list of priorities.
There are reports of many casualties resulting from fires caused due to the lack of maintenance of smokestacks. Here are some do-it-yourself chimney repair instructions to avoid these adverse conditions.

Do-It-Yourself Instructions

Most of these activities aim at solving leakage problems by cleaning and filling cracks. The cap of the chimney is vulnerable to cracks due to mortar shrinkage. Since lime-based mortar is prone to the process of decaying, masonry caulking compound should be used for the purpose of sealing these cracks.

Fixing Leakages

The leakage problem might arise due to poor sealing, or if the roofing is not done properly. First, one needs to examine the base, sides, and the back of the stack for any leakage. One should check the bricks for chimney flashings.
These are metal pieces that blend with the building material during construction. They cause the mortar to expand, and this leads to the formation of cracks. A suitable caulking material has to be used to fill the cracks.

Cleaning the Chimney

This activity not only helps improve efficiency, but also maintains safety of the fireplace. Cleaning, if carried out regularly, helps reduce the chances of a fire. Over a period of time, substances like soot and creosote get accumulated causing emissions of smoke from the openings. Creosote being a flammable material, might result in a fire.
Before one starts cleaning, safety precautions should be taken. The fireplace door, furniture, and other materials near the work area should be properly covered. A vacuum cleaner should be used to keep the dust out while cleaning.
The brush used for cleaning needs to be attached to flexible rods and lowered from the top. Enough rods should be attached so that the brush reaches the bottom of the flue, and cleaning is done thoroughly.
The brush is worked up and down, in order to get rid of the accumulation of soot. A flashlight proves useful in this situation. Lock-Fast and ProFlex are two types of rods employed for cleaning chimneys with tight bends.

Repairing the Crown

The crown is an important part of the chimney, since it protects the joints, bricks, mortar, and the fireplace. To mend the crown, first mix a bag of masonry cement with half a bag of pea gravel in a wheelbarrow with the help of a hoe. Add waterto create the proper consistency.
Just before the mixture reaches the exact consistency, a cup of bonding agent has to be added to the mixture. Before the mixture is prepared, the concrete should be broken apart with the help of a hammer and chisel.
A drop cloth should first be laid on the roof before beginning this process so as to protect it. The mixture prepared for the construction of the crown has to be spread around the flue. A trowel can be used to release bubbles from the cement by chopping it.
Chimney repair is, thus, an important maintenance activity. Following the given instructions will help keep the fireplaces safe and in a good condition.