Chimneys can be a wonderful element of your home, especially if they are in use. They are complex systems, however, and it is important to have any chimney repairs completed as soon as possible in order for your chimney to keep working as it should. Here at CheckaRoof, we offer high-quality chimney repair services that will ensure your chimney is kept in its best condition for longer.
Many people think of chimneys as just being a hole through their roof with a chimney stack on top. In fact, chimneys are a lot more complicated than that. They are precisely designed to be able to move smoke from the fire through your roof while preventing anything from getting in and any chances of your home getting damaged from the smoke.
Here's a quick overview of the complex anatomy of your chimney, starting with inside your home.
Built of non-combustible firebrick and refractory mortars. This is where the fire is made. You will also find a hearth extension in front of the opening made of thick stone or brickwork and a metal firewood grate for holding the logs and improving airflow.
This is a valve that is used to seal the chimney flue off when it is not in use. It is located just above the firebox.
This is shaped like a pyramid, with the bottom being the width of the fireplace and narrowing to the width of the chimney flue at the top. It helps to direct and channel the some into the flue.
This is located at the point where the smoke chamber meets the firebox. It helps to collect rainwater and small debris to prevent them from entering the firebox. It also supports the smoke chamber in channelling the smoke into the flue and prevents downdrafts.
This is the core of the chimney. It is the narrow tube that runs from the firebox and out through the roof. It has a liner made of clay, metal, or masonry materials and it helps to keep smoke and toxic fumes within the flue itself so that they can be moved far away from your home.
There may be flue offsets that are used when the flue needs to change direction and, if your home has more than one flue, these will be separated by a wythe (an internal section of masonry wall).
Also known as the chimney stack, this is the part of the chimney that you will be able to see from the outside of your house. It is what houses the chimney flue once it leaves your roof. This is often made from bricks and mortar, but you will sometimes see it surrounded by a metal cover.
This is the roof of the chimney chase. It covers the entire structure, except for the opening of the flue.
A chimney cap is a metal covering for the flue itself. It lets the smoke escape but it helps to keep water and debris out of the flue, protect the chimney from wind, and it can also help to prevent birds from building nests on the chimney.
A chimney pot serves a similar purpose but is usually decorative and made of clay instead of metal. Chimney pots don't conduct lightning in the same way that chimney caps do, so they are sometimes seen as a safer option. A chimney pot is held in place by chimney flaunching, which is a bed of mortar on top of the chimney stack.
These are long sheets of metal (lead flashing) that are placed where the chimney meets other structures, such as the roof. It prevents rain from getting in through these joints which can stop water leakage into your home. If the chimney is at an angle, it will have gutters built into the flashing (leadwork). These gutters help to direct water away from the chimney.
Chimney repairs should always be carried out by a professional roofer with extensive roofing experience. This is not a job that you can do yourself. It is a good idea to have roofing services come in fairly regularly to check for any signs of damage and to provide maintenance to your chimney. With that being said, there are some common signs that you can look out for yourself that your chimney may need repair experts to come and take a look.
This can be the first sign that moisture is leaking through your chimney and often appears like brown staining. This indicates that an element in your chimney structure, either in the flue or the chimney itself, has been damaged.
You should get roofing experts to repair this damage quickly because the longer the moisture is left to enter the house, the more problems will need to be fixed.
Damaged bricks or mortar in your chimney stack is a clear sign that it needs repairs or repointing. You might even have noticed that the brickwork is starting to crumble or that the mortar joints are deteriorating.
It is important for roofing experts to repair cracks in the mortar or brick as quickly as possible because they are a problem that will get worse over time. When it rains, water will get into the cracks. The freezing/thawing process of this water will cause the cracks to widen, which could eventually lead to your chimney stack collapsing.
There is no repairing a chimney stack that has completely collapsed. This will need to be replaced by a roofing expert. Collapsing chimney stacks commonly lead to damage to the roof tiles, so these would also need to be replaced.
It is actually relatively common to see a leaning chimney stack on older buildings, but that doesn't mean that this is a problem that should be ignored. These are clear signs that the old mortar joints are damaged and need repointing, which could eventually cause the chimney stack to collapse.
When your chimney is working as it should, you should experience no draught at all. If you do start to experience one, this can mean that the chimney pot or cap is either missing or damaged.
Chimney pots and caps are an easy chimney repair for a roofing expert but if it isn't done quickly, then it can lead to further damage due to letting in water or debris.
Chimney spalling is when you see bits of masonry around the bottom of the chimney stack. This is usually an indication that the masonry has either deteriorated or wasn't installed correctly and needs repointing or be replaced by a professional roofer.
Chimney shaling is similar to spalling but in this case, you will notice thin slices of chimney tiles in your fireplace and it is an indication that there is damage to the flue.
Your fireplace shouldn't rust because it should be protected from moisture by the various elements of the chimney, including the chimney flaunching, lead flashing, chimney cap/pot, crown, etc. So this is an indication that there is damage that is allowing rain and moisture to enter and you should bring someone experienced with chimney repair to assess what the problem is and fix it.
Chimney repair costs will, of course, vary depending on the extent of the problem and which part of the chimney needs to be repaired. It will also be impacted by whether you need to hire scaffolding, if you will need any additional roof repairs, and if the job involves flat roofs or pitched.
Average cost of chimney repointing - £500-£1000
Average cost of chimney flashing replacement - £400-£500
Average cost to replace the flue - £800-£1200
Cost to replace chimney pot and chimney flaunching - £100
Cost for chimney lining replacement - £200-£900
Installing a new chimney - £1900-£3500
The cost of scaffolding will inflate all the prices on these jobs. Scaffolding is necessary to protect the team of roofers that are working on your roof and scaffolding will cost £300-£400. Any other services to repair other damage such as water damage or damaged brickwork/ tiles will also lead to a higher cost.
Proper maintenance of your chimney can help to reduce the cost of chimney repairs. You can save money by ensuring that your chimneys are inspected and swept regularly. Maintenance is almost always better than repair and catching any potential problems early during an inspection can mean that the cost of repairs will be lower and the job will be less hassle than if they were left to cause damage for longer.
Get in touch with us today for chimney repair services. We can help to identify any repairs that need to be made, and anything that needs to be replaced, so that no further damage is done to your chimney or roofing. We are an experienced and professional team with many years of roofing experience, so we will be able to help keep your chimney in top condition for longer.