Have you seen that your chimney seems to be leaning to one side? According to the structural repair experts HydroHelp911, if you look closely and see a leaning vent or a gap between the chimney and your house’s siding, it’s a clear indication that your eyes are not playing tricks on you: your chimney is tilting. If your vent runs through the house’s interior rather than along the exterior, you may need to climb into the loft to get a better look. In that case, you’ll know it’s leaning if it’s not centered in its frame and instead presses on one side or the other.
If it runs along the exterior or interior of your home, a tilting or leaning chimney can exert a severe health and safety risk. Masonry chimneys are extremely heavy, weighing tens of thousands of pounds. Most of this weight is centered on a single point: the footing. If the problem of leaning chimney is not resolved, it may collapse, crushing someone beneath it or destroying your roof and making it necessary for a leaning chimney repair solution. Water and bugs would be able to get into the gaps between the chimney and your home and in the perfect scenario. The shifting chimney may also cause a crack in the flue liner, exposing your home to toxic gasses emitted by the fireplace, such as carbon monoxide, and increasing the risk of a house fire. Get in touch with HydroHelp911 for leaning chimney repair solutions to save your house from structural issues.
Reasons a Chimney Repair would be Necessary
A chimney tilt can be caused by two types of issues: structural and foundational.
If the top of the chimney is leaning over your house and appears to be about to fall through your roof, the cause is most likely a structural problem. Water damage that has damaged the mortar joints and bricks is a common cause of structural issues. The best solution is to have the leaning chimney repaired by a mason or chimney professional. To reinstate the integrity of your chimney, the leaning chimney repair experts at HydroHelp911 will be able to reinforce the current frame and replace the failing bricks and mortar.
The concrete footing, or the chimney pad, at the base of the chimney, supports the entire weight of the structure. The whole chimney may be less stable if the footing fails.
Most Common Foundation Issues
FOOTING HAS DETERIORATED
If moisture permeates the footing and it ends up going through a cycle of freezing and thawing, it will deteriorate over time. It may also crack if the concrete is of poor quality or lacks rebar reinforcement.
The chimney footing may occasionally be too thin or not buried deep enough, causing it to crack/crumble beneath the substantial weight of the piled brick and mortar.
Footings made of inferior materials are more prone to failure. A fractured footing is a common cause of chimney tilting.
In general, the footing should be at least one foot thick and enlarged six inches beyond the ground.
FOOTING IS THE WRONG SIZE
A chimney footing must stretch out at least 6 inches on all sides and be 1 foot thick. The chimney will begin to lean over time if it is too small.
If the chimney was installed or built without a footing, it would be unstable and require a foundation to be poured beneath it.
If the problem is structural, the chimney must be supported, and the footing must be repaired or poured by a leaning chimney repair professional.
Expanding soil (soil that changes due to water content) can cause the footing of a chimney to plunge and pull away from the house. Furthermore, soil displacement and erosion are frequently to blame.
INADEQUATE WATER DRAINAGE
Precipitation will not drain properly if the grade does not angle down and away from the structure (and there are no rain gutters).
The weight of the water-soaked dirt pressing against the footing could cause the chimney to crack.
If you have a leaning chimney, you should have a knowledgeable foundation and leaning chimney repair expert inspect your entire home’s exterior and look for other indications of foundation failure, such as cracks in the brickwork and gaps among doors and windows. We have professionals who will come to your home and provide you with a free inspection as well as the leaning chimney and foundation repair solutions you require.
We will investigate the interior of your home after we have inspected the exterior to see if there are any signs of a foundation problem like:
- Cracks in the drywall.
- Floors that are slanted or uneven.
- The baseboard trim is separating from the floor.
- Walls that are bowing or leaning.
Watch our video to learn more: NOT ALL Crawl Space Encapsulations Are The Same! This Is A Waste of Money!
Leaning or Tilting Chimney Repair Solutions by HydroHelp911
Our expert contractors use helical piers to straighten and stabilize a leaning chimney. Hydraulic equipment is used to install these helical piers, which resemble giant screws. Helical piers are driven deep into the soil beneath the chimney until they attain load-bearing soil. The brackets are installed on the piers and beneath the chimney footings. Once the chimney is in place, hydraulic jacks slowly raise it back to its original position. After this, the bracket is then secured to the pier, and the jacks are removed. This leaning chimney repair method is far less expensive than tearing out and replacing your chimney.
If we discover that you require additional foundation repair, we will lift and stabilize your foundation with steel push piers by HydroHelp911. These piers are also driven deep into the soil, through unstable soil layers, until they attain solid soil. The entire structure’s weight is then transmitted to the piers to live and stabilize the system. These steel push piers will help keep the foundation stable for many years.
HOW CAN I KNOW IF MY CHIMNEY IS TILTED?
Examine the seam between the house siding and the exterior chimney. If a gap has formed, it’s a sure sign that the chimney has begun to lean. Former owners may have filled that void with mortar, caulk, or foam insulation, but these metrics only serve to conceal the issue. Metal straps that have been used to secure the chimney may also be visible.
Look in the crawl space to see if your chimney is centered in its framed opening if it runs through the interior of the house. It is leaning if pressing against the door to one side or the other.
Another sign that a chimney has settled is leaks caused by dislodged flashing. You can also use a long level to see if the chimney is plumb. Alternatively, check the status of the horizontal mortar joints.
Also, keep in mind that some chimneys are curated to “tilt.” For example, if the fireplace is not centered, the builder may have offset the brick courses so that the vent exits at the roof crest, providing the house a more symmetrical appearance. In some cases, the offset is slight and appears to be tilting, but as long as the horizontal mortar joints are level, you can be confident that the chimney was constructed in this manner.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF TILTING OR LEANING CHIMNEYS?
Look for various signs and symptoms when defining if your chimney is leaning or struggling from structural complications.
- Titling or leaning chimney: The chimney is tilting, pulling away from the house at an odd angle, creating a gap between your home and the brick, allowing rain, rodents, and mold easy access.
- Chimney leaks: When it rains, the chimney leaks, wet spots appear on the walls directly adjacent to the chimney, and a white ash stain appears on the exterior brick where ash is leaking through rather than going up and out.
- Smoke remains indoors: When a fire is lit, smoke remains indoors due to inadequate insulation, with the wind pushing the smoke back into the house.
- The bricks/mortar decay and crumble: Bricks and mortar deteriorate and crumble, causing fallout around the exterior chimney’s base and further loosening the bricks.
- There is caulking in the gap: There is caulking in the gap between the leaning chimney and the house, indicating a previous owner’s do it yourself fix.
- The chimney has backed away from the crooked flashing
HOW ARE HELICAL PIERS USED AS A LEANING CHIMNEY REPAIR SOLUTION?
A helical pier system is recommended by HydroHelp911 for stabilizing a tilting chimney. The helical blade on these foundation piers allows them to be driven deep into the ground to more vigorous supporting soils.
After being driven into the ground, a bracket is attached to the helical pier and mounted on the foundation footing of your chimney. The helical pier, once installed, can even be used to attempt to return your chimney to its original position.