New Chimney needed?
Last weekend I had a man come over to give me a quote for a pellet stove insert for my fireplace. Noticing the buckets in our chimney and discovering it was wet inside from rain a day or two ago, he asked if it started leaking immediately when it started to rain, or if it took some time. To this I responded that I believed it started immediately, but was unsure since we have only owned the house since December.
He said we had efflorescence on the inside. After looking outside and pointing out a few hairline cracks, more efflorescence and rotting around the soffets, he said that the bricks that we have are easily penetrated by water, that the freeze thaw cycles are causing cracks in the bricks, and that he would be pretty sure that the wood inside the chimney is rotted and that eventually the chimney will pull off of the house. I said that I though the chimney was built in the 40's or 50's and he said that would be the right time frame for this type of brick, and that they didn't make this brick anymore.
He said without fixing the problem a pellet stove would die in about a year (due to all the incoming water) and said we could try to water seal it, but he didn't think that would work, and wants to tear down and rebuild a new chimney. If I go to the basement and look under where the chimney is, the wood is all wet.
He seemed very knowledgeable, but I'm just wondering if this sounds right to anyone else? Was there a brick made in the 40's to 50's that they don't make anymore? I tried to do some online research, but didn't come up with much. Also, he has a title of "NFI Master Hearth Professional". Is this something that anyone can get?
If you can see that the bricks are crumbling, and the mortar will fall out when you scrape it with your fingernail, the useful life of the brick and that of the mortar have reached their limit. It is possible that that size brick is no longer made. The wet wood under the chimney is a result of the rain, yes? Is the wood a platform for the base of the chimney? Is there a clean out door located in the basement so you can inspect the interior of the chimney there? Can the lower protected part of the chimney support a new chimney? Some houses had exterior wall chimneys later chased in, only to hide the damage to the brick and mortar.
You can never go wrong by having more than one professional assess your project.
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