Our Company Blog

What We Look For in a Chimney Inspection

Many national fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that homeowners have their chimneys professionally inspected. The most important reason for this recommendation has to do with your safety. For over 15 years, Aelite Chimney Specialties has provided professional chimney inspection services to residents in the Chicago area. We follow the guidelines set by the NFPA in their three levels of chimney inspections when performing this service. You can trust us to look for anything that could cause your chimney to be unsafe. We would like to tell you more about some of the things we check for in a chimney inspection.

Water DamageChimney Inspection Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney

Masonry chimneys are tough and durable, but they can suffer extensive and expensive damage from water penetration. One example of water damage that we look for in a chimney inspection is deteriorating or missing bricks and mortar joints. Cracks and gaps in the masonry work of a chimney allow even more water to get into the chimney, and if neglected, the entire structure of your chimney could be in serious jeopardy.

Carbon Monoxide Risks

During a chimney inspection, our CSIA-certified chimney technicians will carefully check to be sure there is nothing present in your chimney that could possibly lead to the toxic gas, carbon monoxide, leaking into your home. We will look to see that nothing is blocking the flue that could force carbon monoxide back into your living spaces. We will also take a close look at the chimney liner to see if there are any cracks, gaps, or other damage that could allow this poisonous gas to get into your home.

Chimney Fire Risks

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, your chimney most likely has creosote deposits stuck to the inner walls. Creosote develops naturally during the combustion process of burning wood, and it is so flammable that the CSIA has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. During our inspection process, we will look for any excessive creosote buildup that could cause your chimney to have a dangerous fire hazard present. We will also look for signs of any chimney fires that may have previously occurred.

If we do find any type of damage during our chimney inspection, we will provide you with photos of the damage and a written estimate of the necessary repairs to make your chimney safe again. Beat the fall rush, and contact us today at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for our professional chimney inspection services.

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Different Types of Chimney Repairs

Your chimney and venting system is made up of several components that work together to allow the system to function efficiently and safely. A regular chimney maintenance schedule can help it to last for years. However, even the best-maintained chimneys can have problems from time to time. Since the exterior of your chimney is constantly exposed to the elements, the bricks and mortar joints can absorb a lot of water. This can lead to masonry damage as well as to the deterioration of other components, including the chimney cap and the chimney liner. Repairing these issues in a timely manner is key to avoiding further extensive and expensive damage.

Different Types of Chimney Repairs img - Chicago IL - Aelite ChimneyNo matter which type of chimney repair you may need, Aelite Chimney Specialties is here to help. We have been providing professional chimney repair services for over 15 years to the residents of the Chicago area. We would like to tell you more about the different types of chimney repairs we can handle.

Chimney Relining

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a chimney liner is very important because it protects the combustible parts of your home from heat transfer, keeps the masonry materials safe from the corrosive combustion gases, and provides a properly sized flue for good chimney drafting. Over time, chimney liners can become cracked and chipped, and this damage leaves behind gaps and voids that may lead to hazards like carbon monoxide leaks and chimney fires. Aelite Chimney Specialties is proud to provide chimney relining services with Ventinox lining systems. These durable stainless steel liners can work with all fuel types and come with a lifetime guarantee.

Repairing Chimney Leaks

The CSIA has named water as the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys. This is because of the amount of damage it can do. A small chimney leak can turn into a much bigger problem if it is neglected. The chimney technicians at Aelite Chimney Specialties are experts on leaky chimneys. We have years of experience that allow us to find the source of the leak. In addition, we will make the necessary repairs to stop it.

We can then replace any bricks and mortar joints that have been damaged by the water leak with our chimney masonry repair services. One of our services being tuckpointing. We will then make sure your chimney is protected from future leaks by checking the condition of your chimney cap and flashing. For the ultimate protection against water penetration, we provide professional chimney waterproofing services. You can trust us to solve and repair your leaky chimney.

Aelite Chimney Specialties can handle any chimney problem you may be experiencing.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for our professional chimney repair services.

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The Dangers of Damaged or Missing Flashing

When Aelite Chimney Specialties is diagnosing water leaks, we look at the area where the chimney meets the roof. Since this area is one of the most vulnerable spots for water leaks, it should be protected by a flashing system. However, we often find chimneys that do not have any flashing installed. We also see many chimneys with damaged flashing systems, and these chimneys have suffered from water penetration damage that could have been easily prevented by a customized and well-built flashing system. This water leak preventive chimney component works well to keep water out of your chimney and home.

What is chimney flashing?

The Dangers of Damaged or Missing Flashing img - Chicago IL - Aelite ChimneyA flashing system consists of metal sheets that are wrapped around the chimney at the point where it meets the roof. Its purpose is to keep water from accumulating in this area and possibly leaking into the chimney. Flashing should be built so that water will run off away from the chimney.

How should flashing be installed?

One of the biggest sources of chimney water leaks is improperly constructed flashing. For flashing to work correctly, it is essential, according to This Old House, that there are two layers of metal sheeting used. The first layer, step flashing, consists of L-shaped sheets of metal that are embedded into the roof’s shingles and then lapped up the side of the chimney. Counterflashing is the second layer of metal sheets. It is cemented into the mortar of the chimney and folded over the top of the step flashing. Many times, the corners have not been properly finished. It is very important to adequately caulk any gaps in each corner of metal sheeting layers. If the corners have not been properly sealed with caulk, water from rain, ice, and snow can get into gaps.

How does flashing get damaged?

Strong storms can cause metal sheets to bend away and break loose from flashing systems. Wild animals like raccoons can also pry open loose flashing when trying to get into a chimney to nest. Poor construction can also lead to damaged flashing. You can trust Aelite Chimney Specialties to be sure your flashing system is built properly.

Has your flashing system been damaged over the years? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about our customized flashing construction and repair services that we provide to residents in the Chicago area.

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All About Tuckpointing

You may have heard that masonry chimneys are built to last a lifetime; however, over the years, the constant exposure to the elements of weather can cause damage and deterioration. Having damaged chimney masonry repaired promptly is crucial to keep your chimney’s structure safe and sound. Once a brick or mortar joint is cracked, the deterioration can worsen quickly. This is especially true over a long and cold winter season.

All About Tuckpointing img - Chicago IL - Aelite ChimneyIf you have noticed cracked, loose, or missing bricks and mortar joints on the exterior of your chimney, Aelite Chimney Specialties can help to restore the soundness of your chimney with our professional masonry chimney repair services, including techniques like tuckpointing.

What exactly is tuckpointing?

This masonry technique is used to remove damaged mortar joints and to tuck in new mortar with specialized pointed tools. It is also known as pointing and repointing. According to The Balance, this labor-intensive project should always be done by certified and experienced professional masonry technicians.

Why is tuckpointing so labor-intensive?

Before Aelite Chimney Specialties can begin the actual tuckpointing work, we must first properly assess the situation of your chimney. We need to see exactly how many of the mortar joints need to be replaced. The next step is this process is analyzing the existing mortar joints to be able to custom mix new mortar that is as close as possible to the color and consistency of the existing mortar. We take pride in our ability to make chimney masonry repairs that are indistinguishable from the existing structure. We always use a durable Portland cement-based mortar mix that will keep your chimney safe and sound for years to come.

How can I best prevent future chimney masonry damage?

After our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney technicians make all of the necessary tuckpointing repairs. We can help you protect your chimney with several preventive services. The most important thing to remember is how damaging water is to the bricks and mortar joints of your chimney. We offer chimney cap sales and professional installation services, and we also provide customized flashing construction and repair services. Both of these chimney components work to keep water from rain, ice, and snow from getting into your chimney’s opening on the roof of your home. We also recommend having your chimney professionally waterproofed to create a barrier against water penetration of your entire chimney. We only use waterproofing formulas that are 100 percent vapor permeable. This helps prevent erosion damage for up to a decade.

Keep the structure of your chimney safe and sound. Contact  us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for our tuckpointing services, along with our other professional chimney repair and maintenance work.

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Chimney Crown Deterioration

If you have a masonry chimney, you most likely have a chimney crown at the very top. This essential chimney component covers the opening of the chimney to keep water from entering your home. Because the chimney crown is directly exposed to the elements, it can suffer from erosion damage and deteriorate. When your chimney crown is cracked and damaged, it cannot properly do its job.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water can do a lot of expensive damage to a masonry chimney and a home. You should be sure your chimney crown is in good condition. Aelite Chimney Specialties provides chimney crown repair and construction services to residents in the Chicago area. We would like to tell you a bit more about what we do to protect your chimney and home from water penetration.

How does a chimney crown work?Chimney Crown Deterioration Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialists

Sealing off the chimney from the flue liner to the chimney’s edge, the crown should be built with a downward slope so that water will be directed away from the flue. That makes the water run off the edge of the chimney. There should also be an overhanging drip edge that will help to prevent erosion damage to the bricks and mortar of the chimney.

Common Mistakes

What is a common mistake made when constructing chimney crowns?

Over our years of working on chimneys, Aelite Chimney Specialties has seen some poorly built chimney crowns. The most common mistake we have seen is a crown with an inadequate drip edge. When we construct chimney crowns, we always make sure each crown has the required two-inch overhang that projects beyond each side of the chimney. We also ensure that the flue liner tile also projects at least two inches above the crown.

We Can Help

What kind of mortar does Aelite Chimney Specialties use when constructing chimney crowns?

You can trust us to always use a Portland cement-based mixture when we build and repair chimney crowns. Another mistake we often see is chimney crowns made from a mortar mix that is not as durable as a Portland cement-based mixture. The Portland cement mixture can withstand years of exposure to water without chipping, cracking, or deteriorating.

If you cannot remember the last time your chimney crown has been checked out, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We can make you an appointment for a chimney inspection. We can repair any cracks your crown may have, and if your crown is beyond repairing, we can construct and install a new one to protect your chimney from water penetration.

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