Our Company Blog

Try Masonry Tuckpointing This Spring

Winter weather can be brutally tough on masonry chimneys, especially here in the Chicago area. The bricks and mortar joints naturally absorb water, and when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, any water that is trapped inside your bricks and mortar joints will freeze and expand. As the weather warms up, this water will thaw out and cause your bricks and mortar joints to crack, break apart, and even become loose. Repeated freezing cycles can cause quite a bit of damage to masonry chimneys, and to best repair this damage, Aelite Chimney Specialties recommends masonry tuckpointing from our experienced masons. If you neglect to have this type of damage repaired, it can cause more problems as water from rain can easily get into your chimney through the gaps and cracks in the masonry structure. The last thing you want to deal with this spring and summer is a water leak in your chimney. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water is the greatest enemy of a masonry chimney, which is why you need masonry tuckpointing to prevent further damage. We would like to tell you more about tuckpointing and how it can repair the damages of winter’s wrath. Try Masonry Tuckpointing This Spring - Chicago  IL- Aelite Chimney Specialties LLC-w800-h800

What exactly is masonry tuckpointing?

Known as the age-old art that makes the bricks and mortar look neat and tidy, masonry tuckpointing can repair crumbling and cracked bricks and mortar. This technique gets its name from masons using pointed tools to tuck mortar in between bricks. Aelite Chimney Specialties uses tuckpointing to transform the look of older chimneys and to improve the look of a poorly-designed chimney.

What can I expect from Aelite Chimney Specialties’ masonry tuckpointing services?

One of our CSIA-certified chimney technicians will first inspect the condition of your chimney and will be looking for damaged bricks, cracked mortar, and gaps between the bricks. Then, he or she will remove any damaged mortar to replace it with new mortar that has been customized to match the strength, color, and composition of the existing mortar. Our masonry technician will use tuckpointing tools to tuck the new mortar into any gaps between bricks. We will then finish the job by using tools to match the look of the original brick. You will never have to worry about our tuckpointing work looking like a patch-up job because we take great care to do this technique with a lot of thought. We recommend waterproofing your chimney after the tuckpointing work has been completed, and we offer this service with a 100% vapor permeable formula that will create a barrier against water penetration of your chimney.

What are the benefits of masonry tuckpointing?

One of the best things about tuckpointing is the durability it adds to a restored chimney. This masonry technique is also the best way to keep water from being absorbed in between the bricks, and this prolongs the life of your masonry chimney. You can trust our chimney technicians because they have the experience, tools, and attention to detail with masonry tuckpointing.

Have you noticed cracked or loose bricks on your chimney this spring? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule a chimney inspection today.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Try Masonry Tuckpointing This Spring

Add Your Annual Chimney Sweep to Your Spring Cleaning Routine

Here in the Chicago area, we have been seeing and hearing the first signs of spring: the birds chirping, the flowers blooming, the sun shining. To many people, spring is the season for cleaning and maintaining your home. The new signs of rebirth that come with spring make many of us want to ensure our homes are clean with properly working systems. One of these systems involves your chimney, and it makes sense to include the cleaning of your fireplace and chimney along with your other spring cleaning tasks. And, since professional chimney sweeps like our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties will be the ones who actually clean your chimney, the only thing you as the homeowner has to do is schedule the time for us to sweep your chimney. The CSIA, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and other national fire safety organizations all recommend that you have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year, and we would like to tell you more about why this chimney maintenance service is recommended and what you can inspect from a visit from the sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties. Annual Spring Chimney Cleaning Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties

Why do I need my chimney professionally swept and inspected every year?

As the CSIA clearly states, dirty chimneys cause chimney fires. Creosote, a natural residue that forms during the combustion process of burning wood, is extremely flammable. After a long winter of using your fireplace every day, the amount of creosote accumulation inside your chimney can be dangerous. When Aelite Chimney Specialties sweeps your chimney, our CSIA-certified sweeps will be sure to remove every bit of creosote that has stuck to the walls of your chimney. After your chimney has been cleaned, our sweeps will inspect your chimney to look for damage that should be repaired to be sure your chimney is safe to use. We will look for blockages that could lead to hazardous situations.

What can I expect from my appointment with Aelite Chimney Specialties?

When our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps arrive to your home to clean and inspect your chimney, we will begin the process by laying down tarps around your fireplace and sealing off the area to protect your home from soot. We do ask that it would be extremely helpful if you can move all the furniture within an eight feet radius of your hearth before we get there. To professionally sweep your chimney, we use rotating brushes on rods and high-powered vacuums to get all of the creosote and soot out of your home. After your chimney has been cleaned, we will inspect the interior and exterior of your chimney to look for any damage or blockages. We will be recording the entire inspection on video, so you will be able to have a copy of the entire inspection. We will also give you a written evaluation once the inspection is finished.

Get started on your spring cleaning routine! If you live around Chicago and Northern Illinois, contact us at Aellite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for your annual professional chimney sweeping and inspection today.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Add Your Annual Chimney Sweep to Your Spring Cleaning Routine

Chimney Waterproofing Benefits

Water can do so much expensive and destructive damage to a masonry chimney that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has named water as the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys. Since the exterior of your chimney is constantly exposed to water from rain and melted snow, it can be challenging to keep water from eroding away your bricks and mortar as well as to prevent water from leaking into your chimney to damage the interior of your home. While the CSIA recommends preventive measures such as chimney caps and flashing systems to keep water from leaking into the chimney, this organization strongly suggests waterproofing to protect your chimney from water penetration. Since masonry materials like your bricks and mortar are porous and absorb water naturally, a waterproofing treatment from Aelite Chimney Specialties is the best way to slow down that process because it creates a barrier on your chimney that makes water difficult to penetrate. We would like to tell you more about waterproofing by answering a couple of questions about this service.

Waterproofing Your Chimney - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney

What are the benefits of waterproofing my chimney?

There are many advantages to waterproofing your chimney. Not only does this investment protect your chimney from erosion and spalling damage that can lead to structural problems for your chimney, but a waterproofing treatment will also prevent your chimney becoming stained by efflorescence, discourage mildew from growing on your chimney, and prolong the life of your masonry chimney. The expense of waterproofing is worth not having to spend a large amount of money on repairing damaged and missing bricks.

What can I expect from a waterproofing treatment from Aelite Chimney Specialties?

When our CSIA-certified chimney technicians arrive at your home to perform waterproofing services, we will begin by scrubbing away any dirt, mold, and other debris from your chimney and then washing the entire chimney. We will then apply a professional grade water repellant treatment that has been proven to reduce water penetration by 99.9 percent. The formula we use is 100% vapor permeable, which means the vapors that are produced when your chimney is in use will not be trapped and can easily escape. Trapped vapors can cause even more damage to the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Once we have finished applying the waterproofing formula, your entire chimney will be protected with a watertight barrier that will keep water out and prevent future stains from forming.

To best protect your chimney against damaging water penetration, you should schedule an appointment for a waterproofing treatment today. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to talk to our staff about how we can prolong the life of your chimney by preventing water leaks.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on Chimney Waterproofing Benefits

Hidden Hazards of a Poor Chimney Draft

When you light a fire and smoke fills the room, you most likely have a problem with your chimney draft. This type of problem is called backdrafting and results from the airflow in your chimney being reversed. Instead of smoke being pulled out of your home through the chimney, the smoke is pushed back into your home through the fireplace. In order to function properly, your chimney needs a draft to pull the byproducts of combustion out of your house. Many things can contribute to chimney draft problems, and some of these things can be hidden hazards that could lead to bigger issues. Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to tell you how you can increase the draft in your chimney to work better as well as which hazards could be causing the draft problems.Hidden Hazards of a Poor Chimney Draft - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties LLC

How can I increase the draft in my chimney?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the easiest way to increase your chimney draft is to burn hotter fires. Heated air is lighter, so it will create more pull as it goes up the chimney. Another way to increase your chimney draft is to add height to your chimney. Aelite Chimney Specialties can look at your chimney and be able to tell you if increasing the height of your chimney is something that you should consider.

What are some of the hidden hazards that could be causing my chimney draft problems?

Many times, the airflow in your chimney can be restricted that will slow down the draft, and some of these restrictions can lead to other hazards. Included in these restrictions are the following:

Excessive amounts of creosote deposits – This compound, which is formed naturally during the combustion process of burning wood, can accumulate to the point that it blocks your flue. Not only does this cause draft problems, but it can also lead to a dangerous chimney fire. Creosote is extremely flammable, and if the internal temperature inside your chimney gets hot enough, the creosote can ignite a chimney fire. A professional chimney sweeping from Aelite Chimney Specialties can remove all of the hazardous creosote from your chimney to make it safe to use again.

Structural damage – Freezing temperatures can lead to the cracking and breaking apart of the bricks and mortar of your chimney. While some of these broken bricks land outside of your home, other pieces can end up inside your chimney to create a blockage. Flue blockages can lead to carbon monoxide leaking back into your home, which could be very dangerous, and this structural damage can lead to the collapse of your chimney. Aelite Chimney Specialties can inspect your chimney for debris blockages, remove the debris, and replace the missing bricks to reinforce the structural soundness of your chimney.

Clogged chimney cap – If your chimney cap contains clogs from debris, it can be close to impossible for the chimney draft to work properly. Aelite Chimney Specialties can inspect your chimney cap and clean the cap so air can flow in and out as it should.

Your chimney draft problems could be signaling other issues. If you live in or around Chicago, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties if you live around the Chicago area and are experiencing issues with your chimney draft.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Hidden Hazards of a Poor Chimney Draft

Winter’s Impact on Your Chimney

As residents of the Chicago area, we are accustomed to dealing with lots of snow and ice every winter. Knowing how to prepare your chimney from the damaging effects of this cold weather is essential, but if you neglected to take care of some preventive chimney maintenance tasks before winter arrived, Aelite Chimney Specialties is here to help you make the necessary repairs to be sure your fireplace and chimney will work efficiently and safely. You can trust our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified technicians to inspect any winter-related damage done to your chimney and to recommend the best and most affordable ways to take care of any problems. We would like to tell you more about the impact that winter can have on your chimney and how we can fix any damage done to your chimney.

How does cold winter weather affect my chimney?Winter's Impact on Your Chimney - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties LLC

The most common winter-related chimney damage has to do with the deterioration of the bricks and mortar of your chimney’s structure. These masonry materials are very porous, and if you do not sufficiently protect your chimney with waterproofing and other water penetration preventive services, the bricks and mortar can absorb quite a bit of water. According to the CSIA, water penetration is the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys. The majority of water penetration damage occurs during the winter due to freezing temperatures. When the weather is very cold, the absorbed water in the bricks and mortar freezes and expands. As the temperature rises above freezing, this water thaws, which leads to the cracking and breaking of these masonry materials. After repeated cycles of freezing and thawing, this damage and deterioration gets worse, and if left unrepaired, your chimney will be unsafe to use and could even possibly collapse.

How can Aelite Chimney Specialties repair this winter damage?

To restore the condition of your chimney, our expert masons are trained and experienced in tuckpointing skills. We can replace cracked, broken, and missing bricks and mortar joints by tucking new mortar into the gaps and cracks. Our masons take great care to be sure these repairs do not look obvious by matching the look of the original brick. Our tuckpointing work will increase the durability of the structure of your chimney. After we have completed the repairs, we can then apply a waterproofing formula that will protect your bricks and mortar from further water penetration damage.

Have you noticed cracked, loose, or missing bricks from your chimney this winter? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection today. You can also call us at 815-363-1242!

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Winter’s Impact on Your Chimney