Our Company Blog

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.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Does Your Chimney Need Relining? Do It Now in the Offseason!

Summer is the perfect time to take care of any necessary chimney repairs. When you wait to have these repairs done in the fall, you may not be able to use your fireplace as soon as you would like. Taking care of any problems in the summer is the best way to know you will be able to light a fire on the first cool fall day. One of the most common chimney repairs, chimney relining is essential to keep your chimney working safely. If you cannot remember the last time your chimney was relined, it may be time to take care of it now. Aelite Chimney Specialties can inspect the condition of your liner and make relining recommendations based on the condition and fuel type of your heating appliance, the age of your home, and your budget. We would like to tell you more about the importance of chimney liners and the options we provide and recommend.

Stainless Steel Chimney Liner - Chicago IL - Aelite ChimneyWhy does my chimney need a liner?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), chimney liners serve three important purposes to your chimney and venting system. You need a chimney liner to protect the combustible parts of your home from the extremely high temperatures that are produced when a fire is burning. Liners also protect the bricks and mortar joints from the corrosive and toxic combustion gases. You also need a chimney liner to provide a correctly sized flue for your heating appliance. The majority of new fireplace inserts are much smaller than masonry fireplace openings, so the flue will be too large for the heating appliance. This can cause condensation and chimney draft issues.

What kinds of liners does Aelite Chimney Specialties carry?

Chimney liners come in three types: clay tile, metal, and cast-in-place. While we can work with all types of liners, we recommend the Ventinox lining systems. We are proud to carry these stainless steel liners that are tested and listed for every fuel type. No matter if you have a wood, gas, or oil-fired heating appliance, a Ventinox liner can withstand extremely hot temperatures and will last you a lifetime.

Have your chimney relined during the offseason. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for an inspection of your chimney liner today.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment

Proudly Serving Chicago, IL with Chimney and Fireplace Services

We're proud to be a local source for chimney and fireplace services!

We’re proud to be a local source for chimney and fireplace services!

Since 2005, Aelite Chimney Specialties has been providing chimney sweeping, chimney repair and fireplace sales and installation services to homes in Northeast Illinois, including North Chicago. With the brutally cold winter weather that is typical for this area, you can trust us to take care of your fireplace and chimney system so that you can enjoy its warmth during the coldest months of the year. We work hard to give our customers the best service possible, and we are extremely proud of our high ratings from the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List. We feel strongly about satisfying every customer and will do whatever is necessary to make our customers happy. We would like to tell you a bit more about the types of services we provide to the Chicago area.

CHIMNEY LEAK REPAIR

If you are having problems with water leaking from your chimney, Aelite Chimney Specialties is here to help you solve these issues. Our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney technicians will come to your home to investigate the leak and diagnose the problem. Common reasons why your chimney is leaking include a damaged chimney cap, loose flashing, missing pieces of bricks and mortar, and a cracked chimney liner. No matter what the reason may be for your chimney leaking, we can fix it, and we can also apply a waterproofing formula to your chimney to protect it from further water penetration.

CHIMNEY MASONRY

Have you noticed loose or missing bricks and pieces of mortar on your chimney? The expert masons at Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you by replacing cracked or missing bricks and mortar to improve the stability of the structure of your chimney. Repairing this type of damage is essential for your chimney to work safely and efficiently. We also can restore older masonry chimneys to bring them up to modern building codes and standards.

FIREPLACE INSERTS & WOOD STOVE INSTALLATION

Were your heating bills larger than normal last winter? You may want to consider upgrading your old traditional fireplace to a more efficient fireplace insert. Aelite Chimney Specialties sells and installs gas, wood, and pellet fireplace inserts, and our staff can help you decide which fuel type is best for your household. Our professional installation services will ensure that your new insert functions properly and safely. We also sell and install wood-burning stoves and gas logs. And, if you need glass fireplace doors, we can help you out with those as well.

If you live in the Chicago area, Aelite Chimney Specialties would love to help you with your fireplace and chimney needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment to be sure your chimney and fireplace are ready for this winter.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

For Safe and Optimal Fires, Have Your Chimney Relined

An essential part of your chimney system, the liner serves important functions to make your fireplace and chimney work as safe as it possibly can. If your chimney liner is aging or if you do not even have a liner in your chimney at all, Aelite Chimney Specialties can professionally install a top quality liner to give you safe and optimal fires in your fireplace. An unlined chimney is very dangerous. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has even reported that researchers at the National Bureau of Standards said that building a chimney without lining it is a “little less than criminal.” We would like to tell you more about chimney liners by answering a couple of questions for you.

Stainless Steel Chimney Liner - Chicago IL

Why are chimney liners so important for optimal and safe fires?

Chimney liners are crucial to the functioning of a chimney for three reasons:

  1. to protect your home from the high temperatures that occur within a chimney when a fire is burning in the fireplace
  2. to protect the bricks and mortar of your chimney from the damaging and corrosive byproducts of combustion like smoke, toxic gases, and tar fog
  3. to give a properly sized flue to the heating appliance your chimney is serving to allow the appliance to work most efficiently and effective.

How can Aelite Chimney Specialties help me with relining my chimney?

If you do have an existing chimney liner, the only way to know its condition is to have a professional chimney inspection. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps have been trained in the different levels of chimney inspections that were established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and are experienced in examining chimney liners as part of the inspection process.

If we find damage or deterioration to your chimney liner such as cracks or gaps that can cause using your fireplace and chimney to be unsafe and hazardous, we can reline your chimney with a durable stainless steel liner. We sell and install Ventinox liners which are constructed from a strong stainless steel that can stand up to extremely hot temperatures from solid fuel sources like wood and resist corrosion from oil and gas. No matter what type of heating appliance you have or what type of fuel it uses, a Ventinox liner is perfect for your chimney. These liners are equipped with spiral corrugations that allow them to be both strong and flexible. The stainless steel alloy of Ventinox liners is extremely resistant to chloride pitting and stress corrosion and cracking. Aelite Chimney Specialties feels that all of these qualities make this brand of chimney liners the best of its kind. We are proud to be able to install these liners to make chimneys perform safely and efficiently.

If you are unsure of the condition of your chimney liner, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We can inspect its condition and recommend the best solution for the efficiency and safety of your fireplace and chimney.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Proper Ash Removal and Storage

If you have a wood-burning appliance, you know that after a fire, you will be left with ashes and ash residue left behind that will need to be correctly removed and stored. If you are unaware of the proper ash removal and storing procedures, you could end up with a fire ignited by the hot embers insulated within the ashes. At Aelite Chimney Specialties, fireplace and chimney safety is one of our highest priorities as CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, so we want to share with you some answers to questions on removing and storing ashes correctly to protect you from the possibility of a dangerous fire.

correct-disposal-of-ash-chicago-il-aelite-chimney

How Can Improper Ash Removal and Storage Lead to a Fire?

Often, people mistakenly think that simply storing ashes in a metal bucket with no lid is the correct way to store ashes after they are removed. However, when this bucket is sitting outside on your porch, strong winter winds can easily blow the bucket over, which causes all of the ashes to fall out onto your porch or yard. If this does occur, the ashes get stirred up, and the hot coals and embers could be reactivated. If your porch has a wooden floor, you might also possibly have a dangerous porch fire on your hands caused by the improper storage of ashes. Similarly, if the hot ashes end up in your yard, you may have to deal with an out-of-control brushfire.

What Kind of Container Should I Use to Store Ashes?

Aelite Chimney Specialties cannot stress enough to our customers the importance of using a proper ash container. We strongly recommend using a pail or bucket constructed from sheet metal that has a securely fitted lid. The lid is the essential key for safety. For an even safer ash storage container, the bottom of the pail should be slightly offset so that the actual bottom will not make contact with flooring and char the surface.

Where Should I Store My Ash Bucket?

Do not ever place your bucket on a wooden floor as this can be a fire hazard even if the bucket has an elevated metal bottom. Always store your ash bucket outside on a non-combustible surface such as stone, brick, concrete, or slate. Ensure the lid is securely closed.

Should I Remove Ashes After Every Fire?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), you do not have to remove ashes after every fire. In fact, leaving a one-inch layer of ash on the floor of your firebox will make it much easier to build and maintain a fire. The hot embers within the ashes will add more heat to the fuel and reflect this heat back into the fire. A thin layer of ash can also protect the floor of your firebox. However, you should never allow this layer of ashes to get too deep. If these ashes should make contact with the bottom of your grate, it can cause the grate to prematurely burn out.

What If I Have a Wood-Burning Stove or a Pellet Stove? Do I Need to Store These Ashes Differently?

Ash storage procedures are still the same for these stoves. If your stove is long and narrow and burns from the front to the back, it will benefit from removing the ashes that are just inside the door. Then, you can move the hot coals to the back of the stove to aid in the quick ignition of a fire. The incoming air from combustion will reignite those hot coals and rapidly heat up the entire firebox. When all of the ashes are removed, it will be difficult to start a fire because all of the bricks in the firebox must be heated to saturation before your fire can really get going.

If you have any questions about how to remove and store ashes properly, contact Aelite Chimney Specialties to ask our staff. We are happy to help you with every issue involving fire safety.