Chimney Restoration 101 – Everything Homeowners MUST Know

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A brick chimney is an important part of a home. Over time, the brick and mortar of your chimney deteriorate because of exposure to elements such as rain and snow.

A damaged chimney won’t exhaust smoke from the fireplace properly and affects the structural integrity of your home.

If you don’t fix your chimney early, you will eventually pay thousands of dollars to rebuild it. That is why chimney restoration is crucial.

In this guide, we will discuss the common signs of a damaged chimney and the benefits of chimney restoration.

What is chimney restoration?

Chimney restoration means fixing the damaged parts of your chimney. The chimney is the highest point of a house, so it is exposed to elements such as rainwater, snow and wind.

These elements cause the wearing out of chimney parts such as the brick and mortar, chimney crown, flue liner and firebox. 

The restoration process depends on the affected component. For example, if there are cracks in the firebox, refractory mortar can be applied to seal them.

Note that chimney restoration isn’t the same as a total rebuild. A chimney rebuild entails replacing the brick and mortar as well as the crown. We recommend rebuilding your chimney if the damage is extensive.

Signs that your chimney may need restoration work

Finding out if a chimney needs restoration work can be challenging for many homeowners. Luckily, there are obvious signs to look for. Let’s discuss them:

Brick and mortar Damage

Brick and mortar damage is one of the most common signs of chimney deterioration. The mortar holds the brick together and ensures the stack is firm.

Common signs of damaged mortar are cracks and gaps between the bricks. Bricks are permeable.

Over time, rainwater, melted ice, and snow seep into it and cause spalling. This is where the bricks crack, and pieces fall on the roof.

It usually happens during the freeze-and-thaw cycle and is common in chimneys that have been around for decades or aren’t regularly maintained.

Other signs of damage include missing bricks and large spaces between them. If you notice these signs, contact a qualified chimney sweep to do an inspection and fix the damage.


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Broken Chimney Liner

The chimney liner exhausts combustion byproducts like smoke and gasses like carbon monoxide.

If water is seeping into your chimney, it will weaken the liner. If you see flue tile pieces in the fireplace, your liner is definitely damaged.

If the liner is broken, your chimney will be inefficient, and you will face problems such as backdrafts. This will make it challenging to start or maintain a fire.

Cracked or broken chimney crown

The chimney crown covers the top of your chimney. It is a crucial component that prevents rain and snow from entering your chimney.

It also keeps animals away, preventing them from wreaking havoc in your chimney. Like brick and mortar, the crown deteriorates over time.

If you notice small cracks, you can seal them. But if the gaps are too big, we recommend replacing the chimney crown.

Chimney Foundation Issues

There are two main reasons why your chimney can have foundation issues. Let’s take a look at them.

  • Water damage – Water is the number one enemy of a masonry chimney. Water can easily seep into the chimney structure when the brick and mortar begin to deteriorate. Over time, the water moves to the foundation and weakens it. One of the obvious signs of foundation issues is a leaning or tilting chimney.
  • Improper construction – When your chimney is not built properly, you may face foundation issues after a few years. If you want to build or rebuild your chimney, always use an experienced chimney sweep.

What does a chimney restoration company do?

A chimney restoration company fixes the damages on your chimney to ensure it functions well. If you don’t repair your chimney early, you will eventually pay high costs to do extensive repairs or rebuild it.

A chimney restoration company provides the following services:

Chimney Refacing

Chimney refacing means repairing or renewing the “face” or surface of your brick-and-mortar chimney. Chimney refacing comprises the following repairs:

Masonry chimney repair

Spalling bricks allow more moisture into the chimney. Applying caulking to the small cracks on the bricks prevents water from seeping into the brick and causing further damage.

In situations where the cracks are too big, caulk will not help. In these cases, brick chimney restoration companies will remove and replace damaged chimneys.

Removing the bricks is not a simple DIY job. So, always leave the replacement of bricks to skilled chimney sweeps.

Common signs of mortar deterioration include cracks, flaking, and discoloration. Tuckpointing is a process that involves replacing old mortar with new one. It ensures water doesn’t get into your chimney.


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Chimney crown repair

The chimney crown should also be well-maintained. Small cracks on the crown can be fixed by applying a waterproof sealant. If the cracks are large, you should replace the crown.

Chimney flashing repair

The chimney flashing is found where the roof meets the chimney stack. It is typically waterproof to prevent rainwater from seeping into the bricks.

A flashing sealant will fix the flashing if it is loose or cracked. And if the cracks are too big or large parts of the flashing are missing, replacing it is the best option.

Chimney cap replacement

The chimney cap covers the top of the flue and prevents water, debris, and animals like birds and squirrels from entering your chimney.

If it is missing or damaged, it will allow water to enter your chimney and damage the flue liner, damper, and firebox.

Replacing a broken chimney cap ensures chimney components are protected. The chimney caps need to be of the appropriate size and should be installed properly to avoid issues in the future.

Chimney relining

Your chimney liner will require relining if it is cracked. The chimney liner insulates your chimney and allows the movement of smoke and fumes up the chimney and out of your home.

Chimney relining involves replacing your current flue liner. You can replace it with:

  • Metal chimney liners. These are made of materials like stainless steel.
  • Clay flue liners
  • Poured-in-place chimney liners.

Fireplace Restoration

Don’t forget the fireplace as you restore parts of your chimney like the brick and mortar, chimney crown and flashing. Let’s discuss fireplace repairs.

Firebox repair

Many years of extreme heat and water leaking through your chimney can take a toll on your firebox.

Firebox cracks allow smoke and dangerous gasses like carbon monoxide to enter your home. Carbon monoxide causes issues like vomiting and dizziness. You can seal firebox cracks by applying refractory caulk.

Fireplace mantle repair

The mantel is a decorative piece that makes your fireplace visually appealing. Mantles contract and expand because of the fireplace heat. This leads to cracks and splits. Repairs include replacing and tightening screws and applying resin glue (on hardwood mantels). Your local chimney sweep will advise on how to repair your chimney mantel.

Damper repair

The damper is located in the chimney flue, allowing smoke to exit your chimney.

It is usually closed when not in use to prevent cold air from entering your home through the chimney.

Damper issues include bad positioning, damage, and not opening or closing. A certified chimney sweep will help you fix any of these problems.

Smoke chamber parging

The smoke chamber is the opening above the firebox that leads smoke and fumes into the flue. The bricks in the smoke chamber wear out eventually and fail to create a smooth path for the smoke and gasses to move up the flue.

Soot stains on top of the firebox and smoke flowing back into your home are indications that your smoke chamber requires parging.

Refractory mortar is used to fix the deteriorating bricks and smoothen the walls of the smoke chamber. Smoke chamber parging is best done by a professional chimney sweep.


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Does chimney restoration make a difference?

Chimney restoration is vital as it enables your chimney to function efficiently. It also prevents damage to your home, as the chimney is a major structural component.

The benefits of restoring your chimney include:

Aesthetic appeal – A chimney that looks great makes your house more attractive. No one will admire a chimney with spalling bricks, cracked mortar, and a damaged crown.

Add value to your home – Homes with a working chimney usually sell for higher prices than those without.

Safer to use – A chimney that’s in excellent condition will not allow smoke to get back into your home. This way, you will protect your loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Improve efficiency – A chimney without any damage will function well. You will not experience difficulty starting or maintaining a fire.

Improve chimney DRAFT – Problems like cracked chimney liners usually cause downdrafts. Fixing these issues prevents draft issues.

How do you restore a chimney?

Chimney restoration is not a DIY project. So, you need to use the services of a professional. An experienced chimney sweep will ensure repairs are done properly. They will also adhere to the building codes of your state.

Chimney restoration cost

On average, restoring your chimney costs $1000-$3000. If your chimney is large or has a complex design, the price can reach $5000. If the damage is extensive and you need to tear down the chimney and rebuild it, you will pay around $10000-$12000.


The chimney is an important component of your home. It adds value to your home, keeps it warm, and makes it visually appealing. Chimney restoration ensures it is in perfect condition and functions well. Contact a certified chimney sweep if you need chimney and fireplace restoration services.

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Thomas Green

Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.