A good Chimney is one that is sturdy and in good working condition. Unlike prefabricated Fireplaces which are factory engineered and produce, a Masonry Fireplace is built on your site Brick by Brick. This gives your Mason Contractor a wide range or control over the design and quality of your Fireplace. Here is some special consideration about Masonry Fireplaces, they require an extensive footing capable of supporting their massive structures that can weigh over 10 tons! Something that big might seem indestructible, but in fact, this is not the case. Special care should be taken when placing any downspouts near your Fireplace, always carefully direct them away from the footing of your Chimney. Sending the water away from your structure will keep problems to a minimum.
Your Masonry Fireplace is quite durable and can give you a lifetime of enjoyment, with a little care and maintenance. Your Firebox probable takes the brunt of the wear and tear to a Chimney, this is due to the expansion and contraction of building a hot fire in a cold Firebox. This is especially true when you fail to use a rain cap at the top of your Chimney. The rainwater can pool in back of the Firebrick, creating a sooty slurry that will attack the Firebrick & mortar joints. This is the best tip I can give you and is the # 1 way that you can protect your Chimney! Install A Rain Cap.
Most Fireplace Maintenance problems start at the top or crown of your Fireplace. Mortar caps are prone to cracking and decay, this is the main cause of Chimney failure in the Seattle area. when it rains the Masonry absorbs the water and hold on to it for quite a long time. If then it should freeze the water in your Masonry will expand and crack your Chimney. These crack can easily be seen when inspecting your Fireplace, look for Moss growing out of the mortar joints and discoloration or wet area growing on your Brick or Stone Masonry. It’s important to stop this water problem as quickly as you can. The longer it goes on the more expensive it will be to repair.