We love our fireplaces here in the NW, from Portland to Seattle they are part of our way of life. Whether it is an actual fireplace or a wood burning stove, we need to do fireplace repair to keep them in good working order. many of us have come to depend on our fireplaces for warmth and comfort on cold winter nights. Most of our homes today are heated by some other combination of forced air furnace or electric baseboard heat, but as you know there are times when the lights and heat go out here in the Seattle area. There are also, other reasons to have a backup source of heating and cooking ability’s, like in times of natural disasters or downturns in the economy. If you have a little working knowledge of your fireplace it will help you know what fireplace repair is needed to keep your fireplace in good working order.
Masonry Construction & Chimney Repair Most of the fireplaces and chimneys here in the NW will be built out of some kind of masonry brick or stone, and are quite durable. Many have been built over 30 or 40 years ago and are still holding up well. In order to keep your fireplace in good repair, you will need to inspect it every so often. The best place to start an inspection of your fireplace is to look in the firebox for cracked or missing firebrick, this is where you sit and burn your fire and should be very easy to inspect. Right above the firebox, you will have a damper that controls the smoke that goes up and out your chimney, both of these need to be in good working order to have a safe fireplace. If you find any problems it’s time for some fireplace repair. A good masonry fireplace is worth $15,000 to $25,000 to build or replace, and many times they are falling apart from the top down and the homeowner is unaware of it till it’s too late. This only happens when the fireplace crown has gone bad. Your Fireplace crown is your first and last line of defense against water damage, most fireplace crowns will develop cracks in their tops every few years. The problem is that these fireplace caps or crowns are not down by were sitting by the fire, they are up on top of the fireplace where you can’t even see them. So here is what you need to look for if it has been awhile since you have repaired your fireplace, look up towards the top of the fireplace chimney and see if there is any discoloration of the brick, cracks, or missing brick, moss growing out of the joints. If you see any of these your fireplace is being damaged by water. It’s always better to do the fireplace repair as soon as you see it, if water damage is found early it can be fixed for a small amount, but if it is let go it can cost thousands of dollars to replace. As a masonry contractor in the Seattle area, one of the main times that we are called out to repair fireplaces is when the home is being sold. one of the first things home inspectors check is the shape that the fireplace is in. The sad thing is when it is left till then the damage is usually large and the cost is higher it needed to be. It's always best to keep an eye out for damage and fix it early. For more information on chimney & flashing repair Seattle, Check out the service menu on the Tim W Masonry website.