A leaning chimney is a like flashing warning sign that you have a foundation problem and it can be very dangerous. Loose bricks could fall, injuring people or causing property damage. In addition, water, pests, and small vermin can infiltrate your home in the crack between the chimney and your home. It doesn’t take much of a gap for water and bugs to enter your house. It might seem like an easy, DIY fix, but unfortunately a leaning chimney is a problem which usually starts with a foundation repair issue and culminates in a leaning or tilting chimney. Leave it to the professionals and save yourself some time and money.
If you notice your chimney leaning or pulling away from the house, take a walk around the property and look for other signs such as cracks, water leaks, bowing walls, or sticking windows. Call the foundation experts at Foundation Systems of West Virginia as soon as possible if you see even one of these warning signs. The longer you put off foundation repair, the more time and money it will take to return your home’s stability.
Do NOT attempt to repair a leaning chimney yourself through D.I.Y. methods. Protect yourself and your neighbors by hiring a professional.
There is usually one common factor in why your chimney is leaning and that has to do with the footing. Here are some ways that the footing can cause problems for your chimney.
If the chimney’s footing is too shallow, changes to the soil can have more of an impact on your chimney. If soil expands and contracts due to heavy rains or a rapid freezing or thawing it can cause the footing to move or settle unevenly, allowing the chimney to move.
In addition to allowing your chimney to become displaced, a constantly changing soil can wreak havoc on your chimney’s footing. The rapid contraction and expansion can break down the concrete footing, just like it does to concrete slabs and foundations.
Even if you have the right sized footing, if the soil is poorly prepared, it can eventually cause problems for the chimney and possibly the rest of your home’s foundation. We’ve also seen instances where the soil has eroded from under and around the chimney’s footing.
Another problem with a chimney’s footing is if it is too small for the job. The general rule of thumb regarding a chimney footing is that it should be wider than the chimney by at least six inches on every side and be at least one foot thick. If the footing is too small, it won’t have a good, stable base.
The first step in repairing a leaning chimney is to have an expert from Foundation Systems of West Virginia inspect it. They can determine what steps need to be taken to repair the chimney and its base. The chimney will need extra support to regain its stability.
The most common method of stabilizing a chimney is through the use of helical piers. They not only straighten out your chimney, but they also add strength to the footing. You should never attempt to fix the chimney yourself, as this is a job that is better left to professionals.
Just like any other problem around the home, a damaged chimney won’t heal itself. Having someone inspect your home as soon as you notice your leaning chimney could prevent more foundation problems from occurring. Contact Foundation Systems of West Virginia today to repair your leaning chimney.