What to do when your chimney is leaning

You’ve seen photos of the Tower of Pisa. If you’re a world traveler, perhaps you’ve seen it in person. Considered one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions, this medieval-age belltower started to lean during construction. Doomed by a combination of a heavy and shallow foundation and soft sub-soil, the tower’s builders tried a range of fixes, none of which worked. At one point, builders halted work on the tower for a century. Like the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, residential chimneys also lean due to foundation problems. If your chimney leans or tilts, you can’t ignore it for one hundred years. Read on and learn what Acworth chimney repair experts say about fixing a leaning chimney.

What Makes a Chimney Lean?

There are several reasons for a chimney to lean or separate from your home. The ground around the chimney has a lot to do with the chimney movement. There are quite a few reasons that your chimney can begin to lean, tilt, or separate from your home. One of the most common is a problem with the ground around your chimney. If you have loose soil, it may tend to expand and contract frequently. When this happens, you end up with weakening support for your chimney structure. Erosion may also play a significant role in the process. Other causes of leaning have to do with the chimney’s footing. Footing may be too small or too shallow. Since it’s made from concrete, the footing t could also fall apart because of freeze/thaw cycles.

Is the Chimney Really Leaning?

While it might seem like an optical illusion, in most cases, if you notice the lean, it’s for real. To make certain, look for a gap between your house and the exterior chimney. A gap is an excellent indicator of a leaning chimney. In some designs, the chimney comes through the home’s interior. Look in the attic to see if the chimney is centered in the opening. Take note of uneven pressure. If the chimney puts more pressure on one side, it’s officially leaning. Another clue is dislodged flashing. If you’re still not sure, a fireplace repair specialist can come out and inspect your chimney.

Be Careful about Temporary Fixes

If you’re not the first owner of your home, check to see if the previous residents tried to fix the chimney. Look for evidence of repair jobs. You may find concrete patches or caulking between your house and your chimney. Sometimes people fashion wood or metal strips to cover the gap caused by chimney movement. It may look like a desperate measure, but some people use metal straps designed to anchor the chimney in place. It’s not uncommon to find these straps on a brick chimney. As far as permanent masonry repairs go, there are other options.

What Is the Solution for a Leaning Chimney?

One repair method is the use of helical piers. They’re made of steel and serve to stabilize a leaning chimney. Piers may even help straighten the chimney. It’s a repair accomplished without dismantling your chimney. Depending on the amount of movement, your chimney repair specialist may recommend disassembling and rebuilding the chimney. Regardless of the repair method, you don’t want to prolong taking care of the problem because a leaning chimney does pose safety hazards. It’s best to contact a company that does chimney inspections in Acworth as soon as you notice a problem. Contact Atlanta Chimney Doctor at 678-525-7943. We’re the Atlanta metro’s premier chimney repair and rebuilding experts.