Most chimneys are constructed using wood framing, wire lath and a stucco covering. Over time, small cracks can form in the stucco finish allowing water in and begin rusting the wire lath. Rusting wire lath in turn swells and pops the stucco, making even bigger cracks. This condition is called spalling and it allows more and more water in and causes the wood framing to rot. So, a chimney repair can become a little complex. lets walk through the process.
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Chimney Repair Explained
In the image to the left, you can see that the stucco has completely fallen off of the wire lath. The wire lath is very rusted and the wood structure behind is rotted and completely missing. Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence. In this case, the homeowner paid several contractors to repair it but the problem persisted because they simply tried to seal the stucco instead of replacing it.
The next image shows the rotten wood behind the wire lath and stucco. In many cases the wood is completely missing. We use pressure treated lumber when repairing chimney structures to ensure the rotten wood can’t come back. After we rebuild chimneys, we recommend the stucco be painted every three or four years in order to make sure no small cracks form in the stucco again and cause a repeat of the problem.
Applying Stucco on a Chimney Repair
Once all of the rotten wood and rusted wire lath is completely replaced, the process of applying new stucco begins. There are three coats of stucco to be applied on chimneys. There is a scratch, brown and finish coat. There needs to be ample drying time between each layer and so these repairs can span several days and trips. When it comes time to paint the new stucco we refer to it as “thirsty” because the first coat of paint soaks in the stucco like its a sponge. It takes several coats of paint to get a good finished look.
Chimney Caps, Flues and Spark Arrestors
The chimney "flue" is the pipe within the chimney that carries the smoke from the the fireplace up and out. On the top of the flues or square cap. This "flue cap" can bee seen at the very, very top of the chimney. The flue cap has two functions. First, the flue cap prevents rainwater from entering in to your home. Second, the flue cap serves as a "spark arrestor", preventing fire embers to rain down outside of your home and causing a potential fire.
The chimney cap is the metal cap flashing on top of the chimney structure. We make our chimney and flue caps with aluminum. Aluminum does not and lasts much longer than galvanized metal caps
Have you tried calling to get estimates for chimney repairs? The stucco guy says he’s not a carpenter and cant change the rotten wood. The carpenter says you need a roofer to fix the damage at the base of your chimney. It can be really difficult to find someone for what should be a strait forward repair. But don’t worry, we have your back. We are licensed building and roofing contractors. We have a crew dedicated to chimney services and repair. We will do everything, the roofing, the carpentry and the stucco. Call now for a free estimate
Fireplace and Chimney repair is an important and integral step to maintaining and you building envelope.
Stucco Wall Repairs
Chimney repairs and Stucco wall repairs are basically the same thing. Do you have a stucco wall the needs repair?
Or call us today for a free estimate to repair stucco wall in boca raton