California is known for its hot, sunny days and sandy beaches. For those of us who live in this much-idealized state, however, we know that hot, sunny summer days give way to cold, wet, rainy winters. Here in Sacramento, it’s not unheard of to see freezing overnight temperatures December through February. If you have a masonry chimney, that means you need to be on the lookout for damage caused by the freeze-thaw cycle.
What is the freeze-thaw cycle?
As the name suggests, the freeze-thaw cycle has to do with constantly changing temperatures. Wet, rainy weather, or even thawing ice, can flood porous surfaces like roadways, parking lots, sidewalks and your chimney with water. The water that makes its way into the cracks and crevices of masonry material freezes when temperatures drop. As the water turns to ice, it expands, leading to cracks or holes in the masonry material. This is the process that’s credited with creating potholes in snowy, northern climates.
How can the freeze-thaw cycle affect your chimney?
If you have a masonry chimney, Sacramento’s wet winter days and freezing winter nights can lead to big problems. As water trapped within the brick, stone or mortar of your chimney freezes and expands, it can cause the mortar and brick to crumble away, or even cause the faces of individual bricks to pop off. Not only does this gradual crumbling away of your chimney cause it to look unsightly, it can prove a hazard! A chimney affected regularly by the freeze-thaw cycle can develop a leak that gives water access to the interior of the chimney and fireplace, or to the interior of your home. This will cause major water damage and rot. A continued breakdown of the chimney’s masonry due to the freeze-thaw cycle also can lead to a weakening of the overall chimney structure, eventually rendering it completely unsafe.
How can you protect your chimney from the freeze-thaw cycle?
There are steps you can take to make sure that your chimney doesn’t fall victim to the freeze-thaw cycle! A waterproofing treatment can prevent water from entering the chimney’s masonry while preserving the chimney’s ability to exhale smoke and fireplace gases. You also want to remain on the lookout for signs of freeze-thaw damage in your masonry chimney. If you notice crackled bricks or crumbling mortar, call in the professionals so that repairs can be made before minor damage develops into a major problem.
If you have noticed signs of freeze-thaw damage in your chimney, or if you would like to protect your chimney from water damage with a waterproofing treatment, call A to Z Chimney Services today! We can waterproof your chimney to keep it safe from water absorption and the freeze-thaw cycle. Additionally, we can repair any damage your chimney has already suffered. Call to schedule your appointment with A to Z Chimney Services today!