How to tell if your chimney is damaged

Know the signs of chimney damage and keep your home safe. If your chimney is experiencing wear and tear, has been exposed to extreme weather, or was improperly constructed, it will eventually show signs of damage. Once a chimney has experienced damage it will need to be repaired or, in some cases, replaced.

Cracked or deteriorating masonry

The brick and mortar of your chimney can deteriorate over time. If this is happening, you’ll see cracks, breaches, mortar dust on the rooftiles, or even missing bricks. This will compromise the structural integrity of your chimney. Sometimes these symptoms can be repaired with proper care or attention. However, if the damage is severe enough, such as chunks of masonry falling away from the chimney, then it will need to be replaced.

A leaning or tilting chimney

If you’ve spotted that your chimney is at an odd angle, this could be a sign that its foundations are compromised. This is a process called ‘settling’ or ‘settlement.’ Chimney settling puts stress on your roof system and can even create gaps through which water will infiltrate your home. These problems can compound and lead to serious structural problems across your whole chimney. Often settling means that the chimney is no longer properly secured to the roof system and therefore will likely need to be replaced.

Your chimney cap is damaged

Chimney caps, essential for protecting chimneys from the elements, can sustain damage due to various factors. Harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain, strong winds, or frost, may corrode the cap over time. Additionally, the accumulation of debris, such as leaves or bird nests, can lead to blockages and compromise the cap’s functionality. A damaged chimney cap poses risks like water ingress, structural deterioration, and an increased fire risk. Regular maintenance is imperative to ensure the cap’s integrity, safeguarding both the chimney and the overall structural integrity of the property.

You’ve experienced a chimney fire

Chimney fires are start when debris or a build-up of creosote in the flue catches alight. In some cases these fires will be highly dramatic and you’ll see flames, sparks, smoke, and burning material emerging from the top of your chimney. However, sometimes these fires are slow burning and go unnoticed until your chimney is inspected. If your chimney has experienced a fire then it will need extensive repairs or even outright replacement. A reputable roofing contractor will be able to assess the damage and determine the right solution to create a new, safe chimney for your home.

Faulty flashing

Flashing is a metal seal fitted at the join between your chimney and the rest of your roof system. When properly fitted, it can last for decades waterproofing your roof and sealing your property against the elements. However, if you can see that the flashing around your chimney is corroded, damaged, or has come loose, then it can allow water inside the structure. At the very least this will require immediate attention from a professional. The faulty chimney flashing will need to be replaced quickly to prevent more serious damage to your chimney.

White build-up

If your chimney has been improperly sealed or the cap has not been fitted properly, you may spot a white build-up on the masonry called efflorescence. This is caused by moisture moving through the bricks and mortar leaving deposits of salt on the exterior of the chimney. Efflorescence is a serious issue as it shows that rainwater is seeping into the brickwork which will cause further structural problems. If your chimney has been sufficiently weakened by this process, it will need to be replaced entirely.

What causes chimney damage?

  • Lack of maintenance

    Neglecting regular maintenance of your chimney can cause various issues. Inspections and cleanings will make sure that your chimney is in proper working order. If there are issues, they can be caught early before they compound and cause serious structural problems.

  • Creosote build-up

    Even normal use of your fireplace or log burner will cause creosote to build up on the inside of your chimney. Creosote is a highly flammable material that gathers inside chimneys as a result of burning wood or coal. A large enough build-up could cause a chimney fire.

  • Moisture

    Exposure to the elements is a common cause of chimney damage. Rainwater can enter through a damaged chimney cap, cracks in the masonry, or deteriorated mortar joints. From there changes in temperature can cause this moisture to expand and contract rapidly, causing further damage.

If you have noticed damage on your chimney and need speedy repairs or a new replacement, contact Groom & Co. We are a highly-regarded roofing contractor that provide efficient services to homeowners in need. We conduct thorough inspections and deliver lasting chimney repairs to keep your roof safe. You can reach us by calling 0800 6444 777 or by sending an email to