Realtors: Repairs For A Leaning Chimney

Published On: November 21, 2022

Poor chimneys—neglected until Christmas or at least the colder months. Even then, the fireplace mantles and hearths get all the glory over exterior chimney brick and mortar. But maybe your client is the gogetter already putting up Christmas lights, and one of you discover, just in time, that the chimney is pulling away from the house. This might be bad news for Santa. But there’s good news for you and the homeowner—a leaning chimney can be fixed!

A leaning chimney, or chimney out of plumb, reveals that there is more going on near the foundation of the home than at the top. There’s a tendency to look up. I mean, who wouldn’t? A leaning chimney can be dangerous and needs immediate attention, especially for a house on the market! But’s there more good news—leaning chimneys have become a common, routine repair for reputable foundation repair companies who know how to fix a chimney pulling away from the house. So, let’s look further into the foundation of a chimney and how it affects the exterior chimney brick and sometimes the interior walls near the fireplace, so you as a realtor will know what to look for and what to do in these situations.

Leaning Chimney

How do I diagnose chimney foundation problems?

A chimney that needs repair is fairly easy to diagnose. One or more of these symptoms may occur in a chimney in need of repair:

  • Chimney is leaning
  • Chimney has cracked bricks
  • Bricks on chimney pull away from house
  • Chimney rotates out from house
  • Space between chimney bricks and house
  • Chimney has settled

Sometimes, homeowners may notice interior wall cracks near the brick around the fireplace flue. This may be a sign of chimney movement and a reason to investigate more on the exterior side of the chimney wall. Once a chimney foundation expert locates a symptom, he or she will then consider the underlying cause before developing a repair plan.

Chimney Closeup
Leaning Chimney Closeup

Why is my client’s chimney leaning?

Leaning Chimney
Leaning Chimney

One thing that could cause your client’s chimney to detach from the house or a reason that the chimney is leaning could be:

  • Soil movement. The earth shifts. Dirt settles. This never-ending process causes settlement to foundations and chimney counterparts.
  • Expansive soil. Soil beneath the chimney that expands when overly saturated by rains and snow, and shrinks when dry or in drought, leads to frequent soil movement.
  • Poor construction. A chimney that is poorly designed or poorly installed could begin to lean and eventually detach itself from the house.
  • Age of materials. Exposure to the elements over time can cause deterioration in chimney components including chimney brick.

Sometimes homeowners can address and help prevent recurring underlying issues with the foundation of their home and even the foundation of the chimney. Other times, we simply have to prepare homes for the inevitable, like soil settlement near the chimney. Many foundation repair companies make the chimney repair process easy and affordable.

How easy is it to repair a leaning chimney?

An experienced foundation repair company will probably view your client’s leaning chimney as a routine repair. However, this does not equate to the ease of chimney repairs. The type of foundation a home has, whether or not there is a basement near the chimney, and the accessibility of areas surrounding the chimney determines what tools, and other machinery like an excavator, can or cannot be utilized to complete a leaning chimney repair. But this repair should be able to be completed within the same day as long as there are no unforeseen circumstances. (You never know what you will find when you start digging!)

Leaning Chimney

How do I know if my client’s chimney needs to be repaired or replaced?

If a leaning chimney concerns you or your client, and the chimney brick and fireplace are otherwise intact and in good working order, the homeowners likely do not need to replace the entire chimney. A few cracked bricks can easily be repaired and touched up with a leaning chimney repair by a foundation repair expert.

If the chimney is settling due to aged, disintegrating, crumbling bricks, your client may need to hire a mason to replace the brick. Not only do these weakened bricks make for a dangerous side of the home, but also the height and weight of a detached chimney create the need for immediate attention by a professional. A mason or a foundation repair company can help determine whether or not your clients need chimney replacement.

Leaning Chimney

What about cracks in brick near the chimney?

If you find cracked bricks beyond the chimney, continuing along the walls of the structure, for example, the same foundation repair company you call to fix a leaning chimney will be able to assess the remaining foundation of the home. In fact, a professional should never simply look at one portion of the foundation, even if the only concern is a chimney. A thorough evaluation of the entire perimeter and foundation should be included in any inspection to ensure your clients have no other significant issues that could not only be distressing the chimney, but that could also be affecting other parts of the home.

Chimney Problems

If the soil beneath the home is causing chimney settlement, there is a very good chance the home may also be experiencing additional foundation settlement nearby. Signs to look for in brick walls near a chimney include:

  • Stair step cracks in brick
  • Horizontal cracks in brick
  • Vertical cracks in brick
  • Windows pulling away from brick
  • Sinking foundation, cracks in concrete block
Chimney

If the foundation near a chimney needs repair, combining these repairs with a leaning chimney repair proves most effective.

How do you repair a leaning chimney?

A settling chimney repair is similar to other small foundation repairs offered by local push pier contractors. The most common solution for leaning chimneys utilizes steel foundation push piers. Push piers driven deep into the soil by a foundation repair company will stabilize, or lift back into place when conditions are right, a chimney that is leaning or disconnecting from the house. Warranties vary on chimney repairs, but most foundation repairs come with a lifetime warranty which should make Santa very happy.

Before and After Chimney

Ultimately, now is the time to get repaired a chimney pulling away from any house on the market. If the leaning chimney is in Middle Tennessee, Southwestern Kentucky, or Northern Tennessee, call USS—the chimney repair foundation expert. We offer payment options including payment from escrow and will work with you around your closing dates. Our warranties are also fully transferable and remain with the home. Contact us today for a free estimate on your leaning chimney. We’ll get things straight and secure in no time!

Let’s get started!

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