Chimney Problems

A leaning or tilted chimney tends to be a more noticeable foundation failure sign. It is also a very dangerous problem. When your chimney tilts or leans, it can either fall in on your home, or be a danger for you or your neighbors as bricks and mortar can come loose and fall. Bugs, water, and small animals can make there way into a chimney that is tilted or even separated from the main structure. It is also a big, red flag that you have foundation problems. If you notice your chimney even tilting slightly it is wise to inspect the rest of your home and foundation. Look for cracks in your walls, ceilings, floors, foundation, slab, and garage columns. Watch for water leaks in your basement or crawlspace. Check for stoops, stairs, or porches that are pulling away from the foundation. Keep an eye on your basement walls for bowing and leaning. Your crawlspace might have a musty or damp smell. All of these things are signs of a larger problem – foundation failure. If you notice your chimney leaning you need expert help. It is not a do-it-yourself foundation repair. For your safety and the safety of your neighbors, get your leaning chimney checked out right away.

Causes of Chimney Problems (Cracks, Leaning, Tilting)

There are quite a few reasons that your chimney can begin to lean, tilt, or separate from your home. Most of them have to do with problems in the ground around your chimney. Here is a list of the  most common problems that cause a leaning chimney and other chimney problems:

  • A footing that is too small for the chimney – Stability is determined by the size of the footing for your chimney. If it is too small issues will arise. The standard is to have a footing is as least one foot in thickness, and sticks out on all sides of the chimney by six inches.
  • Poor soil quality – Soil that is loose has a habit of expanding and contracting frequently based on the amount of water in the soil, or lack thereof. Erosion of the soil can also play a big part in weakening support for the chimney structure.
  • Footing that is falling apart – In many areas of our country freezing and thawing is common and this can cause big problems for concrete. Chimney footings made out of concrete will suffer from this problem.
  • Footings that are too shallow – If the ground is shallow beneath the footing, rapid freezing and expanding can occur causing a heaving of the footing which can surely cause displacement of the chimney above it.

Solutions for Chimney Problems (Cracks, Leaning, Tilting)

When your chimney experiences the problems above, it needs extra, added support to stabilize and straighten the structure. This can be done with an installation of helical piers. Our network of foundation specialists use helical piers from Earth Contact Products due to their proven ability to add support and strength all while straightening your chimney.

Helical piers almost look like a giant screw. It can be installed with little interruption to your yard and home. Portable equipment is used to drive the helical pier into soil that is stable and will be able to support the load of your chimney. Brackets can then be placed on the piers that have been installed under the chimney footing. These tools are great because little to no excavation needs to be done and there is very little that is removed in the way of soil or other spoils from the job, the job can be done in any type of weather and is usually completed in a relatively short time.

So if you notice your chimney leaning, tilting, cracking, or separating from your home, don’t ignore it. Fixing a chimney with these chimney problems could prevent future problems with your foundation. It might also help uncover other foundation problems you might be experiencing and save you money in the long run. Use My Foundation Repairs to find an expert in your area for foundation repairs. Then you can get a free inspection and estimate for your foundation repairs!


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