Skip to Main Content

Cracked Chimney

A fireplace adds charm and warmth to any home, but a damaged exterior chimney can pose significant safety risks. 

One common yet often overlooked issue homeowners encounter is a cracked or tilting chimney. Neglecting this problem compromises your chimney’s structural integrity and jeopardizes your home’s safety. 

At Baker’s Waterproofing, we recognize the value of your home and provide the best possible care. We specialize in comprehensive home solutions, addressing problems like cracked chimneys using our proprietary foundation repair products and techniques. 

By the end of this page, you’ll gain insights into why your chimney is cracking and how to rectify it, ensuring your home’s stability and your family’s safety. 

What Is a Cracked Chimney? 

A cracked chimney entails either visible or concealed breaks in the masonry or stonework that constitutes the chimney structure. 

These cracks can emerge in different areas, including the flue, chimney crown, and the main body of the chimney. They are most noticeable in the mortar joints between the bricks. These fractures are more than cosmetic concerns; they can result in significant issues like water seepage, decreased efficiency, and even structural instability. 

Additionally, you might observe spaces between the bricks in the chimney body. This can lead to additional harm, potentially causing it to tilt or separate from the rest of the house. 

What Causes Cracked Chimneys? 

Cracked chimneys can result from various factors, with the primary culprit often being foundation settlement linked to unstable soil conditions. This is particularly prominent in expansive clay-based soils prone to moisture-induced expansion and contraction.  

Soil instability can arise due to several causes: 

  • Wetting and Softening: Intense rainfall, floods, and melting snow can saturate the soil, rendering it softer and unable to bear the weight of the chimney. 
  • Erosion: Prolonged exposure to excess moisture and flooding can lead to gradual erosion of the underlying soil. 
  • Dry and Contracting Soil: During dry spells or droughts, the soil contracts, creating empty spaces where the chimney footing may settle. 
  • Poor Compaction: Proper preparation and compaction of the soil are essential before chimney construction. Skipping or inadequately performing this step can result in inadequate ground support. 
  • Invasive Tree Roots: Tree roots cause foundation problems and can disturb and shift the soil in their search for moisture and nutrients. This activity destabilizes the soil, potentially allowing roots to infiltrate the chimney’s structure. 

Since chimneys are often constructed on separate foundations from the rest of the house, they are particularly susceptible to these soil-related foundation issues. When the unstable soil fails to, it begins to crack and may eventually separate from the side of the home. 

Can You Fix Chimney Cracks? 

Yes, cracked chimneys can indeed be effectively repaired, but it’s crucial to address the underlying issue. 

DIY repairs like repointing bricks, applying sealants, and basic patchwork are merely temporary solutions that won’t hold up. The chimney will continue to shift on the unstable ground, potentially reopening old cracks or creating new ones. 

A comprehensive, whole-home approach is imperative to properly resolve the issue. At Baker’s Waterproofing, our team identifies the underlying cause and applies specialized techniques to provide a lasting solution. 

Recognizing that every home is unique, we offer a range of tailored foundation repair solutions designed to meet the specific needs of your home. These solutions include foundation pier systems. 

How to Fix a Cracked Chimney 

Baker’s Waterproofing offers various options for cracked chimney repair. 

Inspection and Diagnosis 

Our specialists conduct a free assessment of your home’s foundation and chimney, documenting the scope and whereabouts of any cracks and additional damage. 

Foundation Pier Installation 

The most effective tools for addressing a damaged chimney are foundation piers. These piers provide permanent stabilization for the chimney and can potentially elevate it back to its original position. While this may assist in closing cracks and gaps, additional masonry work may be required. 

Depending on the soil composition and the condition of the chimney, we utilize either helical piers or push piers, driving them deep into the ground until we reach a stable soil layer.

Our SettleStop Helical Pier System is particularly suited for lighter loads like chimneys. The process involves the following: 

  • Excavate the soil down to the chimney footer. 
  • Utilize hydraulic equipment to advance the piers into the soil. 
  • Monitor the pressure and depth of the installed piers. 
  • Continue advancing the screw-like piers until they reach stable soil or bedrock. 
  • Affix a robust steel bracket to the footing, ensuring proper load transfer. 
  • Install small rivets in the exterior brick as reference points. 
  • Backfill the excavated soil. 

Annual Maintenance Inspections 

Our service and maintenance programs are available to ensure the ongoing reinforcement of the piers supporting your chimney. We conduct annual inspections, utilizing a laser level to align with the benchmarks we’ve set up. This process verifies the continued stability of the system. 

Why Address the Chimney Issues Now 

Postponing the repair of a cracked chimney exacerbates its condition, resulting in safety risks and more costly future fixes. Here’s why promptly identifying and addressing these issues is beneficial: 

  • Avoid Safety Concerns: Neglecting cracks can lead to structural instability and eventual collapse. 
  • Prevent Moisture Intrusion: Cracks facilitate water infiltration, hastening deterioration and causing structural problems. 
  • Avoid Fire Hazards: A compromised chimney is at risk of tipping over, posing a fire hazard. 
  • Cost-Efficiency: Early foundation repair intervention is more cost-effective than addressing the problem later. 
  • Enhance Home Value: Maintaining your chimney contributes to the overall value of your property. 

At Baker’s Waterproofing, we specialize in addressing chimney issues with our tailored solutions, ensuring long-lasting repair and stabilization. 

Contact Baker’s Waterproofing for Permanent Chimney Stabilization Solutions 

A chimney that’s cracked or leaning poses a potential safety risk, putting your home and family in jeopardy. It’s crucial not to overlook repairs if your chimney is damaged. Contact Baker’s Waterproofing for professional assistance and lasting solutions. 

Our complimentary, no-obligation inspection includes an assessment of your home to propose the most suitable repair solutions. Count on Baker’s Waterproofing for all your chimney and foundation repair needs. 

Cracked Chimney FAQs

Though patching minor cracks is an option, DIY repairs serve as temporary fixes that can be intricate, unsafe, and expensive. For a lasting solution, we strongly advise seeking a professional evaluation. Get in touch with Baker’s Waterproofing today to schedule a complimentary inspection.

The sooner, the better. Neglecting the issue can result in further cracking, additional damage, and potentially dire consequences, even leading to a complete chimney collapse. When you observe issues like chimney cracks or leaning, reach out to Baker’s Waterproofing for prompt assistance.

Depending on the specific conditions of your foundation and soil, we utilize either helical piers or push piers. Contact us today for a free assessment and a customized repair plan.

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Baker's Waterproofing Service Areas

Our Locations

Central PA

3819 N Susquehanna Trail
Shamokin Dam, PA  17876

Harrisburg

922 North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Hermitage

701 North Hermitage Rd, Suite 25,
Hermitage, PA 16148

Pittsburgh

5 Industrial Road, Building B
Washington, PA 15301

Wilkins Township

201 Penn Center Blvd Suite 400

Wilkins Township, PA 15235

York, PA

800 E King St, Suite 518
York, PA 17402