two red masonry chimneys on a big white house

Masonry Chimney

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/16/2021

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Whether you’ve purchased a home with an older masonry chimney or you’re planning on including a modern chimney as a design feature in a new build, there are a couple of things you should consider, such as: “What’s a chimney sweep?” and “How often should I clean my chimney flue?” Chimneys may seem like formidable structures on the outside but they also have their drawbacks that should be taken into account before putting one into use.

Definition

The term chimney most commonly refers to a vertical ventilation structure that connects an interior heating source, such as a fireplace, furnace, boiler, or wood stove, to the exterior of a house or building. The space inside of a chimney is called the chimney flue and is used in combination with dampers to control airflow. Traditionally, masonry chimneys were prominent structures, featured typically up the sides and on the rooftops of houses and buildings. The use of traditional chimneys has declined over the years as many modern heating appliances can be vented directly out of a wall or rooftop with a discrete vent pipe.

What Are The Best Ways To Maintain A Masonry Chimney?

Masonry fireplaces and chimneys most often go hand in hand and are typically considered an idyllic form of heat. However, it’s not all chestnuts and marshmallows as masonry chimneys can require a bit of maintenance and repair. Here are a couple things to consider before firing one up:

  • From the inside, the warmth of a masonry fireplace with a stack of well seasoned wood burning away is second to none. From the outside, a well crafted masonry chimney can make a bold structural statement. It’s for these reasons that many homeowners desire one.
  • However, masonry chimney repair and cleaning can require a bit of work. Although, some of the work can make for a skilled DIY project, it might also be a good idea to hire a chimney sweep or a professional chimney repair service. When it comes to fireplaces and safety, there is little room for errors.
  • Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected frequently. At minimum, they should be cleaned and maintained at least once a year, typically before putting it into use. Failure to do so could result in serious damage.