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Make Sure Your Masonry Repairs Are Made Before Winter Weather Hits

In mid-Michigan, northern Ohio, and northern Indiana, we are no strangers to wintry weather and cold temperatures. For many of us, our fireplaces are a way to add heat to our homes. In addition, create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere during the long months of fall and winter. Damage to a chimneys masonry, however, may prevent your family from enjoying the fireplace. This is especially true if it is not repaired before winter weather arrives!

Make Sure Your Masonry Repairs Are Made Image - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganHow masonry damage affects your chimney.

Masonry is one of the strongest and most durable building materials available, making it perfect for fireplace and chimney construction where it is exposed to heat, smoke, and gas – as well as at-times punishing outdoor conditions. However, your chimney’s masonry may become damaged or deteriorate over time. When this happens, repairs are often necessary to get your fireplace back to burning safely and efficiently.

Chimney’s masonry is most often damaged by overexposure to the elements. Fluctuating temperatures, high winds, rain, snow, and ice can all cause damage to the masonry of the chimney. Moisture is particularly damaging due to the freeze thaw cycle.

Since bricks and mortar are naturally porous, small amounts of water from rain, snow, ice, and even hoses and sprinklers can be absorbed by the masonry. When temperatures drop, the water freezes and expands; this creates progressively larger and larger cracks and holes. This type of damage from the freeze thaw cycle can create significant masonry damage in as little as one season.

Why have your repairs done now?

While you may not have used your fireplace for the first time yet this season, it may be the perfect time to have your masonry repairs completed. The following are three reasons to have your chimney’s masonry repaired now instead of waiting for the busy burning season to begin.

  1. Fewer delays.
    Many masonry repairs cannot be completed in poor weather conditions; if it is too cold or too wet – as is often the case during winter weather – the repairs will just have to wait. This negatively impacts your chimney as waiting on repairs can cause existing damage to continue to deteriorate and get worse.
  2. Less wait time.
    Fall and winter are traditionally the busiest seasons for chimney sweeps. Since homeowners all over mid-Michigan are using their fireplaces, wait times for appointments can stretch or convenient times may be taken. Scheduling repairs early ensure you find a time that works for your schedule – and doesn’t impact the condition of your chimney further.
  3. No impact on fireplace usage.
    Waiting for masonry damage to be repaired may prevent you from using your fireplace. While this is merely a minor inconvenience in late summer and early fall, it can literally leave you and your family out in the cold once winter weather hits. Having repairs done now ensures your fireplace is safe and ready to use when the first cold snap arrives.

Fall is almost here and winter weather is just around the corner. This year, make sure your chimney is prepared for the change in weather by having your masonry repairs done now! To schedule your masonry repair appointment, contact the experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today.



Our chimneys are built to last against the toughest mother nature has to offer. Unfortunately, constant exposure to changing temperatures, sun, and moisture can cause masonry to deteriorate over time. To keep your chimney in good condition for years to come, consider having it waterproofed. Waterproofing is preventative maintenance that can stop water damage before it happens. In addition, keep existing water damage from getting worse.

Waterproofing - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganWhat is waterproofing?

Bricks are a semi-porous building material. This makes them ideal for chimney construction, because gas can freely pass through. It also means that small amounts of water can be absorbed by the masonry.

Even minuscule amounts of absorbed water can be damaging to your chimney. In cold temperatures, trapped water in masonry can freeze and expand. As the weather warms, the ice thaws and leaves behind a bigger hole or crack in the bricks. Known as the freeze thaw process, it is extremely damaging to masonry. Also, it can impact chimney stability in as little as a single winter.

However, there are ways that homeowners can protect their chimneys against water damage. One of the most common ways to protect against water intrusion and leaks? Have your chimney waterproofed. During the waterproofing process, a masonry specific water protectant is applied to the bricks and mortar, chimney crown, and other vulnerable chimney components. These protectants keep new water from being absorbed. Plus, they extend the life of your chimney, and even keep existing water damage from getting worse.

Protectants versus sealants.

Paints and other clear coat sealants are very different from masonry sealers. Because of this, only masonry specific water protectants should be used on your chimney. Traditional sealants – including latex paints – create a solid, waterproof layer on top of the masonry. In addition to keeping moisture out, it also prevents trapped moisture and gas from evaporating through the bricks. This means that the damaging freeze thaw process can continue, even after paint or sealant is applied. Bubbling paint on a chimney is often the result of trapped water and gas trying to evaporate and having nowhere to go.

According to, chimney water protectants are unique in that they create a vapor permeable layer over the masonry. This is extremely important for the overall condition of the bricks and mortar. It allows water and gas to pass through the masonry without letting new water be absorbed into the bricks.

Our waterproofing products:

As CSIA certified chimney professionals, we understand the products that are best for your chimney and fireplace system. Not all waterproofing products are created equally. Because of this, only products specially designed for masonry should be used on your chimney.

We recommend and use ChimneySaver water protectants. Specially formulated for use on your chimney’s masonry, these products can extend the life of your fireplace system and help prevent many of the problems associated with chimney leaks.

Waterproofing your chimney can protect it against future water damage – and keep chimney leaks from ruining your fireplace this winter. For more information about having your chimney waterproofed, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

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