Hello, it’s Captain Creosote with another homeowner tip.

What is the white stuff on my chimney?

Did you ever notice white powdery or white crystallized substance on your stone, block, or brick masonry chimney? You may think it’s just a common aging process, but it is really a sign of a more serious issue with your chimney. The white “stuff’ is called “efflorescence”.

Many homeowners don’t pay attention to efflorescence. Some may view it as just an eyesore. Other homeowners think it’s just natural aging. It is really a sign that the chimney is allowing water through the masonry and causing structural deterioration and other problems. Brick is like a sponge in that it does not act as a barrier against moisture.

Left alone, this problem will turn serious and your chimney will experience major structural damage. Just as other maintenance issues with your home, the longer it is not corrected the more damage your home will experience which means a bigger repair bill.

Washing it off and then sealing the chimney will not correct this problem.  You would just be correcting a symptom. Most likely the chimney has missing mortar, cracks, missing caps, bad flashing, or other problems that a certified chimney professional will be able to determine.

If your stone, block, or masonry brick is showing signs of efflorescence you need to have your chimney and fireplace system inspected by a certified chimney sweep. They will find the source of the problem and then repair it correctly.

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So that’s our fireplace tip this week. You all stay safe.

See ya,

Captain Creosote

English Sweep