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Thread: Chimney shifted

  1. #1
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    Default Chimney shifted

    House built in the '40s, the chimney is coming away from the house about 1/2" as shown. The distance from the house seems to be nearly the same all the way down...which is not what I usually see...so I would not call it "leaning". Obviously this is a defect, but I'm looking for advice on recommendations. Should they monitor it? Call a chimney pro to evaluate? if so, is a mason the right trade? If repair recommended, how do you fix this?

    Chimney looks pretty good from the top side. I've included a few other pics for reference.

    One added note, the house is in an area of our town that flooded fairly significantly in 2008...not sure if that had anything to do with it.

    Thanks,

    Dave

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Rose View Post
    House built in the '40s, the chimney is coming away from the house about 1/2" as shown. The distance from the house seems to be nearly the same all the way down...which is not what I usually see...so I would not call it "leaning". Obviously this is a defect, but I'm looking for advice on recommendations. Should they monitor it? Call a chimney pro to evaluate? if so, is a mason the right trade? If repair recommended, how do you fix this?

    Chimney looks pretty good from the top side. I've included a few other pics for reference.

    One added note, the house is in an area of our town that flooded fairly significantly in 2008...not sure if that had anything to do with it.

    Thanks,

    Dave
    I would put a level on it and verify the plumbness in all directions. It appears to me that it had previously moved and has moved again since repair.

    Is that part of the area known to have expansive type of clay soils? If so, then yes it could be a result of changes in the moisture content of the soil. The soil will expand with moisture and shrink with lack of moisture.

    It does not appear to be in danger of collapsing. However, I would recommend inspection by a structural engineer.


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Anybody can see that there has been movement so it must go into the report with some kind of action they can take.
    The chimney could be tied back to the roof with metal supports and a big clamp. It looks pretty stable from the pictures, and odds are they will do nothing.

    I have recommended that a few times. One house near here has a curving chimney. I called for metal brackets and supports Ten Years Ago. It is still standing as it was, leaning across the driveway.

    A plumb bob is handy for a dramatic picture of something like that.
    Sometimes I wonder if the house did all the moving. Plumb bob.

    Standard clearance between wood frame and masonry fireplace is 2". That's so the little brown bats can get in there.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 02-02-2017 at 01:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Paul and John point out the real first question that you should be asking. Did the chimney move or did the house. Knee jerk reaction is to blame it on the chimney, but maybe not..


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    In addition to the other great opinions...

    1. Chimney top there is no crown. This leaves water no path to drip out beyond brick, where do you think that water is going? That cap is useless, and non professional.
    2. Different brick - repaired why?
    3. New tile liner - previous repairs.
    4. Water against chimney foundation - freeze thaw action? How deep is chimney foundation? Shallow?
    5. What does vendor have in way of history?
    6. Chimney flashing appears to be lacking sealant or inset? Again water going down in behind flashing to foundation?
    7. Is it possible after the flood ground frost set in?


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    2. Different brick - repaired why?
    That or the brick is drying out as the shadow cast by the roof is allowing the sun to heat it up and dry it out.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Jerry

    Take a closer look. There are two different sizes of brick.


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Jerry

    Take a closer look. There are two different sizes of brick.
    Raymond,

    Thanks, I missed that.

    But the dark/light pattern looks like a drying out pattern, which is what I saw.

    I need to keep up the old practice of 'look closely'.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Yes I thought staining too (the wet look) but then as I pointed out above look at the top of the chimney and lack of crown and the flashing at chimney.

    For my liking I think I would have gone onto roof and given the chimney a light push to see if it moved to any degree. Believe it or not have pushed chimneys from when I am on the roof and have seen some play in questionable chimneys.


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    For my liking I think I would have gone onto roof and given the chimney a light push to see if it moved to any degree. Believe it or not have pushed chimneys from when I am on the roof and have seen some play in questionable chimneys.
    What would you do if a chimney toppled over some day when you pushed on it?

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    I see a block foundation under the porch.
    Likely the chimney foundation has settled.

    Identify the chimney foundation.
    Assess all connecting components.
    Draw your analyses from there.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Fortunately that has not happened, but I also don't throw my whole weight behind the push either. No more force than a good wind perhaps.

    Up here over a decade ago there was a brick chimney that extended up one story, 3 flues wide, fairly new house too. One day there was a hell of a wind, and the chimney blew over through the roof down through the family room where the owner was sitting in his Lazy Boy, and carried him right into the basement.


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Yes I thought staining too (the wet look) but then as I pointed out above look at the top of the chimney and lack of crown and the flashing at chimney.

    For my liking I think I would have gone onto roof and given the chimney a light push to see if it moved to any degree. Believe it or not have pushed chimneys from when I am on the roof and have seen some play in questionable chimneys.
    This is a regular practice for me when inspecting chimneys. A little hand pressure just to see if it is secured to the house. It doesn't take much. I would say about 20% of the chimneys I see on and outside facing wall move with some hand pressure. I have seen some chimneys that had so much sway with the lightest of pressure that I'm sure could be toppled with one good push.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Nick, I was a practicing mason and built many exterior wall chimneys.
    If the masonry was tied into the veneer adequately, bond locked, they are fixed in place.

    If the chimney was added on, drainage, aggregate, and the foundation is important.

    In all my years on roofs and chimneys, I have never seen one sway when force is applied.

    I have seen chimney's arch, bend, lean off plumb due to prevailing winds and mortar degradation. Repeated hydration on the windward side degrades the mortar. Over time the chimney arches to one side.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    There is a crown on the cap and a drip edge brick row. I did push on it, no movement. The house had only one minor area of settling evidence elsewhere, on the opposite side some small cracks in foundation at the corner, through the mortar joints...and inside the house there were minimal/no settling cracks in the walls/etc....so I don't think the house has moved. All windows and doors opened/shut well too, although they are newer so could have been installed later and "made" to work well even with a shifted frame. Yes I noticed there had been repairs...I didn't ask about that....the rain cap and vermin guard appear new....and this chimney is for a fireplace...so I did recommend a full chimney inspection also. The smoke chamber is corbelled so I usually recommend parging smooth also. My main question is, what types of fixes are common for leaning chimneys.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Nick, I was a practicing mason and built many exterior wall chimneys.
    If the masonry was tied into the veneer adequately, bond locked, they are fixed in place.

    If the chimney was added on, drainage, aggregate, and the foundation is important.

    In all my years on roofs and chimneys, I have never seen one sway when force is applied.

    I have seen chimney's arch, bend, lean off plumb due to prevailing winds and mortar degradation. Repeated hydration on the windward side degrades the mortar. Over time the chimney arches to one side.
    What repairs do you recommend for a leaning chimney? And how do you determine when a lean is "too much"?


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Rose View Post
    There is a crown on the cap and a drip edge brick row.
    That is not a traditional concrete crown. The crown extends/over hangs 4" past the chimney wall, and has a capillary break. The bottom is not flat but angled back 15%. Water defies gravity.

    chimney crown..JPG

    What you are describing are corbeled rowlock bricks at 15% angle to shed water.
    Any photos?
    If you do not know how up upload images, just ask. Be happy to help.

    As well I see many chimney tops are flaunched with concrete.
    Not a very good idea.
    flaunched crown..JPG flaunched crown.JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Rose View Post
    I did push on it, no movement. The house had only one minor area of settling evidence elsewhere, on the opposite side some small cracks in foundation at the corner, through the mortar joints...and inside the house there were minimal/no settling cracks in the walls/etc....so I don't think the house has moved. All windows and doors opened/shut well too, although they are newer so could have been installed later and "made" to work well even with a shifted frame. Yes I noticed there had been repairs...I didn't ask about that....the rain cap and vermin guard appear new....and this chimney is for a fireplace...so I did recommend a full chimney inspection also. The smoke chamber is corbelled so I usually recommend parging smooth also. My main question is, what types of fixes are common for leaning chimneys.
    Rain cap/vermin? Oh..."Flue Cap & Ember guard"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Rose View Post
    What repairs do you recommend for a leaning chimney? And how do you determine when a lean is "too much"?
    Recommend a licensed mason evalaute the chimney and crown.
    Act upon any recommendations therein.
    Pass your liabilities on to the professional.
    No more. No less.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    No mention of probing the soil to determine if the footing extends 6" out from the base of the chimney.
    Agree use plumb bob to determine whether house vs chimney shifted.
    Chimney has been repaired with un-matching brick-why? Lightning? Looks horrible.
    That's a crown wash or splay vs. a cast crown. Cast crown with overhang 4" with drip edge or raked to create drip edge
    No cricket
    Chimney needs level II inspection with video scan. That will confirm the condition of the flue tiles, joints, alignment and suitability for the application.
    Exterior chimneys require 1" clearance to combustibles.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Not familiar with a level chimney 2 inspection.
    I do 15 point masonry fireplace/chimney. Foundation, ashpit, smoke self, damper, etc..

    I used a lamp on a extension cord and good camera.
    I an thinking about using a fish cam. My boar scope has a limited field of vision.
    Thoughts Bob?

    As well I did a course count. No cricket required but certainly practical. Proper selvage a headwall flashing are very important in any situation like that.
    Hard to find identical brick. I combed reclaim yards for decades.
    Lookls like a practicing mason without much field experience.
    Erecting masonry free standing structure tests a mason ability. There as a structure in place for him/her to follow.

    Last edited by ROBERT YOUNG; 02-06-2017 at 07:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    As well I did a course count. No cricket required ...
    How did you arrive at a width from the course count? Curious.

    If the flue is larger than 6", then that chimney is 30" or wider (based on the estimated chimney width of being approximately four flue tiles wide), and more than 30" wide requires a cricket.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    How did you arrive at a width from the course count? Curious.

    If the flue is larger than 6", then that chimney is 30" or wider (based on the estimated chimney width of being approximately four flue tiles wide), and more than 30" wide requires a cricket.
    Afternoon Jerry.
    Requiring and having a cricket are two different things.
    As expressed, In situations where the chimney butt wall is perpendicular the eave of a roof, a cricket is advisable.

    I could be wrong and should have stated looks like.
    My fault.

    The chimney appears square.
    Standard bricks are: 3-5/8" x 2-1/4" x 8". Add >< 1/2" for the butt joint mortar bond. 24" + 3-5/8" + 1.5" = ><29, say 30. That is if the are standard bricks.
    Modular. 3-5/8" x 2-1/4" x 7-5/8". Again, under 30"

    I number the dimensions on the corbeled course. That is wider as you know.

    The original brick appear to be norman.
    3-5/8" x 1-5/8" x 11-5/8" They do not look queen dimension. 3-1/8" x 2-3/4" x 9-5/8"

    chimney course count.JPG



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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Robert,

    You didn't count the courses (vertically), you counted the bricks (horizontally) - that 'counted the courses' to get width is what was confusing.

    Any projection through or adjacent to the roof requires a cricket if more than 30" wide (chimney or whatever the projection may be), except for skylights which are designed not to have a cricket and flashed according to the manufacturer's instructions, and, yes, it is advisable for most smaller projections to have a cricket too.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    "As well I did a course count." I took it self explanatory. Width dimension was/is required.

    Dimensions. The original courses are norman. 2 X
    3-5/8" x 2-3/4" x 11-5/8". 12" when dressed.
    2 X 12" is 24".
    2 X
    3-5/8" when dressed with mortar is 4".
    3 sides to dress. Two butt ends and one side.

    That is a 28" inch wide chimney. < 30"

    That is why the used standard bricks and not modular brick. The butt and side dressing would be odd looking.

    Never heard of a 6" clay flue liner.
    Flue Ring Sizes yes.
    They start at 8" x 8" 81/2" x 81/2 "in my neck of the woods and have been for as long as I been in the business. Round flue liners can be 6".


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    The easiest way to ascertain if the chimney is secured via ties is to remove the caulking from both sides. This would allow one to see through from one side to the other and see if ties are present in the gap.


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Here is where you can access NFPA 211 online for free: NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances

    Check out chapter 15 on levels of inspection first. Pg 46

    It is echoed by the IRC/ IBC which calls for a cricket when the chimney exceeds 30" in width measured on the uphill side. If you have 6.5 bricks per course you're looking at a chimney over 50" wide.

    I hope you were joking about the lamp and camera taped to it.

    A level II would put you into the attic to see if there is a bond beam tied back into the framing for example. It would also give clues as to why this ham-handed repair.

    When you find one red flag you're bound to find a lot more.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Dimensions. The original courses are norman. 2 X [/COLOR][COLOR=#424242][FONT=Helvetica]3-5/8" x 2-3/4" x 11-5/8". 12" when dressed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    It is echoed by the IRC/ IBC which calls for a cricket when the chimney exceeds 30" in width measured on the uphill side. If you have 6.5 bricks per course you're looking at a chimney over 50" wide.
    Robert's dimensions of the original brick courses puts the width right at 52".

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Here is where you can access NFPA 211 online for free: NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances

    Check out chapter 15 on levels of inspection first. Pg 46
    Much thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    It is echoed by the IRC/ IBC which calls for a cricket when the chimney exceeds 30" in width measured on the uphill side.
    Chimney wall abutment facing upstream. Forgot that narrative. Thanks again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    If you have 6.5 bricks per course you're looking at a chimney over 50" wide.
    Not necessarily. Brick dimensions very.
    Canada. Brampton brick being a large producer.
    Modular. 7 1/2" - 8" - 11 5/8'. Norman/Roman 11 1.2" Premium 10 1/8"

    Upstream, downstream side. Forgot that narrative. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    I hope you were joking about the lamp and camera taped to it.
    Pardon me. I should have explained better.
    I had (hundreds) of feet of extension cables and 2 generators.
    Extension Cable.: 10 gauge, 8 gauge, 16 gauge light duty.
    I had quick cut saws, gas and electric.
    4", 4 1/5", 7", 12 and 14". Only used diamond blades.
    Why wear down brushes on armatures? My tools save me money and time.
    I want full ampacity.

    Extension Cable. 16 gauge 100 foot extension cord with a mechanics "metal or plastic shielded lamp" on an extension cord.
    I stood on the crown, still do, lowed the lamp and zoomed in on defects.
    Typically flue liners lost mortar bond and shifted.
    I recommended stainless flue inserts.
    Galvanised were cheaper but, life expectancy was cut by half.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    A level II would put you into the attic to see if there is a bond beam tied back into the framing for example. It would also give clues as to why this ham-handed repair.
    Only seen this once. Oversized Masonry case.
    It would be impossible to replace the stainless liners without disassembling the masonry chimney. Bond beams every 4'. What a mess.
    I will try to look up the photo.
    I replaced the crown, installed correct flashings, replaced some shingles. The "cost plus" contract was disputed. Lost $1000.00 of overtime and materials.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    When you find one red flag you're bound to find a lot more.
    I concur.
    That can be said for all structure, component and system assessments:-)

    Best.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Nick, I was a practicing mason and built many exterior wall chimneys.
    If the masonry was tied into the veneer adequately, bond locked, they are fixed in place.

    If the chimney was added on, drainage, aggregate, and the foundation is important.

    In all my years on roofs and chimneys, I have never seen one sway when force is applied.

    I have seen chimney's arch, bend, lean off plumb due to prevailing winds and mortar degradation. Repeated hydration on the windward side degrades the mortar. Over time the chimney arches to one side.
    Then you should come down to Pennsylvania for a visit Robert. I'm not even exaggerating when I say I've some that could be probably be toppled with one good push. It can be eye popping how much some chimneys move with such little pressure.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What would you do if a chimney toppled over some day when you pushed on it?
    Jerry,

    "Failed under test".

    That almost happened to me one time. Stone chimney - in the middle of a roof. I pushed and had to grab it to keep it from falling down.

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Jerry,

    "Failed under test".

    That almost happened to me one time. Stone chimney - in the middle of a roof. I pushed and had to grab it to keep it from falling down.
    I guess I was fortunate in that I never found any loose chimneys - while I did not give them an intentional 'push' test, I would either put a ladder against them or lean on them to look down as best possible, so I guess that would have been considered an 'unintentional push test'.

    On a side note, has anyone else noticed that a certain person has not posted in the last several days? I wonder if he is just busy, on vacation, or went home mad because we weren't buying what he was selling?

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    You spoke to soon Jerry. What would you have done when your ladder against the chimney pushed it over?


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    You spoke to soon Jerry. What would you have done when your ladder against the chimney pushed it over?
    Used my phrase:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Jerry,

    "Failed under test".


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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Robert's dimensions of the original brick courses puts the width right at 52".
    How do you determine that?

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    Default Re: Chimney shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    How do you determine that?
    Did you read the quote of yours that I included with that?

    In case you missed it:


    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG
    Dimensions. The original courses are norman. 2 X 3-5/8" x 2-3/4" x 11-5/8". 12" when dressed.
    Do the math - 12" x 4 bricks + 4" for the end = 12 x 4 = 48 + 4 = 52".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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