Fireplace and Chimney Inspections

Chimney and Fireplace Inspections Having your fireplace and chimney inspected at least once per year is considered to be “best practice” not only among fireplace and chimney professionals but also the The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

If your or home or building has multiple chimneys than it’s even more important that you have them inspected annually because you are at an increased risk for a failure of some type.

Sierra West Construction is a full service fireplace and chimney specialist serving Marin County and the North Bay area.  We specialize in very thorough fireplace and chimney inspections.  We can help you troubleshoot and fix complex chimney and fireplace problems.

What Are We Looking For During a Chimney Inspection?

Because of the heat, smoke and creosote a chimney and fireplace is exposed to there are numerous things that can go wrong with an improperly maintained chimney or fireplace.  We usually start with a visual inspection and go through all of the obvious and fine points of a chimney (often missed by home inspectors).

Chimney Cap and/or Crown – The top of your chimney is likely a chimney crown unless you have a cap installed.  If the chimney crown becomes cracked, it needs to be repaired so that moisture doesn’t pentrate behind your brickwork and possibly into your home.  Water and excess moisture is your chimneys biggest enemy.  This is an area any chimney inspector will spend a good amount of time.

Creosote Build Up – Whenever you burn wood fuel in your fireplace, smoke goes up the chimney and flammable creosote is deposited in the flue lining (inside your chimney).  Creosote is a mixture of black or brown tar and soot, which is a very fine carbon powder.  Creosote build up in your chimney can cause a dangerous chimney fire.

Problems With Brickwork – If your brickwork is starting to deteriorate and fail you might notice your chimney leaning, or collapsing, or there might be visible cracks in the brickwork.  A thorough inspector will be looking for any fine cracks that would be easy to glance over.  These tiny cracks can quickly become much larger, problematic cracks if they aren’t addressed quickly. Tuckpointing is the process that professional brick masons frequently perform on damaged brickwork.  The damaged mortar (and sometimes brick too) is removed and replaced with new mortar.

Cracks in The Chimney Flue – The liner in your chimney is subjected to a lot of stress, including heat and creosote deposits. If moisture combines with the creosote, the lining can quickly deteriorate. When a lining is cracked, it will need to be replaced before using the fireplace again or you could risk catching your home on fire.  Sierra West Construction can use a camera that will provide us with a very clear look at the liner in your chimney.

If you have a chimney or multiple chimneys on your home or building than Sierra West Construction can  provide with a chimney and fireplace expert to go through and document your entire chimney system.  If there any repairs required you’ll be notified and will have the peace of mind knowing that we have over 30 years experience in fireplace and chimney construction to the highest industry standards.