What To Do with a Spalling Brick Chimney 

With fall's arrival and cooler temperatures, you will probably be using your fireplace, but have you noticed chunks of brick on the ground around your chimney or white stains on the chimney's exterior? If the answer is yes, you are dealing with a spalling chimney, which, if left unattended, can bring inconvenience and financial strain. It's a serious structural issue that requires swift attention from a qualified professional chimney sweep service. Don't fret over a spalling; here is what to do with a spalling brick chimney.

What is Spalling?

Spalling is a condition that arises due to moisture being absorbed by your chimney's bricks, leading to damage during freeze-thaw cycles from expansion and contraction or incompatible or poor-quality materials that were used during construction. 

Signs of Spalling

  • Flaking or peeling of the surface layer
  • Chunks of brick or mortar falling off
  • Visible cracks or gaps in the mortar
  • Damp patches or mildew growth

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Chimney Inspection

Visual Check

The chimney sweeps will begin by conducting a visual inspection. If the chimney sweeps can safely access your roof, they will take a closer look at the chimney, conducting a detailed examination of your chimney's bricks and mortar.

Tapping Test

The chimney sweeps may perform a tapping test by gently knocking on the bricks with a metal object and listening for a hollow sound; if they hear the sound, it's likely that your chimney's brick has deteriorated and needs replacing.

Inspection Equipment

For a more in-depth analysis, it's advisable to call a qualified chimney sweep service to perform a detailed inspection. The chimney sweeps may use special equipment, such as a chimney camera, to assess the interior lining and other elements not visible from the outside.

If you hear popping and cracking noises from your chimney, your chimney should be inspected right away.

Repair of a Spalling Chimney


The first step in the repair of a spalling chimney is a thorough cleaning. A professional chimney sweep service will remove soot, creosote, and debris, making examining and repairing the chimney easier.


If the mortar has deteriorated, but the bricks are still in good condition, repointing might be necessary. Repointing is the process of removing the old mortar and replacing it with new mortar. Professional chimney sweeps should only do repointing, as incorrect techniques can make spalling worse.

Brick Replacement

In more severe spalling cases, bricks will need to be replaced. The chimney sweeps will carefully remove the impacted bricks without damaging the surrounding structure and install new, matching bricks.


After repairing or replacing the brick and mortar, a sealant may be applied to prevent moisture from infiltrating the chimney in the future. The type of sealant will depend on the materials used in the structure of your chimney.

Liner Installation

In some cases, installing a new chimney liner may be recommended, especially if the spalling has compromised the internal structure. A new liner has the added benefit of improving the efficiency and safety of your fireplace.

Spalling Repair Timeline

The time required for repair will vary depending on the scope of the spalling damage. Repointing might take a day, while brick replacement and liner installation could take several days.

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Final Thoughts

Your home's chimney is not merely there to enhance the aesthetics of your house; it plays a crucial role in safely venting smoke and deadly gases from your fireplace. So, regular inspection and prompt repair of any spalling issues are critical. Only rely on certified chimney sweep services for inspection and repair to ensure the longevity and safety of your chimney.

By being proactive, you can preserve the integrity of your chimney for years to come.

Chimney Sweeps, Inc. Can Fix Your Spalling Chimney

If your chimney is spalling and you live in the wider San Diego area, we can save your chimney. Call us right away at 619-593-4020 or use our easy contact form. One of our chimney experts will answer any questions about how we will repair your spalling chimney. Don't wait until your chimney collapses; get in touch today.

You Can Count On Chimney Sweeps INC.

If it's caught too late, spalling can lead to some very expensive repairs.

Don't wait! If you notice signs of spalling bricks, schedule an inspection with us today and our chimney professionals will get your chimney back in tip-top shape.

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