Do You Have A Leaning/Tilting Chimney?
Chimney problems continue to be a common occurrence in the foundation repair industry in the Charlotte market. Chimneys have the vulnerability of having an excessive amount of weight constructed on a fixed point. Often, chimney foundations are poured much too thin or too small as well as being honeycombed up under the chimney itself. Improperly compacted soil at the time of construction can also be an important factor in the development of chimney rotation. Settlement of chimneys is rare, however, rotation away from the structure is a common symptom reported with notable deflection being noticed at the top of the chimney along the flashing. The rotation often starts as a minor symptom of 1/2 inch or less at the top but can increase in amplitude to several inches if allowed to progress without stabilization protocols being put in place. Seasonal changes as well as periods of wet followed by drought cause surface soil shrinkage and expansion that can accelerate chimney rotation away from the structure. As a rule, the faster the homeowner can react, the better the chances of avoiding permanent cosmetic damage to the structure.
You can see here on a recent install the deflection before repair.
And After Repair.
It is certainly a happy ending to have a homeowner so satisfied with the end result of the stabilization procedure. This chimney rotated back 100% however, cosmetic crack closure or movement inside the work area is not guaranteed by the foundation repair contractor for the deep foundation protocol. Only stabilization from additional movement. This expectation is often overlooked, ignored, and/or not explained properly to homeowners by inexperienced commission based sales people in the industry. Time is of the essence when installing a deep foundation under a chimney. The longer the homeowner waits to install a deep foundation, the more rotation of the chimney can occur over time, as well as masonry debris falling in behind the chimney preventing rotation back to the original position. One pebble of masonry debris can cause up to 10,000 pounds of resistance once the deep foundation has been installed and loaded. On this particular job we chose to use micro piles for our foundation underpinning units as opposed to a helical piers or push piers. A drilled piling encased in concrete is able to generate a much higher capacity as well as keeping the homeowner on a fixed cost without the chance of overages for excessive depths.
For more information about chimney stabilization and/or foundation repair in general please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free phone consultation. We are here to help!
Michael P. Masserang
Independent Foundation Repair Specialist