Was your home built in the 1950s or before? Mid-20th century homes have outdated chimneys that may not meet building code requirements. If the chimney was built using a multiple-wythe construction, then the masonry may need to be updated.
What Is a Wythe?
In masonry, the wythe refers to a one-unit, vertical section of a chimney. By one unit, this means it only contains a single column of brick on each side. Older chimneys may contain multiple wythes. While this provided more durability, it also reduced the structure’s draft capabilities.
Homes built in the early 1900s, for example, often contained a two-wythe chimney consisting of an inner wall made from concrete and an outer wall containing bricks. The two columns are held in place using header bricks or metal ties. While these chimneys withstood the test of time, the construction did not allow for adequate insulation.
Furthermore, early tuckpointing techniques seldom contained the addition of weep holes. Weep holes are gaps in the mortar that provide for ventilation and drainage. Even if weep holes were included, it was usually only the outer wall that contained them.
Finally, most multi-wythe masonries lacked a proper chimney flue liner, which is essential for proper ventilation. Even the ones that do contain a flue liner are often inadequate because the construction process only consisted of clay tiles. Modern liners are typically made from metal, which protects the wythe from condensate that can erode the bricks.
We’ll Fix Your Outdated Chimney
The Snohomish area contains some very beautiful old-style homes. Even if these homes have been updated, the chimney was often left as it is. If you have an older chimney, then call Powers Chimney & Masonry to have it repaired to today’s standards. It is imperative that your outdated chimney be modernized if you plan on using it any time soon.
An Up to Date Chimney Is a Safe Chimney
Serving the communities of Arlington, Everett, Edmonds, Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville and all South Snohomish & North King County
Edited by Justin Vorhees