A very common problem in residential construction is a leaning chimney. Which way the chimney is leaning will tell you if you have a structural issue or a foundation issue. The two main types of leaning chimneys are:
- A Chimney Leaning AWAY from the house.
- A Chimney Leaning OVER or ON the house/roof.
If you have a chimney where the top portion (near the roof line) is leaning over or on the house and looks like if it continues it will come crashing into your home – you have a serious structural problem. The best bet here is to call a mason or structural contractor to make these repairs. A qualified contractor will most likely need to remove the brick above the roof structure, shore the existing framing and then replace the brick (or possibly go back with something lighter like stucco). You can find a short list of masonry contractors that we trust to do this work here.
If your chimney looks like it is leaning away from your house – as if it was going to fall in your yard – you most likely have a foundation problem. While there are many reasons a chimney can lean away from a house – the most common are
- uncompacted fill material (such as a chimney near a basement or deep crawlspace)
- Shallow footings
- Poor or unsuitable soils to handle a concentrated load
- Poor drainage/water management
In any of these cases, the use of a helical or resistance pier can be used to support the falling or leaning chimney. In many cases the chimney can be pushed back and lifted at the same time resulting in a much improved look. We typically see 50% or more of the chimney lean restored.
If you feel you have a chimney problem – and it appears to be a foundation problem – give our office a call to schedule a free evaluation.