Leaning Chimney

Residential Services - Leaning Chimneys #11

There are several reasons why you would have a leaning chimney.

The general foundation of a house depends on the earth around it to keep it all solid and in place. The problem is that while a foundation can be built very precisely, one cannot compensate for the slow but constantly varying changes that occur over time to the soil and ground around the foundation.

Many soils, for example, expand and contract due to differing conditions. The clay in soil becomes weak when it is saturated with water which in turn permits the foundation to sink into the ground.

Another common cause of foundation shifts is the presence of trees and big bushes in the vicinity of the building. Trees can drain so much water from the area that it too can affect the foundation of the house. Similarly, improper drainage can cause structural settlement.

Common Causes of a Leaning Chimney

  • Type of Surrounding Soil
  • Expansion/Contraction of Soil
  • Weak “Elastic” Soil
  • Proximity of Landscaping
  • Poor Drainage Around Foundation

The other main contributor to any settlement is backfilled soil that is regularly used when constructing a building. If this compacted soil has the wrong concentration, it too can have damaging effects on the foundation of your house.

This is all very relevant to this discussion because the chimney is typically the heaviest part of your house. When the aforementioned soil problems occur, it is usually the chimney that shows the first effects of the shift. When it submerges it starts to arc away from the building. This effect, known as ‘settling’ can have other consequences, not least of which is a sharp drop in the value of the structure.  These signs are ominous and once they start, the problem usually continues to worsen.

Temporary fixes like strapping rarely make sense.  This just postpones instead of preventing the problem and this is too big a job to do it yourself.  So as soon as you see any sort of deterioration in the chimney, it’s best to get it sorted out.  You can easily get a free quote for the repair of the structure.