Atlanta’s housing market boasts countless historic homes with unrivaled southern charm. Most of these homes are located in Atlanta’s most popular and fastest-growing neighborhoods. Most hopeful buyers know that purchasing a historic home has unique obstacles and is often filled with the unexpected. Owning a historic home can be incredibly rewarding if you are willing to take on the challenges. It is most common to first look at the home’s interior and consider what to expect, so let’s take it outside and look at what to expect from a historic chimney.
No Chimney Flue Liner
Chimney flue liners are an extremely important component of the chimney as they keep toxic gas, heat, and creosote inside the flue and outside of your home. Flue liners were not required by code until 1927, so most homes built prior to the requirement do not have chimney flue liners. Since flue liners are so important, this is something that must be addressed by a professional early on with a historic chimney. There are various factors involved in determining the correct type of flue liner to use and how to install, so it is definitely a project to leave to the professionals.
The structure of historic chimneys is composed of old weathered brick and mortar, which usually cracks and decays over time. There are often loose and deteriorated bricks which are called “spalling.” Spalling causes the chimney to lean and possibly collapse. Few historic homeowners realize the extent their chimney might need restoration and how time-sensitive it might be to complete. Structural repairs are the most important, but there is often a lot of work required to bring a chimney up to current codes as well as cosmetic issues to address. It is important to have a professional inspection completed to address the structural problems, code adherence, and cosmetic issues. A professional chimney inspection can help you get ahead of masonry damage and avoid a full rebuild.
Creosote forms every time you use your fireplace, and if not consistently cleaned, buildup occurs, causing a fire hazard. This solid, flakey, or sticky substance naturally builds up in your flue over time. Historic chimneys often host excessive creosote buildup due to the age of the structure and lack of a chimney flue. It is not a simple task to carefully remove the excess buildup and not harm the historic integrity of the chimney. The process is detailed and tedious to remove the buildup and maintain the chimney structure.
Decorative Structural Interior Pieces
Historic homes often have built-in wooden bookshelves, cabinetry, or wood trim next to the chimney. These features might be beautiful, but they are a fire hazard and against current code. It is understandable that homeowners want to preserve the historic decorative elements of the home without compromising their safety, but it is a challenging task to do so. However, adjustments can be made to the chimney structure to accommodate for these historic decorative elements and allow them to remain in place. It is truly a rewarding project for our professionals to make your chimney safe while maintaining the characteristics provided by the decorative structural interior pieces.
Historic chimneys require a lot of detailed work but are one of our favorite projects. We would love to get yours up to current code while maintaining its unique character. Give us a call today to schedule a visit from one of our professionals.