Atlanta’s housing market boasts countless historic homes with unrivaled southern charm. Most of these homes are located in Atlanta’s most popular neighborhoods and fastest growing areas. We all know that purchasing a historic home comes with unique obstacles and is often filled with the unexpected. If you are willing to take on the challenges, owning a historic home can be incredibly rewarding. It is most common to first look at the interior of the home and consider what to expect, so let’s take it outside and look at what to expect from a historic chimney.   

Historic home chimney

Historic Home Chimneys May Not Have Flue Liners

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 historic homes built prior to that date do not have them. Lighting a fire in a chimney without a flue liner can be dangerous to the health of you and your loved ones. Contact us if your historic home doesn’t have a flue liner or if you are unsure whether one has been installed. Our professionals will determine if a liner is in place and which type best suits your home if one is absent. We’ll also happily install the correct flue liner for you! 

Structural Damage to Historic Home Chimneys

The structure of historic home chimneys is composed of old weathered brick and mortar which usually cracks and decays over time. There are often loose and deteriorated bricks which is called “spalling”. Spalling causes the chimney to lean and possibly collapse. Few owners of historic homes realize the extent to which their chimney is in need of 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.    

Excess Creosote Forms in Historic Home Chimneys

Creosote forms every time you use your fireplace. 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 build up due to the age of the structure and lack of a chimney flue. It is difficult to remove the excess build up without harming the structural integrity of the chimney. Our professionals are trained in the delicate work of removing creosote buildup. We will ensure that your chimney is safely cleaned and structurally sound.  

Decorative Structural Interior Pieces in Your Historic Home

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.