Tips to Prepare Your Chimney/Fireplace for the Fall

Did you know that fireplaces and chimneys play a part in 42% of all home-heating fires? The colder months are fast approaching, and natural gas prices can add hundreds of dollars to heating bills. For this reason, many homeowners will be using their wood-burning fireplaces this fall. As the leading provider of brick pointing in Philadelphia, we’ve provided this video to advise homeowners of some essential tips to help prepare their fireplace area for fall conditions: 

Hire a Chimney Sweep

Before you light the first fire of the season, schedule an inspection with a professional, certified chimney sweep. These experts can make sure that all accumulated creosote deposits have been removed, helping to avoid the possibility of a fire. Professionals will check the seals on all the gaskets to prevent air leakage. They can also replace any broken brickwork that could cause damage and test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Check for Additional Damage and Cap the Chimney

On top of thoroughly cleaning your chimney and fireplace, chimney sweeps should inspect the structure for any loose bricks, cracks, or missing mortar. The chimney liners should be checked for deterioration. And a cap should be fitted at the top of the chimney. Caps have wire-mesh sides covers that stop rain, squirrels, birds, and debris from entering your home. If your cap is missing or damaged, we recommend getting it replaced. 

Burn Seasonal Hardwoods and Don’t Overload the Chimney

Use dense woods, like oak, that has been split and stored in dry environments for at least six months. Greener wood and resinous softwoods such as pine will produce lots of creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of the combustion process that can quickly build up in the chimney. Smaller fires create less smoke and less creosote buildup. Also, fires that are too hot or large can cause damage to the structural integrity of a chimney.

Build the Fire Correctly

Be sure to place logs near the rear of the fireplace on top of a metal grate, Also, use kindling instead of flammable liquids to get the fire started.
For additional information, and to schedule brick repairs in Philadelphia, visit our website today.

How to Know Your Chimney Is Overdue For a Sweeping

Here at Above All Chimney & Masonry, our experts are the people homeowners in Philadelphia call for chimney repairs. But there are some effective ways to avoid the need for chimney repair, and one of the best is by hiring a chimney sweep. 

But maybe you’re not sure whether this service is really necessary at this time. To find out, here are some signs that you can look for. If you’ve noticed any of them, it’s time to call us. 

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4 Signs Your Chimney Needs Repair

Sometimes it can be almost impossible to spot signs that your chimney needs repairing. However, by scheduling regular maintenance checks, homeowners can avoid house fires and having their chimneys collapse, two potentially hazardous problems. Here at Above All Chimney & Masonry, we provide a range of services including chimney repair, flue repair, and brick pointing in Philadelphia, PA, and the surrounding area.

Below are some telltale signs that your chimney may need to be repaired:

Bricks Falling Into Your Yard Area

Have you noticed full bricks or parts of bricks falling from your chimney into your yard area? If so, your chimney is spalling. Spalling can be fixed by having a professional remove and replace all damaged bricks and add a waterproof sealant to prevent any future damage from occurring. The benefit of having a professional undertake this work is that they can check for any other problems that may cause further damage to your chimney’s structural integrity.

Warped or Discolored Wallpaper Around the Chimney Area

If the wallpaper beneath your chimney stack is showing signs of discoloration or warping, this could be a signal that your chimney is letting in water. If the chimney crown is cracked or damaged, water can leak through and run down your chimney and into your home. Chimney leaks are a common cause of damaged wallpaper, so we recommend calling a professional the second you notice any changes occurring.

White Staining/Efflorescence

White discoloration present on the exterior of a chimney is called efflorescence. This staining is a sign of moisture problems within the masonry. If this moisture isn’t dealt with professionally, the chimney is likely to deteriorate. This could lead to further issues as the structural integrity of the chimney becomes increasingly compromised.


If you notice rust appearing on your damper or firebox, it’s another sign of excess moisture within your chimney. This rust could be due to cracked flue tiles letting water enter into our home. Chimney sweeps use professional camera equipment to inspect the flue lining and make sure that there are no serious issues that could cause a house fire or any other type of dangerous situation.

Watch our video to see what these signs look like: 

For chimney and brick repair in Philadelphia, PA, and other local areas, click here today to contact the professionals at Above All Chimney & Masonry.

3 Signs That Your Chimney or Masonry Needs Repointing

Spring is the perfect time to get your home’s chimney and other masonry repaired. The warmer months are the time of year when you spend the most time in your backyard, for barbecues, pool parties, and other fun occasions with friends and family. Let the brick, stone, or stucco finishes of your masonry be the star of your next backyard get-together.

When homeowners in the Langhorne, PA area need stone pointing or repointing, they know who to call: Above All Chimney & Masonry. (Pointing refers to the “joints” in masonry: the mortar that holds the bricks together. Repointing repairs these joints, thus strengthening the structure.)

The chimney and masonry experts at Above All Chimney & Masonry have been doing all kinds of work, including brick pointing, in Langhorne, PA and surrounding areas for decades. Is it time to let them improve the look and structural integrity of your home? Here are some signs that point to your masonry needing repointing:


If your mortar is not the same color it used to be, or the color is mismatched, this may be a sign of weathering and deterioration. Or, it could be a result of an inferior attempt at repointing at some point in the past.


When mortar begins to weaken, one of the first signs is flaking. With pieces of mortar starting to fall off, it’s a sign that the mortar is no longer able to hold itself together. It’s also a warning that the mortar will soon be unable to safely hold the structure together.  


Another sign of weakening mortar is the appearance of cracks. Even small cracks can cause big problems for structural integrity.

Does your chimney or masonry need repointing? If any of these signs point to “yes,” you’ve come to the right place: Above All Chimney & Masonry.

With years of experience, Above All Chimney & Masonry can bring your dilapidated chimney and other masonry back to its former glory. Their work is efficient, the materials they use are durable, and their free estimates let you know how much you can expect to pay before they start working.

You don’t have to diagnose your chimney problems on your own. That’s what we’re here for. Contact Above All Chimney & Masonry today and request a free estimate.

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