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Photograph of a curved chimney separating from a building, viewed from outside (C) Daniel Friedman Curved Brick Chimneys
Chimmey Sulfation

  • CURVED BRICK CHIMNEYS, SULPHATION - CONTENTS: What causes curving of brick chimneys above the roof?Are curved chimneys in danger of collapse or do they have unsafe flues?
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the cause, importance, safety concerns, and repairs for curved chimneys and flues - what is sulphation, what causes a brick chimney to curve or lean?
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Curved chimneys & sulphation:

This article describes the cause, inspection, and evaluation of leaning-curved chimneys. Often a brick chimney is visibly curved or leaning above the building roof line.

If the cause is sulphation the chimney curving process is well understood, but further inspection of the chimney flue and the chimney stability are in order since a badly damaged brick chimney may have an unsafe flue or may collapse.

Our page top photo shows a curved brick chimney above the rooftop of a home in Hudson, NY. Look closely at the left edge of the brick chimney to best see this deformation.



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Curved Brick Chimneys: Definition of Chimney Sulphation

Photograph of a damaged unsafe brick chimney viewed from outside. Photograph of a curved chimney separating from a building, viewed from outside.

These articles on chimneys and chimney safety provide detailed suggestions describing how to perform a thorough visual inspection of chimneys for safety and other defects. Chimney inspection methods and chimney repair methods are also discussed.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Causes of curved chimneys (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Curved chimneys due to sulphation, Kingston NY (C) Daniel Friedman

Curves or bending in brick masonry chimneys are common on older homes and may not be evidence of actual chimney settlement or movement. Following our leaning chimnney sketch, courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates, Toronto, we show a quite-curved brick chimney atop an older home in Kingston, NY. The second chimney at right in the photo, has its narrow side facing the direction of principal weather and did not show the same sulphation curving.

[Click to enlarge any image]

A brick chimney may curve away from its most weather-exposed side due to sulphation: a term which describes expanding brick mortar joints caused by the combination of water and sulphur or other minerals.

As Carson Dunlop's sketch points out, curved chimneys seen above the roof line often are found in northern climates where:

A curved brick flue may might need repair or replacement but it's not certain. The flue interior needs to be inspected thoroughly for damage and stability.

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Continue reading at CHIMNEY MOVEMENT, ONGOING vs STATIC or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see these

Chimney Damage / Collapse Articles

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