Transite chimney (C) Daniel FriedmanOutdoor Chimney Inspection Checklist
20 defects found on chimneys by outdoor inspection

  • CHIMNEY INSPECTION OUTDOORS - CONTENTS: How to inspect chimneys from outside the building - an Inspection checklist for chimney defects found on building exteriors. How to inspect chimneys & flues from outside the building - a checklist form aids in noting & recording chimney problems
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about chimney structural or safety inspections performed from outside

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Chimney inspection checklist for outdoors:

This article provides a detailed chimney inspection checklist for use when inspecting a building chimney from outdoors. Chimney inspections made outdoors may be from the ground, from a ladder, or from the rooftop. Keep in mind that rooftop chimney defects and hazards are often not visible from ground level.

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Detailed Outside Chimney Inspection 20-Item Checklist

Wood framed chimney chase (C) Daniel FriedmanHere is a chimney inspection checklist built from multiple contributors.

Contact Us if you have corrections or additions for this chimney inspection checklist.

Watch out: no checklist can be complete, and you should never rely only on a checklist to perform a building inspection.

A checklist is useful to help avoid forgetting certain key steps, but it is always possible that other defects are present that are not on your checklist.

Readers of this outdoor chimney inspection checklist should be sure to review the illustrated chimney defect and inspection procedures at CHIMNEY INSPECTION from GROUNDCHIMNEY INSPECTION at ROOFTOP.

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.

We list these observations in a order (not the only possible order) that might be followed by a visual inspection beginning outdoors and continuing indoors throughout the building, basement to attic, and including appliances or devices that vent through a chimney.

Outside Chimney Defect Observations to Note & Report

Chimney Inspection Checklist - Outdoor Observations
Item #

20 Chimney Concern / Defects observed outdoors

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Building ID & Location: __________________________________________

Date & Time: _________________________________________________

Inspector: ____________________________________________________

1 Chimney movement: leaning, settling, bending, breaking, cracks, separation from the building, bad footing;  
2 Chimney height: too short, inadequate clearance above roof; CHIMNEY HEIGHT & CLEARANCE CODE
3 Chimney height too tall without bracing;  
4 Chimney exterior cracked, spalled, loose masonry components (bricks, blocks) or loose, missing mortar  
5 Chimney leaks: water leaking into the chimney interior or structure, such as efflorescence, frost cracking, spalling  
6 Chimney cap missing, chimney cap not draining; wrong type of cap for flue type or items being vented  
7 Chimney crown cracked, damaged, missing, leaking, or not properly sloped to drain off of the chimney top; no drip edge over chimney sides  
8 Chimney crown (or cap in some parlance) missing capillary break between top crown and masonry chimney body (frost damage) CHIMNEY SHROUDS

Chimney flues, multiple, terminating at same height at chimney top - masonry chimneys

10 Chimney flues, multiple, terminating adjacent to one another at different heights - metal chimneys & flues  
11 Chimney flue extender of metal, rusted, leaky, damaged  
12 Chimney flue incomplete, not extending through entire chimney height  
13 Chimney flues cracked, broken, spalled clay flue tile liners visible at chimney top or inside the flue  
14 Chimney flue improperly constructed - masonry flue, concrete omitted or concrete extending into the flue between masonry tiles; expansion space not left between clay liner and masonry chimney  
15 Chimney flue blocked, visible from chimney top: insect nests, birds nests, rodents, leaves, debris, falling masonry fragments, bricks, stones  
16 Creosote or soot build-up: need cleaning, fire hazard, indications of improper oil-fired heating system operation  
17 Chimney flashing improperly installed, missing, missing counter flashing, holes, leaks  
18 Metal flue not rated for application - wrong flue type  
19 Metal flue sections loose  
20 Metal flue sections connected in wrong order (water leaks)  

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