What do the brick pieces laying on your roof mean?
They are a clear indication that something needs attention, so what is causing it?
When brick debris can be seen on the roof or ground it indicates that you have a moisture issue whether from a cracked or undersized cap, a furnace, a water heater vented into your chimney. More often than not the introduction of the moisture is caused due to the lack of a chimney liner.
Most homeowners could have saved thousands of dollars if they knew moisture is the root cause to most masonry issues in our area. As the weather gets cooler in fall and the air thickens with moisture, we begin to turn on our furnaces to keep warm, but there is an invisible enemy eating away at your chimney. That invisible enemy is moisture. That moisture can do more damage than you could imagine, it is absorbed into the mortar of the chimney or surrounding masonry where it freezes and expands, slowly eroding the mortar. As the mortar erodes it leaves a ledge for more water to collect on and the damage exponentially increases.
So what can homeowners do?
Get an inspection. A good inspection can tell you if you have a gas water heater, furnace, or boiler vented into your chimney flue. If an inspection shows any of these to be true the next step is to find out if you have a metal liner. If you don't, chances are you will be facing a very expensive repair in the coming years.
Most chimneys that have brick faces laying on the roof are caused from moisture that was introduced from the inside of the chimney usually through a gas appliance such as a furnace, water heater or boiler. By the time it is evident on the exterior of the chimney the damage is extensive, and a chimney rebuild is the only option for repair and that can cost many THOUSANDS to repair, plus the cost to install a liner to contain the moisture.
Chimney rebuilds cost an average of $4000-6000 add on top of that the need for a liner and you're looking at another $1500+. The average cost to install a liner is around $1500. Having an inspection done can help you be aware of the situation and save thousands in unnecessary repairs.
So what is a liner, a liner is a metal conduit that is usually pulled down the chimney to the basement from the top. After installation your water heater, furnace or boiler are connected to it providing a chimney for the exhaust to travel and safely get expelled above the roof line.