Our Company Blog

Kiss Your Masonry Stain Problems Goodbye!

What is the one thing that’s been an annoyance to chimney owners everywhere? Masonry stains. Throughout time, numerous homeowners have complained and scratched their heads over the hassle and irritation that these unwanted stains bring.

At Weststar, we care about and respect each of our customers, and are dedicated to ensuring that their chimneys and dryer vents are well-maintained and functioning properly. Whether you need masonry repair or annual maintenance, we’re here to help.

At Weststar, we care about and respect each of our customers, and are dedicated to ensuring that their chimneys and dryer vents are well-maintained and functioning properly. Whether you need masonry repair or annual maintenance, we’re here to help.

Here at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we do our best to cater to your chimney needs. So, here are a few things that you should know about chimney stains.

Not all stains are created equally.

The stain on your chimney is characterized by the source of the stain. Once you are able to identify which type of stain you have, it will be easier on you or the chimney professional that you hire to find a solution.
The following are some of the most common stain complaints:

  • Smoke – It only makes sense that majority of the chimney owners complain about having smoke stains and are earnestly looking for ways to remove them. Since smoke is a natural byproduct of burning and the chimney is an area where the burning process occurs frequently, there presence of smoke is inevitable. Smoke stains, therefore, are going to occur.
  • Mildew – This is the white substance (a fungus, to be more specific) that usually grows on the surface of wet or warm conditions.
  • Efflorescence – This is that white, powdery and, often times, fluffy stuff (or so it appears) that accumulates around your chimney masonry.
  • Rust – We all know what rust looks like, right? And you may say that rust only appears in metal materials. But actually, rust thrives on both metal and nonmetal surfaces, therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find a little rust in your chimney masonry every now and then.
  • Paint – It may range from small whisks to huge splatters. Paint stains are usually brought about by artistic or domestic accidents. It may happen to households with or without children and is one of the most common chimney masonry stains.

How can you remove these stains?

As each stain is classified differently based on its cause, there are also various methods and chemicals used to remove each type of stain. Boral.com has a short summary of ways to remove various stains. But to some people, handling chemicals is something with which they’re not really comfortable. Another option, therefore, is to contact a professional to help you out.

Gone are the days when you had to worry about your chimney masonry stains. The answer to all your stain problems is just a phone call or email away. So what are you waiting for?

Levels of Chimney Inspection

If you’re new to chimney ownership, it might surprise you when you learn not only that you need to be scheduling a professional chimney inspection each and every year, but that there are several different types of chimney inspections too.

It is vital to have your chimney inspected thoroughly at least once a year. Let our experts perform one of the three levels of inspection that is needed for your chimney.

It is vital to have your chimney inspected thoroughly at least once a year. Let our experts perform one of the three levels of inspection that is needed for your chimney.

Those different inspections are outlined as three different levels — 1, 2 and 3 — and Weststar Chimney Sweeps technicians are always happy to give you a rundown of when and why different inspections make sense for your system and your home. In the meantime, though, here are some basics to make those levels a little more clear:

Where Did These Levels Of Inspection Come From?

For a long time, the quality or thoroughness of your chimney inspection was largely left up to the individual professional doing the inspecting. While diligent, detailed chimney sweeps (like Weststar’s) have always been around, you generally just didn’t know what you’d get — a detailed peek into the state of your system, a quick glance with a flashlight and a mirror, or anything in between.

In January of 2000, the National Fire Protection Association outlined three different levels of inspection within NFPA 211, the standard by which our work — and the work of other CSIA-certified chimney technicians — is guided. This ensures that you receive a specific level of care, based on your chimney’s circumstances and needs, and that you know what to expect.

So What Should I Expect?

The Level of inspection that Weststar Chimney Sweeps technicians will recommend will be based on your specific system’s needs.

Level 1

If your system hasn’t changed — if you’re burning the same fuel in the same appliance with the same flue liner, etc. — you’ll do well with a Level 1 inspection, the least intricate (but still highly detailed) inspection. We’ll examine all of the readily accessible parts of your chimney, from the firebox up through the flue, interior to exterior, looking for structural soundness, performance issues (like obstructions or excess creosote) and damage (like flue liner cracks that could lead to a leak). After our inspection, we’ll share our detailed findings with you, and make any necessary recommendations.

Level 2

A more detailed Level 2 inspection makes the most sense in a couple of specific circumstances: when something in your system has changed, or if the property is changing hands. So if you’ve changed from wood to gas, added a new fireplace or insert, relined your flue or made other similar changes since your last inspection, Level 2 is appropriate. If you’re buying a home with a fireplace, a Level 2 inspection allows you to get the full picture of what’s about to become your responsibility — and potentially, your problem.

Level 2 inspections include that same thorough, top to bottom, in and out examination as Level 1, but we’ll also check your chimney in attics, basements and crawl spaces, look for proper clearance from combustible building materials and scan the flue using a specialized video camera that lets us get the closest look possible, and show our findings to you.

Level 3

A Level 3 inspection is really only recommended when a potential hazard is found and a closer look is needed — and that closer look can include removing building materials (like doors or drywall) that block off certain concealed areas. With these inspections, we’re leaving no stone unturned so we can be sure we’re aware of any dangerous or damaging problems that need to be addressed.

We’re always happy to talk chimneys — including inspections and other regular maintenance — with our valued clients. If you have questions, or would like to schedule your annual inspection, give Weststar Chimney Sweeps a call!