Whether you were inspired by HGTV or you simply wanted a fresh look for your home, you may have painted your brick chimney at one point or another. While painting your chimney is a decorative upgrade to bring new personality to your curb appeal, the truth is that it can backfire on you down the road.
Bricks Need to Breathe
When you cover your chimney with a coat of paint, you are sealing up the pores of the brick. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, the problem comes down to moisture. Moisture becomes trapped inside the bricks because the paint is blocking it from escaping. This ultimately creates moisture buildup.
Keep in mind that brick sealant can have the same effect. You’ll need a sealant that protects the brick but still allows moisture to escape. Otherwise, you will have the same issue as painting your chimney.
The Dangers of Trapped Moisture
When moisture gets trapped from painting your chimney, one of the first elements it can affect is the mortar. Eventually, the mortar will break down and the structural integrity of the chimney will suffer. If this damage goes undetected, even further damage can arise or the chimney may eventually begin to crumble.
Not only does decaying mortar pose a threat to the chimney’s structure, but moisture can make its way inside your home. When you don’t have enough mortar on your chimney, it becomes easy for water to enter. Interior water damage can manifest in problems such as peeling of the walls, stains on the walls and ceilings, and even mold. You will likely spend a significant amount of money repairing these issues.
More Problems During Freezing Weather
If moisture problems aren’t enough during the spring and summer, more issues will arise during the winter. Trapped moisture will contribute to the freeze and thaw cycle as the chimney expands and contracts. This can result in spalling, which is where pieces of brick fall from the chimney. You might also discover a rusty firebox or a cracked chimney crown.
Should You Paint Your Chimney?
Before you pick up a paintbrush, it’s wise to contact a chimney contractor for professional advice. Allow us to inspect your chimney and provide advice on making it (and perform) its best!