Every area of the country has building codes regarding chimneys and their foundations. For example, California code requires chimney foundation footings to be set 12 inches deep and extend 6 inches from the foundation wall on each side. Chimneys not built to code or set upon an unstable foundation or shifting soil can crack and become unsafe.
Even chimneys built to local codes, can crack or tilt. When this occurs, it is typically because of house foundation problems or unstable soil. States such as Colorado, Texas and Kansas have many areas with soil that contains high concentrations of clay. Clay soils are considered expansive, meaning they expand when saturated with water. Clay soil holds onto water molecules. If the soil under your home’s foundation becomes over-saturated due to drainage issues, the clay soil will swell. The swelling exerts pressure onto the foundation, creating cracks and foundation movement.
Addressing Poor Drainage
Addressing poor exterior drainage can help prevent further tilting or cracks in the chimney bricks or masonry. Resolving drainage issues also can help foundation-related problems such as cracks in plaster walls, bowing walls, sagging floors and even bugs in the basement. Waterproofing along with correct the drainage issues can help as well.
The Olshan Hybrid Piling System
An unstable chimney foundation may be corrected with Olshan’s patent pending Hybrid Piling System. Unlike other piling systems, Olshan’s combines both steel and concrete for a hybrid approach. The steel segments provide added depth, while the concrete segments provide a larger weight-bearing area for optimum support.
If your chimney is titling or showing cracks in any area, consider scheduling a foundation repair consultation. A specialist can determine the underlying problem and recommend a course of action to fix the problem and prevent future issues.