Separation Anxiety?

By
Home Inspector with H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

Chimney separation from house

This chimney has been caulked, and re-caulked several times over the years. the gap between house and chimney now measures about 1 1/2 inches, and as you can see from the picture, looks like it needs caulked again, since there is another space between the house and all that caulking/mortar.

What do you think has been happening to cause this?

First of all, this is a very old chimney and house, and if it originally had strap ties to fasten the chimney securely to the house structure, they are probably now rusted or entirely broken loose. The chimney has had leaking in between the house and the chimney, and when it freezes in the winter, the expansion of the trapped water has acted kind of like a jack or lever, prying the chimney further and further away from the house, and it's original position. Instead of addressing the cause of the problem (probably a leaking flashing located at the roof level), they have instead opted to just continue to try to caulk the ever widening gap.

I put a probe in between the wall and the chimney, and found that there was also some hidden wall and siding decay damage. Unfortunately, now the only way to fix this damage properly, is to tear down the chimney, and repair the rot damage. Although it can't be seen, it has become a major issue for the new homeowner to deal with.

I show all of you this, so that you will know that it is an improper repair to just keep caulking over a chimney that has been moving away from it's original position, and most generally, ther WILL be more damage that is hidden if this type of repair has been done.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Cheryl Willis 01/15/2009 07:22 AM
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Rainmaker
179,891
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Someday in the future, TIMBER.  You should probably tell the original owner that it isn't the house that is moving.  

Is it COLD up there Kevin?  High today here might reach 9.

Jan 15, 2009 05:59 AM #1
Rainmaker
197,582
Cheryl Willis
RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI - Mount Vernon, MO
MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law

I like Jack's TIMBER- we see this a lot in older homes, it is always best to preventive maintainance then tear the whole thing down and start over.  On the other hand if the house is a hundred years old, it might be getting close to paid for.  I have seen several chimneys standing alone with out a house.  good article.  cheryl (love to re-blog the inspector stuff)willis

Jan 15, 2009 07:10 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Kevin,

I always hate it when I see that problem. It is not an easy one to resolve more often than not.

Jan 15, 2009 08:07 AM #3
Ambassador
2,758,520
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Kevin, Looks like Jack stole my thunder. I hate to see that on older properties... 

~~ Your friend in Brentwood, TN - Michael

Jan 15, 2009 10:04 PM #4
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Jack, it is minus 10 right now, and of course I have an inspection to do at 10 am. It may be minus 1 by then, no problem.

Cheryl, the chimney standing alone without a house.... must have been a fire I'm guessing?

 

Jan 15, 2009 10:14 PM #5
Rainer
137,876
Roy A. Peterson
Domicile Analysis of Texas - El Paso, TX
P.R.E.I.

Kevin, that is a mean looking crack there, was a nightmare.

                                                           ~ Life is Good

 

                                                                                     

Jan 16, 2009 12:21 AM #6
Rainmaker
179,891
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

It made it below 0, but not sure by how much.  No matter what the temp, having an inspection is good.

I have 2 transaction related inspections next week, but 2 others.  I'm told that in this market 1 week ahead is good.  This is the end of my education hiatus so back to work.

Jan 16, 2009 05:00 AM #7
Rainer
132,319
Jon Wnoroski
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc. - Green, OH
Summit County Realtor

Hi Kevin - I'm sure seller's hate to hear that they need to make that kind of repair since it certainly will be expensive to do so.  However, the bottom line is that they need to do it in order to sell their home.  If I'm representing the buyer that would be a major issue and we would require remedy before we moved forward with a purchase.  Great post.

Jan 16, 2009 09:19 PM #8
Rainmaker
140,138
Troy Jowers
Pogo Realty, LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Realtor

An inspection in below zero weather. Kevin, you made me appreciate being a Realtor and in New Orleans all in the same day!

Jan 17, 2009 02:17 AM #9
Rainer
97,994
Lara O'Keefe
North Texas Home Finders - McKinney, TX

Kevin, very clever title! I also enjoyed reading your post.

Jan 17, 2009 04:54 AM #10
Ambassador
1,333,956
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Kevin, I have seen these old chimney like this and you could stand on the roof, grab the top of chimney, and move the chimney away from the house several inches----always impresses the buyer when you tell them to watch from the ground:)

Jan 18, 2009 07:22 AM #11
Rainer
639,083
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Kevin - Probably need to tear it down an start over; after all 100 years is a long time and it does need some TLC (more then caulk).

Jan 18, 2009 01:41 PM #12
Rainer
140,489
c m
Colorado Springs, CO

I think I have lived in that house...just kidding! But I have lived in 3 over 100 yr old houses and they have SO much character, and they are SO much work! =o)

Jan 20, 2009 05:34 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

I figure, rule of thumb is that if you can fit your head in the crack, then it is too wide.

Jan 24, 2009 02:29 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Kevin,

You stuck in that gap? Not heard from you in days it seems.

Feb 02, 2009 03:56 PM #15
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Rainmaker
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Kevin Corsa

H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
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