American Chimney

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

American Chimney & Masonry is the most trusted Cincinnati chimney sweep and repair company with over 30 years experience and more than 85,000 service calls. If you’re in the Greater Cincinnati area and are need of expert chimney advice, visit our website at www.amchimney.com.

Read More
Leave a comment

Painting Exterior Brick

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Paint that has blistered or bubbled up and now is peeling off Chimney.
Q.)No one told us at the paint store that when you are buying exterior paint, not to paint on the chimney, that it would become the beginning of a whole host of problems. Now What?
Tim S. Hudson Valley, NY
Tim,
I am sorry to here this. I will agree with you that when you paint brick, it will surely be the start of a lot of needless problems, and often sooner rather than later. The simple solution of painting brick to change their color may have hidden costs down the road. This is especially true on brick chimneys. A freshly painted brick house looks great when you first complete it. Your house may still even look great for four or five years. However, it may begin to look a little shabby on the chimney top as it begins to blister or bubble up.
The real problems are hiding beneath the painted surface, as the paint may be the only thing still holding the broken brick faces together. This is because the moisture within the chimney is trying to get out, but is being trapped beneath the painted surface.
There lies the start of big problems. The moisture that is being trapped inside the bricks will expand with our normal freeze/thaw cycles. This creates a fatigue within the brick itself, crushing and breaking down the bricks from within. All brick masonry material needs to breathe. When we paint the brick, it seals them up way too tight.
With a close examination by peeling back some of those blistered areas, it will reveal some serious brick and mortar damage. Replacing just a couple of “problem brick” on the chimney normally isn’t the answer and definitely will not solve your problems.
Areas on the chimney today may look perfectly fine, but may be hiding very saturated and weak masonry beneath this painted surface.
I often tell my customers that they have a couple of choices to resolve their dilemma. They can repaint right over the damaged brick or when it gets to a point that they can’t live with this unsightly look on their home, the chimney can be dismantled and replaced with brick and mortar of a complimentary color.
In the past, we have done more replacement repair work by using white brick and white mortar then we have with any other color changes.
Now here is the funny thing, some folks have had us rebuild their chimney, and then after our work was completed they had their painter just re-paint right over the same chimney again.
………………It’s that same old story, as history will surely repeat itself!!!
Read More
5

Don’t Call a Roofer

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

If you have problems with leaking in your chimney, your first instinct may be to caller a roofer.  This video tells you why a chimney sweep would be better equipped to solve your leaking problem.

Read More
Leave a comment

Chimney Leaks

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

If you are driving down the street in your neighborhood and you look up and see blue tarps, waving in the wind on top of the chimney, you can pretty much bet that this is a temporary solution to a very aggravating water problem. There are many areas in a chimney where water can enter into a home.  Areas of a chimney that appear to be soaking up water after a rain, are a tell-tale sign of a need for an application of silane/siloxane water repellent.

Read More
1
Waterproofing Chimneys

Waterproofing Chimneys

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

If you spot water stains on the outside of your chimney, you can bet that it need a water repellent treatment. Protect your chimney from future damage by using products such as ChimneySaver and Crack & Joint Sealant, and by taking advantage of these tips.

Read More
Leave a comment

Wood, …the Green option for heating your Home

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Wood Burning Stove
Wood burning stoves such as this old one add character and charm to any room.“The same amount of Carbon Dioxide is released when the wood is burned,  as would happen if the tree were … left in the forest to —>decompose”.

The United States as a whole has, as of late, pushed for increased awareness of reducing our dependence on non-renewable resources such as coal and     natural gas and turning to “green” options.  

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 7.02.34 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 7.06.04 PMAn affordable option that many folks have been turning to in response to this cry to make our country more sustainable is burning woodOne concern is that wood, when not properly combusted, can contribute to particulate matter in the air which is considered a pollutant.

A very hot fire that burns the wood completely reduces the risk of particulate matter entering into the air as a by-product of burning wood.

This being said, the worry concerning particulate matter is a small price to pay considering the amount of carbon dioxide produced when gas or coal is burned.aspect of burning wood that people like is its affordability. Turning the furnace down and instead burning wood for at least part of the time during the winter will save you money and make your household a more sustainable household.
Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 7.01.34 PM

Wood is renewable. Although removing trees at a greater rate than they are replanted has been a concern in the past, there are forests planted specifically for harvesting as lumber or firewood.

Coal and natural gas are non-renewable and will eventually run out, increasing in price as the supply diminishes.Another reason to use wood to heat your home is that not only is it renewable, but supporting the firewood industry causes more

Grate
Using a fireplace grate helps your wood to burn more thoroughly by allowing air to enter the fire from the bottom.carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) absorbing trees to be planted. When they are burned as firewood and products of combustion are released into the environment, the same amount of carbon dioxide that they absorbed during their lifetime is released.

 

imgres-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This makes burning wood a neutral process in terms of carbon dioxide

 

As opposed to burning coal which releases not only carbon dioxide but other pollutants and greenhouse gases in addition.

Coal is largely made of carbon and burning it, like burning natural gas, is taking carbon dioxide that was buried deep in the earth for millions of years and causing it to contaminate the atmosphere.

 . . . .”The same amount of Carbon Dioxide is released when the wood is burned,  as would happen if the tree were … left in the forest to decompose”.

 

Read More
Leave a comment

How to Remove Rust Stains from Masonry Chimneys

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

If you installed a cap on your chimney that was not stainless steel there is a likelihood that you have rust stains on on the top of your chimney which are very unsightly.

Removing rust stains and removing the source of the rust are both very important because if the rust is not remove it can deteriorate your brick over time. Removing rust is not difficult but you also want to avoid staining the brick with a strong acid or even eating away at the face of the brick. If the stain is at the very top of your chimney and your chimney is very tall you may want to call a professional to clean it.

Your safety is the number one priority in an endeavor such as this and if you do not have a ladder that will safely reach the top of your chimney or you don’t have any safe way to access it then you should have the stains professionally removed. Do not power wash your brick to get rust stains off, especially if the brick is old or crumbling because that will not only further destroy your brick but more than likely “will not” remove all of the stains.

brick-mortar-cleaner__02200.1413907696.600.600 SaverSystems “Brick and Mortar Cleaner” can be purchased at —-> www.FireplaceAndChimneySupply.com

images-1images

                                                                                             Before       &          After    

There are products on the market that are specifically designed to remove rust stains. The SaverSystems  . . . “Brick and Mortar Cleaner” is a Professional grade cleaner that removes rust, mildew, algae, dirt, mortar splatter, and creosote stains. This product can also be used for removing rust stains from concrete. It is safer to use than muriatic acid which was once recommended for cleaning rust off of masonry surfaces.

Muriatic acid can burn the and could eat away at the face of the brick as well. While protective eye wear and gloves should be worn whenever handling any masonry cleaners.

SaverSystems  . . . “Brick and Mortar Cleaner”product is safer than muriatic acid and will help in rust stain removal.

If the rust stains were caused by a chimney cap that was painted black or was of poor quality metal it may have caused this rusting .scan0005 (2)

scan0016 (2)

                                                      Before       &          After  

stainless steel chimney cap is key to preventing rust stains from occurring again. Remove the offending cap immediately and replace it with a top mounted stainless steel cap, which sits on top of the flue, or a top sealing damper and chimney cap combination, like the LockTop system which not only keeps birds and other critters out of the chimney it also seals off the chimney at the top forming an air tight seal when the damper is closed to keep warm air in the home and cold air out when the chimney is not in use.

Read More
2

Wood Burning Basics

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Spark guards can be ornate, like the one pictured, or plain but are a great wood burning tool because they contain sparks.
Spark guards can be ornate, like the one pictured, or plain but are a great wood burning tool because they contain sparks.

The burning of wood is a huge biomass burning industry used to spin turbines, cook food, and heat the homes of people like you. Correctly burning wood is a skill that can save you a house full of smoke or any number of other problems. The first step is to make sure that the fireplace or wood burning stove is clear of any debris from a previous fire.

Scooping any excessive ash down an ash dump or cleaning out a wood burning stove is the first step, although an inch or two of ash can actually help the new fire burn more successfully. Keep any grates in the fireplace clean to prevent smoking problems. It can take ash up to an entire day to cool completely.

I recommend starting the fire using some paper and kindling and adding in seasoned wood. I do not recommend burning wood that is still green or wet because it will cause a lot of smoke. Seasoned wood burns the best. Open the damper half way, not all the way. VL Small Safety Grate 26432This gives the fire an air source while still venting any smoke. Place the paper underneath your grate and kindling wood on top of the grate after the fire is lit. If your fireplace is prone to smoking problems or has a poor draft caused by other factors, carefully (using gloves) holding lit paper up into the flue system to warm it can help increase the chimney’s draft. Stack your seasoned logs on top of the kindling strategically to allow the kindling to burn fully. Open the damper completely once you have the fire really going.

As time goes on it may need adjustment or additional wood to be added to keep it burning. Using fireplace tools can help immensely

Wood burning tools such as these not only add to the look of your hearth, they also come in handy when a hot long needs to be handled.
Wood burning tools such as these not only add to the look of your hearth, they also come in handy when a hot long needs to be handled.

in getting a proper burn. A fire poker or a pair of tongs are very helpful for when this needs to happen. If a log is smothering kindling or it just needs stirred up a bit these tools are great to have. Scooping ash out of a wood burning stove can be cumbersome so purchasing a high powered ash vacuum can save you the trouble and the mess. An important thing to remember is to not leave a fire in a fireplace or a wood burning stove unattended for a very long time. A fire that is nicely contained in your firebox can wreak havoc should it start to burn up in the flue system. Paying attention to the fire the entire time it is lit is one way to ensure that if this should happen, damage is minimized.
100_1408Close the damper once the fire has completely stopped burning and smoking. Keeping the damper closed keeps the air you paid to heat from floating up through the chimney and heating the whole neighborhood. Fireproof mesh/ Screens is a great idea to place in front of the fireplace to prevent embers from hopping out and burning family members or lighting a fire. There are also fireproof rugs available for purchase to be placed in front of the firebox.

Read More
Leave a comment

ChimneySaver Solvent Based Water Repellent

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Without a doubt, chimneys are the most susceptible masonry surface on your entire home to damage from water. Freeze-thaw damage is magnified since the chimney projects so high above the roof line. There is no shelter for the chimney, so taking steps to prevent damage before you are faced with pricey repairs is absolutely necessary. The Brick Industry Association states that chimneys require special attention and maintenance for such prevention, and ChimneySaver Solvent Base Water Repellent is formulated specifically to battle the elements chimneys face.

This water repellent has been used by professionals in the chimney business for almost twenty years due to its special formula. The aspect that sets apart this water repellent from the rest is the fact that it is a vapor permeable formula. It will not trap water vapors that are always present in the brick, like other sealants. If the water vapors are trapped inside the brick, as they expand and contract due to freezing and thawing, the face of the brick is likely to pop off or cracks will occur. The formula, although vapor permeable, will still fully protect the brick from water damage. According to ASTM tests run at the University of Wyoming, it reduces water penetration into the brick by 99.9%.

ChimneySaver Water Base Water Repellent is another version of ChimneySaver water repellent. This water repellent is specially formulated for brick that has never been treated by other sealants before. Although still effective on surfaces that have been previously treated, its formula is based with water and works to maximum efficiency on surfaces that have never been treated. The Solvent Base Water Repellent is recommended for surfaces that have been previously treated. Due to its mineral spirit base, it will effectively penetrate brick that has been treated in the past, although it will also work on brick that has never been treated at all. Either one of ChimneySaver’s Water Repellents are each formed specifically to prevent the deterioration of your brick on the chimney, meaning it is the most durable formula on the market.

Expect for the product to cover approximately 90-150 sq. ft. per gallon. It is available in 3, 5, 30, and 55 gallon containers giving you flexibility that matches the size of your project. You must apply ChimneySaver Solvent Base Water Repellent in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and allow at least two hours of drying time. There must be a six hour window of time between application and any rainfall. The recommended application is with a pump sprayer, and cleanup is easy requiring only soap and water.

Read More
2

ChimneySaver Water Based Water Repellent

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

ChimneySaver Water-Base Water Repellent has been in circulation by professionals for almost 20 years. This unique repellent is vapor permeable so it will not trap water vapors in the brick. Water repellents that trap the vapors in the brick actually cause spalling rather than preventing it. The Water-Base formula from ChimneySaver is specially formulated for chimneys that have never been treated with another waterproofing product. If you have used a different kind of water repellent previously on your chimney, we recommend using the Solvent-Base water repellent, with mineral spirits.

It is important to remember that there is always a certain, small percentage of moisture present in masonry surfaces or concrete, and film-forming sealers use silicone to coat the brick complete, trapping those vapors inside and catalyzing the rate at which brick spall and crack when the vapors cannot escape. This is the opposite effect of what a protective water repellent should do. Film forming water repellents will contribute to the rate at which the brick or concrete on your chimney or other masonry project deteriorates and heighten freeze-thaw damage.

In contrast to these film-formers is the ChimneySaver Water Repellent products. Both the Water-Base and the Solvent-Base make it possible for vapors to escape, preventing the deterioration of the masonry surface. Per fallon, the ChimneySaver Water-Base Water Repellent covers between 90 and 150 sq. ft. depending on the thickness of each coat, and it is available in 3, 5, 30, and 55 gallon containers. When applying this product it is important to make sure that the temperature outside is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit so that it can cure properly, and you must allow six hours of drying time before a rainfall even though the product itself has a dry time of one to two hours. Very cold temperatures will reduce the efficiency of the stain. It is recommended to apply using a pump-sprayer, and soap and water is appropriate for clean up.

Read More
2