Chimney Repairs

grinding brick masonry

Masonry Repairs

Chimney masonry repairs are the most common issues we find when doing a fireplace inspection. It’s common for bricks or pieces of mortar to start to crumble with time and need replacing or repair. Proper masonry repair is an intricate process down to the year your bricks were made and the specific blend of mortar that was used between them.


Part of your chimney inspection includes checking for cracks in your brick. Your annual inspections allow Ash to keep an eye on any minor hairline cracks. Any that are large enough to stick the point of a pencil in will need to be repaired, especially within the firebox which sustains the greatest heat.


Learn more about the replacement process of your mortar through the repointing and tuck pointing processes


The upward movement of air and smoke through a chimney to the outside of your house

silhouette of a chimney sweep


The rate (speed) at which the air and smoke moves up and out of the chimney

Draft and Flow

First, proper draft and flow increases the safety of your fireplace and chimney. If smoke cannot easily move up and out of your chimney it can create dangerous situations. Smoke can backdraft into your house which is unhealthy and also creates a fire hazard.

Second, with better draft and flow, you can burn more efficiently. The more (and more quickly) smoke can escape from your fire box, the more you can enjoy the best parts of building a fire - warmth and ambiance.


Draft and flow issues can be caused by blockages in the chimney which can be taken care of via a good cleaning. They can also be the result of poor construction. If your smoke chamber or firebox were constructed with the wrong proportions then the smoke won’t flow in the direction and at the speed that is needed to safely burn in your fireplace.


An inspection by Charleston Chimney Sweeps will always assess your chimney’s draft and flow to identify if there are any issues and what can be done to improve the movement of smoke out of your house.

starting a fire in a fire place
chimney with no cap

Caps and Dampers

Caps are the piece that cover the top of your chimney to reduce the amount of outside debris and critters that can enter your home. Sometimes these are damaged due to storms, blown off in a hurricane, or didn’t come with your house in the first place. If repairs can be made, we can easily take care of those. We also replace caps with the one most fitting and efficient for your chimney structure.


Caps are helpful in keeping leaves and birds out of your chimney but can also cause more buildup within your chimney. Keep in mind that your annual inspection and sweeping appointment is even more important if your home has a chimney cap.

Dampers are the part of the chimney that you open before starting a fire to let the smoke out of the chimney and close after the fire has died out to keep outside backdraft out of your home. Depending on the type of damper in your chimney, it is removed when we sweep your chimney so the smoke shelf can be properly cleaned and all creosote and built up soot is taken out.


We occasionally find dampers are misaligned causing poor airflow when burning. If the damper is in good condition, we will fix this for you, or if the damper is damaged due to rust or other issues, we will replace it.

chimney with a cap

Fireplace Removal

Due to storm damage, acts of God, or simply decades of use and exposure to the elements, chimneys may deteriorate to the point of removal and replacement. If your chimney is pulling away from the house and is falling away at the top or bottom, it’s imperative to address it as soon as possible. A vulnerable chimney can compromise the integrity and value of your home. Do not burn in your fireplace if your chimney is in disrepair.

Reach out to Ash and find out whether your chimney should be restored or replaced.

Fireplace Replacement

Various options exist should your chimney need to be replaced. Common home construction today uses prefabricated chimney and fireplace systems which are more economical than hand-laid, full masonry chimneys. 


Within recent years another option has become available that proves more reliable and more efficient than prefabricated units, and more cost effective than traditional masonry chimneys.

isokern fireplace in a home
close up of isokern fireplace

Isokern fireplaces are a third of the cost of traditional brick chimneys and manufactured in Virginia from Icelandic volcanic pumice. Volcanic pumice handles heat exceptionally well. In a 11-13” thick unit, heat will only penetrate about 4” or so. This means you could lay your head on one side, with a fire burning on the other side, and not feel it!

Charleston Chimney Sweeps installs Isokern fireplaces built specifically for your home, regardless of your home’s age, design or construction. Have a historic Charlestonian home from the late 1680s that needs a new chimney? Easy. Ash will install a safe, high-efficient Isokern fireplace and hand-build the facade with period brick to perfectly match your home’s aesthetic.


Call Ash to learn more about adding an Isokern fireplace to your home.