Hard to Believe

On a scale of 1-10, the crack in the photo is a 10. The typical 1/16” wide or narrower crack flags an inspector at Pacific Coast Inspections, Inc. to recommend further review by a licensed chimney contractor.chimney crack sacramento home inspection

Chimney cracks can develop for a number of reasons:

  • · Seismic activity. Bay Area chimneys damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake are still being discovered.
  • · Water. Water intrusion at the chimney top, at the roof metal flashing or at mortar joints can enter the chimney structure. If water intrusion is followed by a frosty morning… Cracks can occur.
  • · Poor construction. A chimney consists of a flue liner for the smoke, the chimney bricks and an expansion gap between the liner and bricks. A flue liner expands with fire. No installed gap equals cracks.
  • · Settlement. A masonry chimney is built on its own foundation or footing. Due to poor foundation construction or poor drainage around a chimney… A chimney can settle causing cracks.


If there are hairline cracks in the chimney, the licensed inspecting contractor may recommend that the cracks be monitored… Or if the cracks are larger, the cracks might be sealed.


Cracks at the top of the chimney crown are sealed to make them watertight. Water intrusion into a chimney can lead to deterioration of the chimney itself.


The recommendation for a structural crack as shown in the photo is to tear down the chimney and rebuild it… Another option is to completely remove the chimney and refinish the house wall.

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