Our mason Alex. H meticulously ground out loose and cracked mortar joints and applied new mortar to bring this house back to life. You can see how the point up really brought the house to life and highlights the charm of this 100 year old house. This project was not simply cosmetic, the point up also served to correct a leaking issue the customer was facing.
In modern times, people largely underestimate the significance of the chimney in their home.The fireplace is more of an aesthetic feature in today's home, and with the advent of central heating systems, the fireplace is no longer a household essential as it was for people in the past before electricity and central heating.
But who would of thought, that the very idea of multiple story single family homes and the "upstairs" was made possible by the chimney?
Earlier this week, Author and Historian Bill Bryson sat down with Renee Montagne on NPR's Morning Edition to discuss his latest book "At Home: A Short History of Private Life". Bryson discussed the influence of the fireplace and the chimney on revolutionizing the very essence of private life. The following is an excerpt from the interview:
"MONTAGNE: And you started the book with the part of the house that we hardly ever think of today. We merely pass through it - the hall.
Mr. BRYSON: The hall, yeah. I mean, I'd always wondered a little bit about that way. You know, hall denotes important spaces in the wider world, you know, Hall of Fame or Carnegie Hall - that kind of thing. And yet in our own homes, it's this dinky room that's the most demoted room in the house because at one time the hall house was the hall. I mean, originally in the middle ages, the house was just a single room with perhaps a couple of annex rooms - a kitchen - off of it. But most living was done in the great hall.
MONTAGNE: Right. I mean, people slept together, basically, in the same space. In fact, there's a wonderful moment when we discover that make a bed - it doesn't mean to put sheets and towels, and the lovely linens on it; it literally meant make a bed.
Mr. BRYSON: Yeah, I mean, you know, originally, you either rolled out a kind of cloth pallet or you just kind of heaped straw and put a blanket down on top of it, and that was it. You know, you sort of made a bed for yourself for the night. It was a much more fluid and informal arrangement that we are used to now.
MONTAGNE: Now, when the house was still a hall, it was warmed by an open hearth, which had some really distinct disadvantages. For instance, you write that it was like having a permanent bonfire in the middle of the living room.
Mr. BRYSON: Well, it's essentially what it was. I mean, there were no chimneys up until about the 14th century. What you did is you had an open fire and all the smoke just kind of leaked out a hole in the roof. And an open, you know, fire in the middle of a room, radiates heat much better than a fireplace does, but it also meant that there was a lot of smoke and sparks and things drifting about.
MONTAGNE: When chimneys came into being and you got the hearth out of the middle of the room, what did that mean in terms of how people lived?
Mr. BRYSON: Well, it had one really, really huge revolutionary effect, which was that all this roof space that used to be taken up and filled with smoke would have been unlivable. That was now comparatively clean and so people could move up there. And it really meant that people could start thinking about building an upstairs. From that point, they started to discover the whole concept of privacy and having space of your own.
MONTAGNE: And then, you know, language took this up. You describe the names of some of the rooms. Tell us about some of the rooms.
Mr. BRYSON: All kinds. It was study and boudoir and cabinet and the closet and all these other words all began to come into the language."
So every night before you go up those stairs to rest after a long work day, consider how that living room fireplace has made it possible for you and others to have your private upstairs rooms and show it some love with an annual inspection and cleaning so that you can enjoy it with friends and family during the winter!
While some may be praying for water to cool off during these hot summer days, your chimney may be screaming "ENOUGH"!
This area has had some pretty strong thunderstorms with torrential downpours, and unlike you, your chimney doesn't have the luxury of shelter, it is left to brave these elements on it's own, on the front lines. Water can cause a lot of problems in chimney systems, and without intervention, water leaks may cause even greater problems for you.
Water leaks often occur in the following areas of your chimney:
1. Concrete Crowns Chimney crowns are simply roofs for your chimney. Water will be kept from entering the chimney and causing deterioration of the brick and masonry. Chimney crowns should be inspected for cracks, which allow water to penetrate the chimney. If cracks are present, a new concrete crown should be relayed and should slope away from the chimney.
2. Flashing The flashing is the most common source of leaks in chimneys. The flashing, a thin sheet of metal joins the chimney and the roof and creates a water tight seal between the two. The flashing should be regularly inspected for gaps. If the flashing is loose, it should be resealed with high grade sealant, or replaced, if necessary.
3. Chimney Bricks Bricks are porous and deteriorate quickly when exposed to the freeze/thaw process in which moisture that has penetrated the bricks periodically freezes and expands, causing undue stress. Chimney bricks should be inspected for cracks and loose mortar joints, and repaired as necessary. If not corrected, the problem will only spread and can cause damage to the interior of your home.
Priddy Clean's trained sweeps will carefully inspect your chimney to pinpoint the source of the water leak in your chimney and make repair recommendations accordingly. We offer a wide variety of services to assist you in whatever water problem you may have in your chimney.
So what are you waiting for? Call Priddy Clean now and save the water for your swimming pool, not your chimney!
The summer is almost over, but there is still time for you to prepare your chimney for the fall and winter seasons.
Most wait until the fall to have their chimneys cleaned and inspected, but did you know that best time to address your chimney's safety is the summer season? Well, if you are wondering why, here are a few reasons:
1. Prices! The summer is considered the off-season for chimney companies; the demand for fireplace cleaning is relatively low, therefore the cost for cleaning is also low. The average cost of fireplace cleaning in the DC, VA and MD metropolitan area during the fall is $189, during the summer however, the average cost is around $139. Customers can also enjoy reduced prices on chimney repairs. Chimney companies will likely offer you a greater discount during their off season, than during the fall.
2. Weather! The [mostly] dry weather of summer, is a great time to address chimney repairs. Most chimney problems are worsened during the cold weather, so tending to your chimney's damage during the summer will prevent further deterioration over the fall and winter season. And of course, it's cheaper!
3. Don't wait until the 11th hour! Fall is the busiest season, and while many companies offer same or next day service, every chimney company's fall schedule is fraught with customers in need of chimney service, so it's first come, first serve... and there's a lot of people coming. Oh, and did I mention, it's cheaper?
So call Priddy Clean now and have your chimney cleaned and inspected early, if there are repairs needed, take care of them before the fall season rush!
And remember: If we didn't clean it, it's not Priddy Clean!
Priddy Clean Chimney Sweeps & Air Duct Cleaning has been servicing the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia Metropolitan area for over 28 years, with great reviews! We are fully licensed, bonded, insured and CSIA certified.
Check out our website for a complete description of our services and current specials. For your convenience, we now offer online scheduling!
The purpose of this blog is to update you on our seasonal specials, ongoing projects, chimney and non-chimney included, as well relevant articles on chimney safety and home improvement.