Fireplace chimney is sinking

KaciFLJune 27, 2011

Chimney slab is separate from foundation of home. It is 6 1/2 feet by 2 feet. Chimney is block and brick. Chimney has a 1/4 " horizontal crack all the way around it, 2 feet from grown level. This crack is stable and hasn't changed in one month. There are other horizonal cracks around main crack. But much smaller. Our soil is sink/swell clay.

After digging around chimney, discovered the slab is a mere 5" thick.

Had some fireplace folks out. The rest of fireplace is stable, including where it attaches to house and roof.

I've called foundation repair companies. Most haven't a clue what to do. Another suggested 2 helio tiles/jacks? 20-40 feet down until they hit limestone. They want us to have an engineer look at it first. Repair and engineer will cost $5000. Is there an easier/cheaper way to fix this?

I didn't call insurance company,as we have a high detuctible

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With advice of some fellows he works with at our local hospital:

Dug around base of fire place as best as he could. He drilled holes in the slab, inserted heavy duty eyebolts into the slab which he epoxyed in. Under which he inserted three hydrolic bottle jacks. Jacked up the 5 inch slab. This closed the 3/4 inch horizontal crack (yes, it grew). Poured high PSI cement around sides, after forming the two areas with wood. Left center empty for the next day, jacks are still in place.

Next day, the crack had opened a bit, jacked it closed, again. Squeezed in a special cement grout on top of areas poured yesterday to prevent (hopefully) any more settlement. He did this with a large cloth bag with a tip/spout (similar to a cake icing bag).

Tomorrow, he'll fill in the center(exact front) area of chimney. Leave area open for a few days, then refill the dirt.

He is expecting some slight resettlement then will grout crack lines on chimney. Plus watch for anymore settlement.

We're going to run a rain gutter across the front of the chimney. This will looked weird, but the chimney isn't visible from street. Florida rains were drenching this area. Will call back the chimney inspector to check it over inside and out to see if it remains a working fireplace. Have them replace the chimney cap. May have them observe a fire in the fireplace to insure all is well.

If this fails, then guess we'll be calling those expensive folks. Wish us luck, $5000 dollars worth!

I'll post pictures before and after. He's finished and will keep you posted.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:51PM
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Not putting gutter across chimney. That was my silly idea and realize it isn't necessary. Chimney holding up, so far. Serious rains on the way, so we'll see...

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:00AM
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