HELP! Chimney Leaning Away From House Just Noticed

eldemilaAugust 29, 2009

We made an offer on a house which the bank accepted. Went to see the house on Friday (hadn't seen it since June 30th, live out of state) and noticed that the chimney is leaning away from the house.

Went on line today to see what this means, I live in SOFLA and there's no need for chimneys there, so I'm very unfamiliar with them (posted this fact previously)

I read the correct fix for this problem is to drive steel piers into the earth until adequate soil density is reached. Steel piers are minimally invasive. It's always cheaper to install steel piers than to rebuild the chimney.

The fireplace is down in the finished basement which has mold and smells really musty. I thought this was possibly due to one or more of the problems I saw down there - one being the window has a broken pane, or when they pulled out the washer, maybe the water leaked on to the carpet, or possible plumbing problems in the 1/2 bath down there. Not to mention, the house is closed up without any air conditioning and it being summer.

Now I'm wondering if water is getting in this gap?

Has anyone had this problem and fixed it as mentioned above? If so, can you tell me how much it cost and how the fix is holding up since it was done?

I may have to resind my offer to purchase this house. It's an AS IS purchase and I figured what I needed to spend to put this house in a habitable condition for my family and this and another issue we just found is NOT in the budget.

Thanks for any help!

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Re the chimney:
I'd definitely have a mason or home inspector take a look, but all chimneys will lean away from the direction of the prevailing wind over time. If the house you're looking at is in an exposed, windy location and is more than several decades old, this is probably the case.

Driving steel piers would only be necessary if it's an exterior chimney (you can't drive steel piers in the cellar without great expense) and is pulling away from the house. Most chimney rebuilds mean from the roofline up because the mortar has deteriorated over time - they are not astronomically expensive at all.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 4:55AM
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all chimneys will lean away from the direction of the prevailing wind

Have no idea what this means, but the house isn't in a wide open area that's really windy. The home on the chimney side isn't far at all - actually, would like my possible neighbors to be farther away!

The house is a tri-level home. The chimney is outside the finished basement. I don't think it needs rebuilding, but what do I know, nothing when it comes to things like this. Below is a partial pic of the chimney, before I noticed the problem. Will have to upload the newer pic when I get a chance.

Home inspector coming tomorrow (9/1) with foundation repair man coming Friday (not soon enough for me) to assess what the damage is and what needs to be done AND of course, the cost.

Thanks for your insight!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 12:36PM
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