Chimney repair and installation is a pretty specialized field, in that it requires a precarious situation on a roof, heavy materials and possible roofing and masonry skills. Inherent building and construction knowledge is required for involved chimney work, thus hiring a chimney contractor or remodeling contractor is a wise move for many reasons. That said, there are a few small projects you can tackle if you have the equipment, materials, and tools as well as no fear of climbing up to the roof.
What chimney projects can you DIY?
You can do some minor repairs on your chimney, such as patch up a hole with mortar to prevent leaks, replace missing or rusted flashing, or clear out debris from the chimney cap. Doing these minor repairs yourself may save you some money, however, keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase materials and will have a learning curve. Doing this yourself also means scheduling the work when it is most convenient to you.
When to not DIY your chimney repairs
You can check out articles and videos online about how to build a chimney from scratch, learning about repointing brickwork, filling cracks and replacing broken brick. But it’s not uncommon for an ambitious DIYer to take on a complicated project only to have to call in the pros to re-do the work. Some chimney repairs may actually affect the inside of your home as well. An expert should be able to spot potential issues with other areas of the chimney, issues that may be invisible to the inexperienced homeowner. Even if you still insist on doing the work yourself, it may be a good idea to hire a pro to give you a consultation and advice.
The hazards of chimney repair
Falling off a ladder, or falling off a roof is no joke. Millions of people are injured from falls around the home every year, and many of these falls involve ladders. Not only is a professional more experienced with ladder safety, they generally work as a team so that there is someone to assist in case of an emergency. Very often homeowners attempt home improvement projects, like chimney repairs, alone or by themselves. If your chimney is difficult to reach, your roof has a steep pitch, or you have a metal roof, be sure to hire a professional. (Read our ladder safety tips, here.)
Why a professional is your best bet
Despite the cost, you can get peace of mind knowing the job is being correctly completed by an experienced professional. A chimney contractor skilled in masonry does this kind of work every day. He or she knows how to get the job done right and get it done efficiently and also has access to the tools, equipment, and safety gear that you likely do not keep on hand. A professional chimney contractor will know the local building codes and be in charge of obtaining the necessary permits so you don’t have to go through the hassle.