Published Friday 6th of December 2013 // Updated Wednesday 8th of February 2017
Chimneys are typically made of brick, especially in a region like New England with all of its classic colonials constructed throughout its long history. However, if you live in any other area with colder climates, the brick chimney is likely a ubiquitous fixture in your home as well as the abodes of your neighbors. These chimneys will offer an excellent source of heating and warmth, all while providing countless aesthetic and homely charms.
However, the brick of your chimney is at-risk of deterioration and degradation over the years, especially in areas that suffer through harsher winters. Winters bring with them the threat of salts, melting water, blustery winds, and the absolutely terrifyingly disastrous freeze/thaw cycles. The freeze/thaw cycles are particularly devastating to concrete, and especially more delicate concrete like brick. When water gets into the concrete in the warmer months, it will sit there until it freezes in the winter. Once it freezes, it will thaw with the advent of spring, which can lead to disastrous cracking and crumbling that can ruin both the visual aesthetic of your chimney, as well as its structural integrity.
The easiest way to deal with freeze/thaw cycles and the other dangers of winter is to apply a concrete sealer to your chimney. Concrete sealers are substances that help reinforce your concrete and enhance its longevity and performance. For a chimney made up of bricks or another more porous concrete material, a silane/siloxane sealer like Siloxa-Tek 8500 is your best choice. Silane/siloxane sealers are made up of large particles of sealant that will not penetrate past the surface, as well as a small quantity of smaller particles of sealant that will penetrate, though only to a certain depth. The larger particles of sealant are ideal for the porous brick, as they will pool on the surface to be spread out evenly over the concretes exterior, while the smaller particles will resist the incursion of water even further. The sealer will act as a raincoat, keeping out water and salt that can penetrate within the concrete to cause incomprehensible damage. If you have a chimney attached to your home, take the necessary steps to prevent damage before it occurs. Treat your brick with a silane/siloxane sealer, and rest assured that your chimney will last a very long time.