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What is a Brick Chimney?

Autumn Rivers
Updated May 16, 2024
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Traditional chimneys typically are made of brick, and they can usually be found anywhere from houses to buildings, new or old. A brick chimney is also often referred to as a masonry chimney since it needs to be constructed on-site instead of purchased and shipped whole. Like chimneys made out of any other material, a brick chimney carries smoke and gas out of a home or building.

Since the typical brick chimney needs to be built on-site rather than at a factory, there are many variations available. Such structures can vary in size, height, and color, though they almost always include mortar between the bricks to hold them together. Brick chimneys are often built to complement the construction of the rest of the house, though both builders and homeowners often incorporate their own design ideas.

The bricks that make up a brick chimney often vary in type. Many brick chimneys on older industrial buildings have exteriors made of radial brick, which are curved and best for rounded chimneys. They can also often be found on schools and hospitals, and are known for their durability. The inner part of most chimneys, called chimney liners, are often made of chemical-resistant brick which can combat the effects of both acid and thermal shock that come from gas fireplaces. For the most part, the majority of masonry chimneys are made of clay brick, which is often the color red.

Though brick chimneys are typically known for being durable and long-lasting, they do require plenty of maintenance. Since chimneys are constantly exposed to the elements, they need specialized care, especially when they face extreme weather or high humidity. Chimney sweeps often need to be hired to keep the typical brick chimney clean, and the structure also should be waterproofed to prevent water damage over time. These are just some of the most basic elements of chimney maintenance.

Chimney repair is also available in most areas of the world. Whether bricks need to be replaced or mortar needs to be retouched, most homeowners opt to hire professionals for such duties. Tuckpointing is one of the services that many chimney repair companies offer. This mostly consists of pinpointing crumbling mortar between bricks and replacing it with fresh mortar. It can improve both the appearance and structural integrity of a brick chimney. In fact, like many repairs and maintenance tasks, this task can often be completed by the homeowner.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for HomeQuestionsAnswered, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By runner101 — On Oct 05, 2011

I grew up without a chimney, but I didn't really think about it too much when I was a small child until Christmas time came around. I would be so worried about if and how Saint Nicholas would make it into our house without a chimney! I would ask my parents to please leave the door open and the outside light on so he would know exactly where to go! Of course when I got old enough to know the truth, I didn't think about not having a chimney very much at all.

I think brick chimney really can complete a home! They are so aesthetically beautiful on the inside and outside. Brick chimney's also can save a lot of money on your heat bill too. Brick chimney's also give a good reason for family and friends to get together; everyone can huddle and talk around the fire in the fall and winter.

By lonelygod — On Oct 04, 2011

Does anyone know what to look for when you are choosing chimney bricks? Do you have to buy a certain kind of brick, or will anything do?

My current project is brick chimney repair because some of the bricks on our chimney have gotten damaged over the years. I really hate the look of brick that is starting to crumble, as it makes me nervous. I don't want my whole chimney coming down!

Also, if I try brick chimney repair myself, do you know of anyplace I could get some great tips on how to fix my chimney? I am a bit of a beginner with masonry work so I really need some pointers.

By Sara007 — On Oct 04, 2011

There is nothing better to have in a house than a brick chimney and a nice fireplace to keep you warm in the winter. I think that having a fireplace chimney is one of those things that makes homes look really unique, as they come in all sorts of brick colors, and sometimes even covered in field stone.

When we were having our house constructed we made sure that our brick chimney construction was top of the line because we didn't want to have to be constantly doing repairs. Plus, if your chimney isn't built well it can cause a lot of problems in your home.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for HomeQuestionsAnswered, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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