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Planning ahead

Things to know before you get started.
7 Steps to Masonry Maintenance
  1. 1. Get regular inspections

    Be sure to schedule the sweep before summer because the humidity can combine with creosote buildup and cause damage or create foul odors inside and outside your home.

  2. 2. Avoid buildup

    Soot and creosote may build up on your chimney. This is a sign that your fires are not burning correctly. Have a mason or chimney sweep fix any problems with the fireplace immediately.

  3. 3. Watch what you burn

    Never burn green wood in your fireplace. Only choose seasoned wood, which means it has been dried for at least six months. Always stick to hardwoods like oak and maple.

  4. 4. Check outside, too

    If you have an outdoor fireplace, check it regularly to make sure small animals, birds and insects do not take up residence inside. Remove any debris or plants growing along the inside.

  5. 5. Be extra careful in the cold

    During the winter, take caution with icy steps, walkways and patios. Sharp metal shovels can damage the masonry. Salting these areas can also lead to damage.

  6. 6. Ask about protective coatings

    Consider sealing your outdoor masonry to protect it from the sun, rain, and other elements.

  7. 7. Be timely

    If you do see damage, such as broken tile or bricks, cracked mortar or weeds growing through your masonry, hire a professional to repair it immediately before it becomes a bigger problem.

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