Painting Chimneys – The Ultimate Roll of the Dice

Painting Chimneys – The Ultimate Roll of the Dice

If you were to take a stroll down any street in a densely populated residential area, depending of course upon where you are strolling, you may notice varying degrees of people who have the chimneys on their home painted.

While I am known to say things along the lines of “We will paint pretty much anything that someone is willing to pay us to paint”, there are certainly some items that I would steer people away from painting, often in conjunction with that statement.

Chimneys are one of these such items.

Even repainting an already painted chimney could prove to be an exercise in futility.

Recently I received a message from a Client whose chimney we had painted not too long ago and had started to peel in specific areas near the top.

When we started their chimney project, the Client had recently purchased the home and did not really know the chimney’s history of being painted.

Now that we had painted it, at least he had a baseline to go by.

Based on our many years in the industry, it did not take long for me to pinpoint that there was some type of hidden issue which existed and was causing the paint to peel.

The clear challenge in situations like these is that the chimney is already painted and one’s choices are rather limited in terms of what to do with it.

Basically, they could either repaint the chimney and hope for the best or strip all the paint off the chimney and leave the brick natural.

Brick, especially at the top of chimneys, can be extraordinarily finicky.

There could easily be a moisture issue due to where moisture tends to hit the inside of the chimney during certain storms and as the sun heats the chimney and draws the moisture out of it, the moisture forces its way through the paint and gradually causes that paint to peel.

In these instances, there could also be an inter-coat adhesion issue where if the soot/dirt from the chimney was not properly cleaned off at some point along away in the various times it had been painted in the past, then the chimney would be super prone to peeling, particularly near its top with the aforementioned additional moisture exposure.

These examples are not unusual, the ‘Catch 22’ with all of this is that one really would not know what entirely would happen if they repainted their chimney until they paint it and are able to monitor how long it lasts.

If there is peeling that occurs within a year or two of the chimney being painted, I can guarantee you that more often than not, the peeling has more to do with an underlying issue than it does with whomever had most recently painted it.

When I am questioned about whether or not someone should paint a chimney that was NEVER painted in the past, my answer is ALWAYS a resounding ‘NO’.

I often do repeat the phrase “We will paint pretty much anything that someone is willing to pay us to paint” when having this conversation and follow it with listing the chances someone takes when painting a chimney that was never painted before, especially the moisture content in the brick at the top of the chimney often being such an unknown factor.

If you are one of those fortunate souls who has painted or repainted their chimney in the past and never had an issue with it, count your blessings.

You were at the roulette table and ended up on the favorable side of a 50/50 dice roll.

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