Tag Archives: CMU masonry chimney


During a recent home inspection on Orcas Island, I came across a CMU masonry chimney system that made me feel like I was a comedian. That’s because it was cracking up. Get it, “cracking up?”

Okay, I admit that was pretty bad. Alright, back to the chimney, minus the poor attempt at humor. Maybe…

Chimney cracks do come in all shapes and sizes. As you’ll see in the video, this particular crack extended nearly the entire length of the system when viewed from the outside. I say nearly because outwardly, it appeared to stop just short of the home’s independent footing. This is important because if it did, it would be a telltale sign of potential significant structural damage.

However, without popping off the chimney cap at the top, it was impossible for me to know this for sure. The best course of action, in this case, was to recommend further evaluation by a qualified contractor, who could verify my initial hunches and also seal the cracks.

While these cracks were probably not a big deal, they were the likely contributing factor to water intrusion (presenting as efflorescence deposits and water stains) near the fireplace in the home’s living room. Invasive moisture is just one of many reasons to repair chimney cracks.

See, no more terrible jokes. At least until next time, right?

Do you have questions or comments about chimney cracks or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).