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Chimney or Jenga?


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Has anyone seen a chimney constructed on a angle like this? This chimney is 100 years old, and appeared to me in satisfactory condition, but the buyer was quite nervous about the angle, and honestly I had never seen one like that before, so I dont know what to tell him...

Youre opinions are greatly appreciated!!

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It's quite common in older buildings to find that a mason had to slightly corbel a stack in order to get it to exit the roof where desired. It's normally not an issue if the stack is in good shape, has a good mud lining, and is flashed properly. However, it looks like someone didn't do a good job of flashing that stack. Either that or you've got a cracked crown and water is permeating the stack and degrading that mortar up near the top. Was it lined?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I was unable to view inside of the chimney as the roof is VERY steep and was covered with ice. The chimney is only being used for the furnace and water heater exhaust, there is no fireplace.

Here is a pic of the flashing around the chimney, which I would guess is the cause of what you are speaking of.

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Originally posted by jodil

Has anyone seen a chimney constructed on a angle like this? This chimney is 100 years old, and appeared to me in satisfactory condition, but the buyer was quite nervous about the angle, and honestly I had never seen one like that before, so I dont know what to tell him...

Youre opinions are greatly appreciated!!

There are lots of them in Portland.

I tell people that there used to be lots of them in Oakland & San Francisco too, before the Loma Prieta earthquake . . .

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi,

That's a pretty crummy flashing job. However, besides the flashings, you have to pay attention to the crown. If you've got a cracked crown, it's easy for water to get into the brickwork and work it's way down to the roof plane and any framing that abuts the bricks. Lots of times, water will move down through a crack in the crown and folks end up gooping up the flashings with tar because they can't figure out where the water is gettin in.

If I hadn't been able to look down that flue, I'd have called to have it inspected by a CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America - http://www.CSIA.org) sweep and to make any repairs recommended by the sweep prior to closing.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Ditto. I've seen lots of chimneys that are built with an angle, like in your photo. I always, always recommend a Level 2 Clean/Service and inspection by a qualified chimney professional for any chimney that is either venting a fireplace/stove or HVAC system or water heater. There is just too much that we can't see while doing a non-invasive visual inspection.

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Originally posted by msteger

Ditto. I've seen lots of chimneys that are built with an angle, like in your photo. I always, always recommend a Level 2 Clean/Service and inspection by a qualified chimney professional for any chimney that is either venting a fireplace/stove or HVAC system or water heater. There is just too much that we can't see while doing a non-invasive visual inspection.

No I was not able to view inside from any angle. In the basement the chimney had no cleanout, and the furnace flue vent right into to chimney and was sealed around edges.

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No I was not able to view inside from any angle. In the basement the chimney had no cleanout, and the furnace flue vent right into to chimney and was sealed around edges.

When I can't get to the top of a chimney, I find vent connectors come apart real easy - just a few screws. I have thousands of pics just like this from today:

2008211182021_GEDC0688.jpg

I'm sure Bill would have some specific info on this, but I would say that the house is older than 100 years, given the lack of any type of ridge board.

Here's what's typical in our region:

2008211183048_rafterdates.jpg

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

. . . Here's what's typical in our region:

2008211183048_rafterdates.jpg

That memo must not have made it to the Pacific NW. I have yet to see any pattern to the installation of ridge boards.

That diagram is interesting. They didn't say 1900 or 1910, they said 1905. Why do you suppose that 1905 is significant?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

That memo must not have made it to the Pacific NW. I have yet to see any pattern to the installation of ridge boards.

That diagram is interesting. They didn't say 1900 or 1910, they said 1905. Why do you suppose that 1905 is significant?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

They is me. The 1905 transition date is based on extensive research of buildings in the mid-Atlantic region with documented build dates. There are of course some exceptions, but for the most part:

- Rafters installed in 1900 (and shortly after) are paired with no ridge board

- Rafters from 1910 builds (and a few years before) are attached to 1" ridge boards.

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

They is me. The 1905 transition date is based on extensive research of buildings in the mid-Atlantic region with documented build dates. There are of course some exceptions, but for the most part:

- Rafters installed in 1900 (and shortly after) are paired with no ridge board

- Rafters from 1910 builds (and a few years before) are attached to 1" ridge boards.

OK. Why?

What happened between 1900 and 1910 that caused builders to change the way they framed roofs?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by inspecthistoric

. . . Here's what's typical in our region:

2008211183048_rafterdates.jpg

That memo must not have made it to the Pacific NW. I have yet to see any pattern to the installation of ridge boards.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

The memo didn't make it here to Arkansas either. Just this afternoon I did a home built in 1927 without any ridge board at all. Admittedly, most of that age around here do have a ridge board. I attribute it to a lack of a uniform building code, but it's not like I was around to know. Pre-1860 stuff around here is all but non-existent. I couldn't begin to tell you anything about any typical patterns for those homes, but it is cool to see what happened elsewhere.

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

OK. Why?

What happened between 1900 and 1910 that caused builders to change the way they framed roofs?

I've seen a handful with ridge boards built in the 1890s. I've seen a handful without a ridge built in the teens.

I've also read many publications that describe and illustrate roof construction with ridge boards. The earliest mention is 1891, but it is included with other roof framing methods. By 1903 the other methods are often no longer described and the ridge board is becoming almost exclusive. By 1907, roof structures without ridge boards are clearly described as an "old method".

I'm guessing that shortly after 1900, the "build it like my master taught me" method is disappearing. The carpentry trade is being taught by the growing vo-tech education system, architects are consistently designing most residential buildings and builders are using published design guides and arithmetic.

I know it doesn't explain exactly why the change in the way they framed roofs, but I wasn't around then. Ask Les.

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study material for Jim K's question

www.pathnet.org/si.asp?id=490

I have used this paper for reference several times. It is 48pages, but I recommend taking the time to download and print it. It is one of the documents that I find very little "fault" with.

It is not regionalized information and will get you to think beyond your own geography.

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Originally posted by Les

study material for Jim K's question

www.pathnet.org/si.asp?id=490

I have used this paper for reference several times. It is 48pages, but I recommend taking the time to download and print it. It is one of the documents that I find very little "fault" with.

It is not regionalized information and will get you to think beyond your own geography.

Thanks Les, though I already have that one. I think I got it here at TIJ.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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