The closest the average homeowner gets to their chimney is their fireplace or hearth. This could be because, with the exception of having the flue cleaned, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to worry about the state of your chimney.

Unfortunately, neglecting your chimney over time leads to missing warning signs of damage. And as your Milwaukee chimney grows older, the brickwork may become cracked.

What do chimney cracks mean for you and your fireplace? Keep reading to find out.


Severely Damaged Cracked Chimney in Hales Corners, WI
The average Milwaukee chimney has a lifespan of a century or more. But your chimney’s life is significantly shorter if it becomes damaged.

Damage may be caused by weather or natural disasters like earthquakes, but most often, it is caused by poor construction. Any damage caused by poor construction will likely result in cracks. Other points about cracks in your chimney include:

  • Poor construction leads to damage. If it’s not a solid build, any movement can result in cracks in both the masonry and the mortar. This can happen if the builder did not leave a small gap between the chimney and flue lining to allow air in. Without the gap, the flue lining expands and meets the brick, leading to cracks in the area around the pressure.
  • Wind damage also causes cracks in newly built chimneys. Improper construction or those set on defective foundations can cause the chimney to bend or lean, which leads to cracks in the recently-set mortar.
  • Weather-related damage is the second most common kind of damage. If you live in a region with extreme climates, the freeze-thaw effect may result in problems with your chimney. These problems are exacerbated by improper construction.
  • Anchoring an antenna to a chimney may also lead to cracks over the lifespan of the chimney.
  • Finally, earthquakes or other serious movements in the earth nearby can cause stress to the chimney, resulting in cracks.


Defects to your chimney are dangerous no matter how minor they appear. Damage leads to cracks, and cracks erode the integrity of your chimney.

When there are gaps or cracks in the construction of the chimney, it allows gas, heat, and moisture to escape, leading to the destruction of the inside of your chimney. Additionally, cracks allow gases and soot to escape and build up. In some cases, these escape into your home, damaging your air quality.


The best way to prevent damage from turning into cracks is through regular inspections.

Inspect your chimney at least once every year or every two years to look for signs of cracks in the mortar and masonry, as well as loose or missing flashing.

If you see any cracks, report them to a mason or repairman immediately. Leaving them to their own devices will only make the cracks worse.

As cracks progress, they cause more damage to your roof and become more expensive to repair.


Protecting your house means protecting your chimney. Whether it’s getting on in years or it’s improperly constructed, even a little damage can lead to cracks in the masonry.

Worried about the integrity of your chimney? Call the Chimney Expert for a free estimate today.