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Tilting Chimneys - What Does It Mean and What Can You Do?

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Kellie Santiago

One of the most dramatic looking signs of foundation settlement is a chimney that is tilting or separating away from the rest of the home. As most houses are built, the foundation of the chimney is added to the foundation of the house. A full chimney can weigh tens of thousands of pounds! If the foundation can’t support the weight of the chimney, it may begin to tilt.


Telltale signs of a foundation related chimney issue include:

  • Leaning or tilting of the chimney
  • Cracks where the chimney foundation meets the home foundation
  • Damage to the roof near the chimney
  • Gaps between the chimney and home walls that have been filled in with mortar, foam or caulk


Tilting Chimneys  What Does It Mean and What Can You Do - Image 1


Please be aware that simply filling in the gap is not a safe solution. These symptoms can also be the first sign of a potentially serious issue with the home’s foundation and should be evaluated by a professional foundation contractor, who can check the rest of the house for problems as well.


Chimneys break down when they have not been designed with the proper structural support. However, they also experience problems when the structure has been built on poor supporting soils. If the soil supporting your chimney cannot hold its weight, the chimney may begin to sink, causing it to actually separate from the rest of the house and tilt outward.  If this is the case, it’s possible that the soil underneath the rest of your home is also no longer able to support the weight of the whole house.


At Connecticut Basement Systems, we specialize in foundation repairs of all kinds, including those related to leaning, tilting or separating chimneys.  To repair a tilting chimney, we recommend stabilizing it with a helical pier system. These piers are able to be driven deep into the ground to stronger soils that are able to support the weight of the chimney. Your chimney may even be able to be restored to its original position.


No matter what kinds of problems you may be experiencing, our in-house team of foundation experts are here to help. We offer free, personal consultations to help you decide which repair solution is right for you. Each consultation includes an on-site inspection and free written estimate.

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