A leaning or separating chimney from your house is a warning sign that it’s foundation has failed. This can be an area of concern as it will eventually collapse and fall away from the house. A chimney is one of the heaviest parts of a home and it sits on a very small footprint. Because of this, it tends to be very sensitive to soil that was poorly compacted during construction and could be the first thing you notice settling. Either way, do not ignore a leaning or sagging chimney as it is a warning sign that its foundation has failed and it is only a matter of time until it causes more damage. We have seen cities fine homeowners who neglected to get a leaning chimney fixed by professionals. Home’s can lose significant value at the time of resale if found to have structural foundation issues.
What is causing your chimney to lean, settle, and separate from the house? Simply put, the soil your foundation was built on isn’t stable, and was poorly compacted during construction. Depending on the amount of clay, sand, and organic matter in your soil, it’s unique geologic composition can present a variety of problematic reactions to an extended period of wet, dry, hot or cold conditions. When soil stays too dry, it shrinks and creates voids where a foundation will settle. When soil stays too wet, it gets soft and cannot bear the heavy loads and a foundation will sink. When soil freezes, it will expand and heave the foundation upwards. All of these soil conditions put pressure on the chimney which then causes it to eventually collapse.