The primary function of a chimney is ventilation. There are many working parts that make this efficient and safe in your home. Damage to one or more of these parts is not uncommon and often goes unnoticed or overlooked.

Below we explore common chimney fails we find on the job and why they are important.


Crowns protect your chimney from damage caused by water seeping into the bricks and mortar of your chimney structure. The protective cap sits on top of the crown and prevents other debris from entering your home.

Some indicators that it’s time to replace your chimney crown include if the crown is damaged or cracked, the chimney crown interferes with the flue liner resulting in poor air flow, or the crown is missing.


Creosote is a type of soot that forms in your chimney and creates a buildup when smoke doesn’t entirely escape. It starts off relatively easy to clean and remove but as it builds, it develops into a tar-like substance. It’s this thick degree of creosote that restricts air and minimizes the size of the air column that’s most likely to cause chimney fires. Additionally, chimney creosote can cause carbon monoxide to accumulate to unhealthy levels in your home.

A professional chimney sweep can resolve most creosote issues.


Flue lining refers to the protective layer installed inside a chimney to protect its walls from corrosion and heat. The liner contains the combustion products and directs them up and outside. When a chimney flue liner is damaged, it poses several risks. These include but are not limited to house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and improper airflow.


Another potential risk of flue deterioration is spalling (deterioration of brickwork). This happens because the liner protects the masonry from corrosive materials such as creosote. Spalling also occurs when moisture seeps into brickwork and cycles through freezing and thawing.


Chimney flashing ensures that the bonding between the chimney and roof is watertight. Substandard or damaged flashing can result in water intrusion, mold growth, rot, and damage to the masonry below the roof. When done properly, two panels of metal are installed around the area where the chimney meets the roof.

Flashing does need to be replaced periodically and installation can be tricky so we recommend you reach out to a professional roofer.


The 3-2-10 rule is the height standard for masonry chimneys. The main reason behind this rule is safety. It helps prevent accidents such as adjacent roofs catching fire if product that’s hot comes out of the chimney. The 3-2-10 rule also ensures optimal performance.


Some chimneys are so deteriorated or inadequately installed that they may need to be rebuilt. However, routine and diligent maintenance of your chimney is often much less expensive than replacing the entire system. It’s recommended to have your fireplaces and chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected each year.

Choosing a reputable professional you can trust to do the work is just as important as the work itself. Do your research, read reviews, and ask questions!



Home inspections and appraisals are both important parts of the home buying process. Whether you’re a homebuyer or a seller, it can be easy to confuse the two. While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between an inspection and an appraisal.

Both inspections and appraisals rely on licensed professionals to evaluate your home. However the distinct difference is that one focuses on the condition of the home and the other focuses on the property’s value.

Below we’ll explore both of these evaluations, their differences, and why they are both integral parts of the real estate transaction.


A home inspection is a visual overview of a home’s structure, condition, and systems. The inspector prepares an analytical and visual report that’s valuable to both purchasers and homeowners. The report details a property’s condition, including the assessment of necessary or recommended repairs, maintenance concerns and any other potential issues.

You can anticipate that your inspector will check the foundation, roof, attic, major appliances, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems in your home. You may also request additional inspections such as radon air testing, water quality, septic systems, mold testing, and pest infestations.

A home inspection is generally performed after a purchase agreement has been signed by a buyer and a seller. This agreement may include an inspection contingency which is designed to protect homebuyers. Within this clause, the buyer may use the findings in an inspection to negotiate repairs or the sale price, or even to walk away from the purchase.

Home inspections may also be done prior to the listing of a home.  The seller has to pay for the pre-listing inspection but they receive a report of the exact condition of their property. This offers advantages such as making the challenge of pricing their home more straightforward and accurate. Additionally, the seller is able to make necessary repairs so the likelihood of negotiations after the buyer’s inspection lessens.

Home inspections educate clients on the condition of their home and provide a negotiation tool or an “out” if drawn into a purchase agreement. Moreover, inspections can provide an educated idea of ongoing maintenance a home may require, assist in forecasting future costs, and better inform you in how to protect your investment.


A home appraisal is an opinion of the property’s market value. An appraisal report is prepared for the lender and includes  elements that a lender would want to consider when determining if a property is sufficient collateral to grant a loan. The appraiser follows an identified process to provide an analysis of the interior and exterior features of the property, comparable properties in the neighborhood, recent sales and listings, land value, and market conditions.

Lenders often require appraisals to determine how much money they will lend a buyer so most homebuyers will have one prior to reaching the closing table. It’s not unusual for the mortgage lender to choose an unbiased third-party appraiser and for the buyer to pay the fee. Appraisals are beneficial to the buyer because they ensure the home is worth the price.

It’s less common to have a pre-listing appraisal than it is to have a pre-listing home inspection. This is because real estate agents should have an understanding of the fundamental principles of value. They usually can give their clients an accurate comparative market analysis (comparison of the prices of recently sold similar homes). This helps their clients come to a fair and reasonable asking price for their home without an appraisal.

Basically appraisals place monetary value on the features and condition of a home and help to determine whether or not a lender will accept the property as security for a loan. If an appraisal is lower than the agreed upon price the seller may lower their asking price, the buyer can pay the gap differential in cash, or the appraisal could be disputed. 

Other details your appraiser will consider:

  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Code compliance
  • Age of home and features
  • Location
  • Curb appeal



  1. Educate the buyer/seller about the condition of the home and its components.
  2. Lenders do not require inspections.
  3. An inspection will not impact your ability to get a loan.
  4. Inspectors discover deeper issues in a home.
  5. Homeowners are encouraged to walk through the home with the inspector.
  6. Purchasers/homeowners are given information at the inspection.
  7. Inspections usually occur before the buyer’s purchasing decision.
  8. Inspections focus on existing and potential future problems of the home.


  1. Inform the lender/buyer/seller of the value of the home and property.
  2. Lenders usually require an appraisal.
  3. An appraisal impacts the loan amount received.
  4. Appraisers typically note items visible to the naked eye.
  5. Appraisals often happen without the presence of the buyer or seller.
  6. Reports are sent to the mortgage lender.
  7. Appraisals usually happen after a buyer has decided to purchase a property.
  8. Appraisers focus on value based on features, conditions, the market, and comparable recently listed and sold properties.


Generally the inspection is for the buyer to feel secure in their purchase and the appraisal is for the lender to feel secure about their investment in that purchase.  Home inspections and appraisals also offer sellers the ability to prepare so that they may get the most out of the sale of their home.

Separately inspections and appraisals are important and provide valuable information throughout the real estate transaction. Together they provide detailed reports regarding the property’s state, functionality, and integrity and deliver the involved parties an unbiased evaluation of a home.