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Unreinforced Brick Chimneys in a Earthquake

The Problem. Many brick chimneys are built with no reinforcement and are possibly prone to collapse or damage in an earth quake, resulting in damage to homes, injury people, cars and pets.

How to identify the problem. If the mortar between the bricks crumble or is damaged this may be a potential hazard. Tall / slender chimneys are the most vulnerable to collapsing. Inspection the floor space or attic for metal ties and supports that are holding the chimney to the house.

Possible Remedy. You can replace the chimney, structurally support with by nailing plywood above the ceiling in the attic, just under the shingles when you re-roof, this will prevent large bricks falling into the home. Add metal ties and straps to secure the chimney to the home. Metal flues can replace the upper part of the chimney if the mortar is sound. Please don’t locate a child’s play area, parking space or patio next to questionable areas.

Damage to a home after a recent earthquake, due to a unreinforced Chimney

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