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Old 03-15-2012, 09:38 PM   #1
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


We have a metal flue, wood burning prefab fireplace.

Ever since we moved in (2 1/2 years ago, new construction), when it is windy, we can hear a rattling inside the chimney...it can get pretty loud at times, like something is knocking against the metal flue. I didn't think a whole lot of it at first. I thought maybe the covering up top was rattling or something needed to be screwed down.

We called a chimney sweep out to let us know if the flue needed swept, and we asked him about the rattling. When he was up there, he said he could push on the chimney and move it 2-3 inches back and forth and he said it was hitting the metal flue and making the noise when it is windy. When he was moving the chimney around, my wife (I was at work) said it sounded just like it does when it is windy. The guy said he had never seen that before in 20+ years of being a chimney sweep.

So he said he could try to reinforce it from inside the attic...OR...reinforce it with brackets on the outside, but that wouldn't be nice to look at and might be a red flag to anyone who sees it that there is something wrong with the chimney. So I said to reinforce it from the attic. He came back later and did just that. He said it might not get rid of 100% of the swaying, but it would be dramatically bette and there shouldn't be any rattling. He finished the work five days ago...it only took him a couple hours and he charged $270, which also included him tearing off some seal on the outside that had cracked and applying new sealant...or something like that. If the roof wasn't so damn steep, I'd go up and take a look.

Much to my disappointment, it's pretty damn windy here tonight, and it's still rattling just like it was before. So we're calling him first thing in the morning and having him come back out. I want to get that thing secured down asap before it causes any problems.

I can't see what he did inside the attic. We have two access panels to our attic, and I poked my head up there with a flashlight and I can't see jack. There are valleys, ducts, beams, etc. in the way. I'd have to crawl up in there and walk over to it to see how it was reinforced...and it would be a pain to do so. The chimney sweep took photos of what he did and is supposed to email them to me, I don't have them yet...when I get them, I'll post 'em. But I do have photos of the chimney during construction.

Here is the chimney, outside view:


And I was smart enough to take a photo of the inside of the chimney, looking up, during construction of our house.


It looks like it is just mounted to the roof decking and the framing of the chimney doesn't extend inside the attic. Should it extend down and be secured to the base of the trusses? Or would that risk popping drywall nails?

What is the proper way to secure this type of chimney to the roof/trusses?
And what would you guys do to fix the rattling and swaying of the chimney?

Thanks as always.

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Old 03-16-2012, 06:30 AM   #2
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


Are you sure that the wood structure is moving?

Could the noise be from the metal cap?

Actual flue not secured and vibrating?

What is the skill level of the worker who didn't fix this?

Did he remove the cap and look down the chimney chase?

Could you resize the picture so it's not so big?

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Old 03-16-2012, 08:33 AM   #3
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


The guy said he could rock the chimney back and forth 2-3 inches.
And when he was rocking it, my wife said that was the same rattling that we hear when it is windy.
So that seems to be the problem.
The guy has been a chimney sweep for a while, and previously worked in home construction. So he seems ok.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


Is this even a real chimney or is it decorative? It looks like faux brick or brick facing? I don't see real masonry. I am wondering of strapping the flu would cap it from slapping around the inside of that faux chimney frame?

As a kid in Cheyenne all the houses in our development had chimneys but none of the houses had fireplaces. Every time the wind blew, the angle brackets holding them to the rooftops would fail and people would be searching the neighborhood for their chimneys.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:28 PM   #5
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Is this even a real chimney or is it decorative? It looks like faux brick or brick facing? I don't see real masonry. I am wondering of strapping the flu would cap it from slapping around the inside of that faux chimney frame?

As a kid in Cheyenne all the houses in our development had chimneys but none of the houses had fireplaces. Every time the wind blew, the angle brackets holding them to the rooftops would fail and people would be searching the neighborhood for their chimneys.
It's a real chimney...but it's framed and has siding on it...there is no masonry...framed, then plyood/osb, then siding. Like I said, it's a wood burning prefab fireplace with a metal flu.

He is saying the entire framed chimney structure can be rocked 2-3 inches when pushed, like it wasn't secured properly to the roof. He is saying it's not the flu that is not secured, it's the entire framed structure that rocks. I posted the picture above to kind of show how it is secured, and was curious if this is correct. I'm also curious as to what is the best way to stop it from rocking.
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:38 PM   #6
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


Assuming your metal flue goes up the center and as you say it is stable, that is an awful lot of wobble from that chimney to make the noise.

Weird. It looks almost like someone just slid the chimney framing down down between two rafters and let it sit on the OSB on two sides and OSB with 2by under it on the others and that there is nothing really holding it in place but maybe a nail or two on the sides of the base where there is 2by? Hopefully there is a nail or two where the structure meets the rafters but that is not enough. I cannot think of an easy way to fix it without tearing something out to get to at least the base.

Have you talked to your builder about it? Did he run for cover or offer to come out and help you fix it?

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Old 03-16-2012, 06:53 PM   #7
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


Looks like it's time for reconstruction---House is out of warrantee?

Pealing off the siding might be the easiest---then the OSB--then fix/brace and properly attach the framing--

Stinks,but the writing is on the wall---Mike----
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:19 AM   #8
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


All the chimneys like this that I have seen here have been framed right down to the base of the trusses, or right to the floor in some cases. Here's the cross section from a client's house plans to show how its done; this one is intended to have a EIFS type finish but the construction is much the same no matter what the outside is finished with.
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather-untitled.jpg  
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:59 PM   #9
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


Based on what I can see, and nothing against your chimney sweep, I would put that episode behind me; if he's willing to reinmburse you for work that dod not correct the problem, fine, but if not, although he should have told you it was not something that he could handle, drop it, and move on. As Mike said, it looks like it's time for reconstruction, and, regardless of your warranty status at this point, I would start with the original contractor. It's impossible to say just looking at the pictures, but I assume he does good wrok, and, who knows, maybe that is not constructed the way that he instructed his guys to do it, and he missed it before it go covered up. Either way though, he would surely agree that it's not right, and while he may not come out and say so, maybe it would show up in the amount that he would charge to make it right.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:04 PM   #10
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


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Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
Based on what I can see, and nothing against your chimney sweep, I would put that episode behind me; if he's willing to reinmburse you for work that dod not correct the problem, fine, but if not, although he should have told you it was not something that he could handle, drop it, and move on. As Mike said, it looks like it's time for reconstruction, and, regardless of your warranty status at this point, I would start with the original contractor. It's impossible to say just looking at the pictures, but I assume he does good wrok, and, who knows, maybe that is not constructed the way that he instructed his guys to do it, and he missed it before it go covered up. Either way though, he would surely agree that it's not right, and while he may not come out and say so, maybe it would show up in the amount that he would charge to make it right.
The chimney sweep has offered to come back out and reinforce it some more, and if that doesn't work, then he mentioned putting brackets on the outside...which is something I want to avoid if possible.
Still waiting on the goofball to send my those photos.

I tried to contact our builder, but he is retired now (he's almost 70), has moved (used to live on the lot next to ours) and his cell number no longer has service. His house is for sale...so I contacted the realtor to try and have him call me. I seriously doubt he bailed. We had a couple other minor issues that he came back to work on not long after moving in...and after our warranty expired there was an issue with the culvert that is under our driveway where it crosses a narrow portion of our lake, and he paid half of the repair costs when he didn't have to pay anything. He found a guy to fix it and he even got out there and helped.
Anyway, we'll see if I can get a hold of him.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:36 PM   #11
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Chimney Rattles/Sways in Windy Weather


Forgot to reply back to this...
The chimney sweep came back out, reinforced it some more, and that seemed to do the trick. We've had more than a few nasty storms come through, some pretty windy, and not a peep from the chimney. Not a single rattle. Seems solid now.
I tried to look up in the attic to see what was done and snap some photos, but I found it's a major pain in the ass to get up there...so I'll leave that for another day.

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