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Old 11-14-2013, 08:16 PM   #1
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Leaning Ladder Against Chimney

I'm thinking about embarking on a project to install a wood burning fireplace insert in my 1935 Craftsman Bungalow. The current chimney is about 18 feet high and is on the outside wall of the long side of this house which is an A-frame 1.5 story. The chimney extends about 9-10 feet above where the roof meets the gutter. The chimney is currently unlined and has been for all these years, there was a lot of creosote buildup the last time it got inspected earlier this year. My concern is leaning the ladder against it to drop the liner down and install the rain cap and top plate. It looks solid from the outside but I'm not sure if the creosote, moisture etc has damaged its structural integrity.

Will an old chimney like this withstand the lateral forces from the weight of the ladder and me? Am I better off renting some scaffolding and doing it that way instead?


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Old 11-14-2013, 08:22 PM   #2
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I think you already have your answer in your own post. Go with the scaffolding. That would be safer than a ladder under any circumstances anyway.


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Old 11-27-2013, 09:31 AM   #3
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If your chimney was built around 1935 I would be shocked if the mortar in the upper 3-5 feet was not in rough shape.
My chimney which was built around 1975, had loose bricks on the top and could be rocked back and forth 1/8 inch. Ended up rebuilding everything above the roof line (Thankfully this was only 4 feet in my case).
Even if your mortar is in good shape, an old chimney is really just a bunch of stacked bricks. The mortar has no tensile strength so everything basically holds together with gravity. I would be really scared to lean a ladder on it myself!
Have you taken a close look at the mortar yourself? I suspect that if you stood on the roof and inspected the mortar at eye level you would see enough to scare you away from using a ladder.
If you do this, you should also think about re-pointing.
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:52 PM   #4
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Definitely go with the scaffolding.
I have heard of/read about too many people falling from ladders when the chimney collapsed.


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