What I'm Seeing Now


What Do You Do When The Chimney Moves, And Pulls Away From The House?

What do you do when the chimney moves, and pulls away from the house?

1.  Pull the chimney back from inside the attic so it's straight up and down, being sure to tie it securely to more than one roof rafter.  This insures it will not move any more.

2.  Cover any gap with goop and a strip of wood trim that you have been sure to paint so it doesn't rot.

3.  Ignore it.  There's nothing to see here.

4.  Contact and engineer and get some advice.  Do what he says and have a report available for your buyers when you sell the house.

Well, this seller went with number 2!

At least he was consistent with number 2! 

Both sides were equally, and completely, gooped!  Top to bottom!

Not sure what the goop is, I suspected asphalt tar for a driveway repair.

Had I done it, of course, we'd have gone with the licorice gum repair.

Works every time.

Of course, with all that you need to include a little bit of Number 3 above!

Why would you think few would go with Number 4?

My guess would be cost.  Methinks these sorts of repairs to be very expensive!  Well, actually they are.

My recommendation:  when you go to sell a house that has a serious issue, sellers need to be very, very comfortable with the idea that everything that can be done to satisfy the issue has been done.  If not, well, for sure, your sale might take a while.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 13 commentsJay Markanich • March 22 2014 04:42AM


Hi Jay,

It was hard to believe but the 1905 home I just inspected had a great fire place chimney that was still tight to the home.

This is an issue that will haunt a lot of homes for ever.

Have a good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 6 years ago

Not knowing the details of the inspection matter in the contract, the responsibility for property condition is the buyer's.

Clearly, they can inspect but there's no reason for the seller to disclose. 

The listing agent may be another matter depending on what they do or don't know.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Foundation is everything Clint.  Guess what they did right on that house?

Lenn - I know they don't disclose but if you are selling and simply hope something like this will be overlooked by a home inspector you are smoking the wrong stuff.  However, the buyer and agent looked things over carefully and claimed not to have seen this!  To me black goop is hard to overlook.

If I was a seller with repair information about a problem, and it's proper repair, I would disclose that so it would NOT be an issue, but that is just me.

I think a lot of sellers simply hope no home inspection will be done.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Whew!  I thought the 20+ year old homes had issues. 

Posted by Laura Andersen, A HomeSOLD Name (678)462-1191 Woodstock, Georgia (Keller Williams Realty Partners ~ 678.462.1191 agentandersen@gmail.com) over 6 years ago

Jay,. Black goop works. Its like the La Brea tar pits for rodents.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, I freaked out an agent once.  He was standing out in the front yard and I yelled for him to watch the top of the chimney as I pushed it away from the house 2-3 inches.   Lots of tall chimneys are poorly attached to the structure---if at all.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

No duct tape? I'm disappointed.

In all seriousness, I'd do #4 because I'd be afraid of it falling down at some point and doing more damage.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 6 years ago

Jay- I'd leave the house!!!!!   LOL  And then call a professional. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 6 years ago

Jay, yikes, that's looks like a disaster just waiting to happen! Stand clear everyone!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 6 years ago

They ALL do Laura!  All!

Don - next Russian boxers will be making teeth protectors out of it.

This was falling away beginning at the base Charlie, where it was woven into the foundation bricks!

Suzanne - most circumspect people would choose #4 too.  But my personal disappointment at the missing duct tape was unbounded.

Like the Monte Python troop - run awaaaay, run awaaaay!  That it Kathy?


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I don't know Tom.  That black goop was pretty sticky.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

What's a little movement amoungst friends Jay? It's not moving that far right?

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 6 years ago

At least it's not stuck in the same old rut most chimneys are Tom.  Maybe I was a bit harsh.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments