Brick Waterproofing: Our Masonry Chimney Sealer Prevents Water Damage

When looking at heavy, solid brick, “porous” might not be the first word that comes to mind. But brick is a porous material, and that quality is part of what makes it a great building material for chimneys. You see, because bricks are porous, moisture in the chimney system is able to vent (in vapor form) through the brick, helping the system to function safely and efficiently.

This also means that brick absorbs a certain amount of outside moisture from rain, sleet, and snow. Now, when that amount is within the right levels, it’s not a problem for the system or the homeowner. Yet, over time, what was once a harmless amount of water can turn into extensive water damage.

Chimney water damage might sound like a scary and frustrating problem, but Coopertown Services has a great solution. We can apply a waterproofing masonry sealer that’s one hundred percent vapor permeable – which means, it’ll keep water out, but it won’t block the brick’s ability to vent vapors.

Call today or reach out online to set up an appointment.

How Does Water Damage Brick?

Over time, vulnerable, cracked, and damaged brick can allow far too much water to leach into the chimney structure – and your home. In these cases, bricks are essentially acting like a sponge, actively pulling water into areas it shouldn’t be.

What can this lead to in terms of damage?

  • Damage from freeze/thaw cycles. When water enters the brick pores and freezes, it expands and causes the brick to crack or spall. This then leaves room for more to enter and the process will repeat, causing more damage each time.
  • Efflorescence and discoloration. Many times, dissolved salts in water migrate to the surface of the brick and crystallize, leaving a white residue (efflorescence) and potentially weakening the brick over time.
  • Erosion and instability. Continuous water flow can erode the mortar joints and the surface of the bricks, leading to structural weakness.
  • Mold and vegetation growth. Moist environments promote the growth of mold, mildew, moss, and algae, all of which can penetrate and weaken the brick structure. Mold is also hazardous to have in the home and can cause illness if the spores spread.
  • Rust and corrosion. Water is known for causing any metal pieces (like chimney caps, flashing materials, and chase covers) to rust and break down…which then leaves your system unprotected and vulnerable.
  • Interior home damage. Once your chimney starts to break down and weaken, water will have easier access to your home, resulting in wood rot, ceiling stains, mold growth, and more.

If you notice any signs that chimney water damage is occurring in your Memphis home, don’t wait to call in our experts. That telltale “drip, drip, drip” in your chimney (usually an hour or so into a heavy rainstorm) is a clear-cut indicator that something is wrong – and that your bricks are pulling in more water than they’re supposed to.

Give us a call right away, so we can find the issue and resolve it. You can also reach out to us online.

Can I DIY Chimney Waterproofing Services? Or Should I Hire a Pro?

Many different water repellent and chimney sealer products have hit the market over the years…but most of these don’t do the job well enough to last. Only a few of the very best professional-grade products offer real, valuable, long-term protection.

This is why a DIY approach to chimney waterproofing is largely frowned upon. In fact, applying a cheap store-bought product can often cause more harm than good, blocking water for only a short time…and then inhibiting a quality, lasting product from properly adhering to and penetrating the masonry.

At Coopertown Services, we use a custom-made masonry sealer formulated just for us and designed just for chimneys. Rest assured, when you work with us, the job will get done right and will last for many seasons to come. Give us a call now with questions – we’re happy to help.

What Is the Freeze/Thaw Cycle in Brickwork?

The freeze/thaw cycle in brickwork refers to the process of water entering the bricks and mortar joints, freezing in the colder months, causing them to expand, then thawing before the cycle repeats itself again – and eventually causes lots of damage over time.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of this cycle – and its impact on brick structures:

  • Water Infiltration: Water enters the pores and small cracks in the bricks and mortar. This can happen during rain, sleet, snow…or even on high humidity days.
  • Water Freezing:  When the temperature drops below freezing in the winter months, the water within the bricks and mortar freezes. Water expands by about 9% when it freezes, exerting significant pressure on the brick material and mortar.
  • Expansion & Cracking: The expansion caused by freezing water creates internal stresses within the brick and mortar. This can lead to micro-cracks and, over time, larger cracks as the cycle repeats.
  • Water Thawing: When the temperature rises, the ice within the brickwork melts, allowing water to penetrate further into the newly formed cracks and pores.
  • Repetition of the Cycle: With repeated cycles of freezing and thawing, the extent of the damage increases. Each cycle allows more water to penetrate deeper, freeze, and expand, exacerbating the damage.

How can the freeze/thaw cycle in chimneys be avoided? You guessed it – chimney waterproofing. Schedule your service today by booking online or by giving our technicians a call.



What Is Vapor Permeability in Bricks? Why Is It Important?

Vapor permeability in bricks refers to how well the brickwork and mortar can “breathe” or how easily water vapor can pass through these materials. This property is crucial for the overall health and durability of brick structures like your chimney

High vapor permeability means that the material allows water vapor to pass through easily, while low vapor permeability indicates that the material is more resistant to vapor transmission. Bricks typically benefit from having low to moderate vapor permeability, as this ensures structural integrity of the bricks stays intact.

The key thing to remember with vapor permeability in bricks, though, is that while you want vapor to easily vent out, it’s imperative the other moisture can’t get in. Too much vapor permeability can weaken the chimney, but blocking off all vapor permeability, will cause trapped moisture to freeze in cold weather and the masonry will eventually crack and deteriorate.

As you can tell, balance is essential, which is why trusting a certified chimney tech to handle any brick repairs and waterproofing services is so imperative.

What things affect vapor permeability?

  • Brick Material: The type of clay, the firing process, and the additives used in brick manufacturing can affect vapor permeability. Dense, low-porosity bricks generally have lower vapor permeability.
  • Mortar Type: The type of mortar used in brick construction also influences overall vapor permeability. Mortars with high cement content tend to be less permeable compared to lime-based mortars.
  • Brick Surface Treatments: Sealants, paints, or other surface treatments can affect the vapor permeability of bricks. While some treatments are designed to repel liquid water, they may also reduce vapor permeability if not carefully selected.

Can I Paint My Chimney To Waterproof It?

We strongly advise against painting your chimney, whether it’s for aesthetic purposes or as a way to potentially waterproof or protect it. While it might seem like a straightforward solution, painting can actually create more problems than it solves. Problems like…

Paint can trap in moisture. 

This is the biggest reason paint on chimneys is so frowned upon. Bricks are naturally porous and need to “breathe” to allow moisture to evaporate. Paint will seal the surface and keep water out, yes…but it will also trap any existing moisture inside the bricks and cause needed vapor permeability to be lost.

All of this can lead to internal damage, such as spalling, flaking, cracking, etc.

Paint can peel and crack over time.

Bricks and mortar expand and contract with temperature changes. Paint, however, does not flex as easily with these movements. As the painted surface of the chimney expands and contracts, the paint can start to peel and crack. This compromises the protective layer, allowing moisture to penetrate.

Peeling and cracking paint can also make the chimney look neglected and unattractive. This not only affects the aesthetic value of the property, but also indicates potential underlying issues.

Paint can be hard to maintain. 

Painting a chimney involves thorough preparation, including cleaning the surface, scraping off any old paint, applying a primer, and then painting. This is labor-intensive, especially as you consider navigating all of it on your roof.

Then, once you paint a chimney, you will need to maintain the paint regularly. This involves scraping, priming, and repainting, which, again…is very labor-intensive, not to mention costly over time.

Combine that work with the cost of paint, primer, and tools, and you might be wondering if all that work and money spent is really worth it. Since frequent maintenance can be both time-consuming and expensive, we’re guessing not.

Ready to call us in to handle it all? We’d be happy to help. Reach out online or dial our number today.

Are There Other Effective Methods To Keep Water Away From My Chimney?

In addition to waterproofing your chimney, there are many other things you can do to ensure water keeps a safe distance.

  • Install a chimney cap to prevent rain and snow from entering the chimney (as well as keep out debris and animals).
  • Ensure that the flashing (the metal strips that seal the joints between the chimney and the roof) is in good condition, and replace or repair any damaged flashing to prevent leaks.
  • Inspect the chimney crown (the top surface of the chimney) and have it repaired if necessary.
  • Invest in tuckpointing services, which involves replacing old mortar with new, properly matched mortar to seal gaps and prevent water infiltration.
  • Have a professional regularly inspect your chimney for cracks, damaged bricks, or deteriorating mortar.

The good news for those living in the Memphis area is that Coopertown Services can help with all of these things – as well as any other chimney issues you may be facing.

Don’t Wait Until You Have a Leak… Invest in Our Waterproofing Masonry Sealer Today

A leaky chimney might encourage you to seek out a masonry sealer, but you don’t have to wait for a problem for waterproofing to be a worthwhile investment. Waterproofing will help you avoid leaks down the line, and will extend the life of your chimney system by protecting the bricks and mortar from water damage.

All in all, adding a masonry sealer is an affordable and easy way to invest in your chimney and your home…and keep your family from experiencing the frustration that comes with a leaky chimney.

If you have a leaky chimney or simply want to protect your masonry against water, Coopertown Services can help. Call us at 901-358-7777 or schedule an appointment online today.


Sometimes, brick and mortar repair might be all that’s needed to fix a leaky chimney. Our experts will figure it out and make it right.