What Are Chimney Shoulders?

Take a look at the exterior of your chimney. Do you see an area toward the bottom where it flares out, creating a wider base? That area is what is referred to as the chimney shoulders. While its design contributes to a beautiful and stable chimney stack, it can also create a welcoming area for water to wear down your chimney and cause leaks.

Technician applying sealant to chimney shoulders where the base is wider
To build the chimney’s shoulders, bricks were traditionally “door stepped” or corbelled from the bottom up, to align with the narrow width of the rest of the chimney. This door stepping creates a collection of flat surfaces, and flat surfaces are welcome mats for water. Water can and will collect there, and a mix of issues can arise, from algae and mold growth (which holds on to water and contributes to the degradation of the brick) to water penetration of the chimney (slowly seeping through the brick and into your home). This water accumulation issue only gets worse when faulty gutters overflow during heavy rains and spill directly onto the shoulders.

Chimney shoulders are often overlooked, but preventative measures can help keep extensive damage, and expensive repairs, from becoming a part of your life.

Coopertown Services Can Correct Your Chimney Shoulder Issues

To stop chimney shoulders from collecting water, Coopertown Services technicians can “weather” the area. Weathering entails applying mortar to create a series of slopes that encourage water to run off of the chimney shoulders (sometimes, Coopertown Services technicians will build one large slope, rather than a series of small ones, depending on the individual chimney and the homeowner’s needs).

Damaged gutters, of course, should also be repaired if they’re overflowing and contributing to the problem (faulty gutters aren’t just dangerous for your chimney – they can lead to foundation issues, too).

Call us, Today!

If you see algae, mold, or darkened bricks around your chimney shoulders, let us know! We’d love to help fix the issue before water completely penetrates and degrades your system.

If you don’t see any visible signs of water accumulation, but would like to take preventative measures to protect your system from water damage and decay, call us today! We can discuss the benefits of weathering and help you decide what is best for your individual system.

Whether you need chimney shoulders repairs or you would simply like to be proactive in protecting your system, Coopertown Services can help. Call us at 901-358-7777 or click here to schedule an appointment!


Installing a properly-fitted chimney cap will go a long way toward preventing or fixing water leaks in your chimney. Why don’t you ask about it now?