Bricks and mortar are one of the toughest building materials on the market and are meant to withstand years of exposure to the elements. Unfortunately, one of the most common forces of nature can also be one of the most damaging; in addition to wreaking havoc inside your fireplace, water can also cause damage and deterioration to a chimney’s exterior.
Whether your chimney is still in good condition or has already begun to show signs of water damage, masonry waterproofing products can be used to protect your masonry. These products not only protect against future water damage, but can also stop the progression of any current areas of deterioration.
How water damages masonry
The most common way for water to damage masonry is through the freeze thaw process. Bricks and mortar are naturally porous substances; this makes them ideal for use in chimneys because gasses can pass through their semi-permeable surfaces. Unfortunately, this also means that masonry can absorb small amounts of water. While normal, healthy masonry can absorb an undetectable amount, damaged masonry with cracks or holes will absorb larger amounts.
During the winter, the water in the masonry will expand as it freezes, as the ice thaws, it leaves behind a larger space than it first filled; this in turn allows progressively more and more water into this masonry. Damage from the freeze thaw cycle can cause significant spalling to masonry in as little as one season.
Protecting your masonry with waterproofing
While there is no water to keep water away from your chimney, there are ways to protect it. Waterproofing is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to protect your chimney against damage from moisture.
During the waterproofing process, a thin layer of masonry sealant is applied to the masonry. These specially designed formulas allow the bricks to retain their semi-permeable nature while prevent water absorption; this keeps new water from coming in while allowing trapped water and gasses to evaporate.
Waterproofing products can be used as a preventative measure – as well as a way to stop further water damage to the masonry. When applied to damaged masonry, waterproofing sealants can stop new water from being absorbed without trapping water inside. This can help extend the lifespan of your chimney.
What waterproofing product should I use?
When choosing a waterproofing product for your chimney, it is important to find a sealant that is specifically designed for use on masonry. House paint and other generic waterproofing products may be good at keeping moisture out, but they are also good at keeping moisture in. Trapped moisture and gas in the bricks can cause large bubbles to form in the paint even years after application; likewise, these types of sealants often hide underlying masonry damage until it is too late.
A chimney professional is often your best resource when selecting a waterproofing product. With years of experience with what works and what doesn’t, trust the experts at Coopertown Services to find the best waterproofing product for your masonry chimney. For more information on the waterproofing process or to schedule your waterproofing appointment, contact Coopertown Services today.