Chimneys are built to be strong and withstand the elements. Unfortunately, water can cause serious damage to both the interior and exterior of the chimney and fireplace system.
Water damage can manifest itself in a number of ways. Whether you have a few drops of water in the firebox, crumbling exterior brick, or a musty smell that won’t go away, a leaky chimney can cause a number of different problems throughout your fireplace system. At the first sign of a chimney leak, it is important to call a chimney sweep to troubleshoot and repair the cause of the water entry.
Chimneys may look like a simple column of bricks, but they are surprisingly complex structures. Because of this, there are a number of places where chimney leaks can begin. The following are just a few ways that water can get into your chimney.
- Cracks in the chimney crown.
The chimney crown is a slab of mortar, concrete, or stone covering and sealing the top of the chimney. Chimney crowns are particularly susceptible to crack and water damage; because they create a large, flat surface on the top of the chimney, crowns receive more exposure to the elements than other chimney components. Well built chimney crowns have a slightly sloped top and edges that extend over the side of the chimney structure. This prevents water from pooling directly on the crown or from draining directly onto the chimney structure.
- Water soaking through masonry.
Bricks are naturally porous, making them an ideal building material for chimneys because smoke and gas can pass through the masonry. However, it also means bricks absorb the small amounts of water. Applying a waterproofing product can stop water damage to existing masonry and stop further cracks from developing.
- Damage to the flashing.
Flashing is created when strips of metal and weatherproofing materials are layered on the seam between the chimney and the roof. This protects both the chimney and the roofing materials from water damage; because of this location, damaged flashing is often confused for a leaky roofs. Overexposure to the elements, changes to the roof-line, or improper installation can all cause flashing to leak.
Repairing a Leaky Chimney
The first step to repairing a leaky chimney is identifying the cause of the leak. A chimney inspection completed by a certified chimney sweep can uncover the source of a chimney leak; by identifying the cause of a leaky chimney before making repairs, further recurrent damage from water can be avoided.
Preventative measures such as waterproofing protect your chimney system against water damage. In the waterproofing process, a barrier specifically-formulated for masonry is applied to the bricks and mortar of the chimney. These products allow gas to safely vent through brick but prevent absorption of water. Waterproofing can stop the progression of existing water damage as well as protect the chimney against future damage.
Don’t let a leaky chimney affect your fireplace. Contact us at Coopertown Services today for more information on how our chimney sweeps can repair your leaky chimney!