There can be various reasons for your chimney to develop leaks. It could be from something as simple as a rusted or worn out chimney cap to cracked mortar or bricks. If you have a leaky chimney, don’t wait until the problem gets worse. By calling us here at The Fireplace Doctor you can avoid more costly repairs later on.
Following are the four main ways to prevent water damage.
Chimney’s usually have one or more large openings at their top. These can allow water to get to the interior of your chimney, causing wear and erosion to the chimney walls. Installing a chimney cap, which is also sometimes called a rain cover, you can prevent water damage from the rain & elements. The chimney caps also block animals & rodents from entering your home & nesting inside your chimney. They also act as a spark arrestor, by not allowing sparks or embers to leave your chimney and land on the roof or on other flammable objects. Chimney Caps are an inexpensive and cost effective way to help prevent damage to your chimney.
Sometimes we are able to fix your old chimney cap but if it is beyond repair, we can install a new cap or one of our energy efficient Lock-Top Dampers. These can save you both time and money in the long run.
Repair or Replace a Damaged Chimney Crown
The Chimney’s crown and mortar can become crack from the exposure to nature’s elements. We can easily seal these leaks with material called Crown Saver. Crown Saver is a blend of polymer modified hydraulic cements and powdered water repellent.
At the top of your masonry chimney sits a chimney crown. It can also be called a chimney wash. The job of the chimney crown is to cover and seal the top of the chimney from the flue liner to the edge of the chimney. Most masonry chimney crowns are built using common mortar mix. The mortar will not stand up to years of abuse without some deterioration, cracking and chipping starting to form. This will allow water to seep inside the chimney. A quality chimney crown will either be cast or formed from a Portland cement based mixture. It should also have an overhang of at least two inches. This helps to prevent erosion by diverting water away from the sides of your chimney.
Our water repellant coatings we use are non-shrinking, cement like substances that’s designed for repairing damaged mortar crowns.
Your chimney’s flashing can be a source where water can enter your home. The flashing is a seal between your roofing material and the chimney. If your flashing begins to leak this can cause some serious problems if not repaired properly. Water can cause structural damage to the joist and rafters, or warp your walls and ceiling. The most effective type of flashing is made up of two parts. One is the base flashing. It’s a piece of L shaped metal that extends up the sides of your chimney and goes under your roof’s shingles. The second piece is a counter flashing, which overlaps the base flashing. It’s anchored into the masonry joints of the chimney. This two element flashing system works best because it will allow for the expansion and contraction of both the roof and the chimney without breaking its waterproof seal.
Waterproof Your Chimney
Your masonry chimney will act like a sponge and soak up rainwater, causing the mortar and brick facings to become brittle. If left unattended, this can cause a lapse in the structural integrity of your chimney. We recommend that you have your chimney waterproofed before it’s too late. Several different products have been designed precisely as waterproofing agents for masonry chimneys. These compounds are vapor permeable, meaning they let the moisture out of the chimney but do not let any moisture into the masonry. You should never use paint, or any non vapor permeable water sealer on your chimney it will trap moisture inside the chimney. This will speed up the deterioration of your brick and mortar.
Water damage is usually not evident until the problem has become serious. Initially waterproofing may cost you a little money but it’s a wise investment for your home. It will save you the major expense of a large masonry repair or possibly an entire rebuild of your chimney. Not to mention the time involved in completing these renovations or repairs.
Click here to learn more about waterproofing.