Water Damage and Your Masonry Chimney
Chimneys may seem like simple venting structures, but they are vulnerable to deterioration. Water is the number one cause of chimney damage, and it is a primary reason annual inspections are important. When water gets into chimney masonry, freezing temperatures can cause the brick, stone, or concrete to expand and contract. The face of the brick can begin to flake or pop off, which can lead to a crumbling chimney, over time; and that’s just one kind of damage caused by water in the chimney. Protecting a chimney from moisture can help to significantly cut repair costs, since water damage can cause a range of problems.
How water enters a chimney structure
Savvy builders know to build a chimney so that the moisture stays out. Masonry is extremely porous and absorbent like a sponge. Mortar that holds the masonry together is a barrier against moisture. At the top of the chimney, the chimney crown prevents water from entering the chimney between the flue and the exterior. A rain cap is an accessory that every fireplace should have. One of the functions of a chimney cap is to keep out rain, snow, and sleet. The flashing also has a key role in protection against moisture. The following are examples of what can go wrong, allowing moisture to penetrate the masonry:
· The chimney crown is exposed to harsh weather conditions relentlessly, and it is prone to crack. If the chimney crown isn’t repaired, moisture can get into the chimney.
· If the run-off on a roof tends to run toward a chimney on a lower part of the roof, the inundation of water can wear away the protections against moisture. A “cricket” is a deflector that can be built to direct rain water away from the chimney.
· Chimney caps should be checked each year during a chimney inspection, to be sure they still do the job of keeping moisture out. Rain caps aren’t as durable as other features, and repair or replacement is needed periodically.
· Flashing is difficult to install correctly, which means an intended seal may not keep moisture out. Flashing can also rust, allowing water to enter the home through an area as small as a rusted nail.
· When mortar begins to flake and break off, important chimney protection is lost. “Tuckpointing” is a procedure that can remove old mortar and replace it with new. In addition to restoring the protection against moisture, tuckpointing adds renewed stability and strength to the structure.
Signs of chimney water damage
It’s often not noticeable to the untrained eye when moisture in the chimney system is causing damage. If you ever see signs of possible intrusion of moisture, it’s important to contact professionals right away, like the most trusted full-service chimney company in the Richmond VA area, Chimney Saver Solutions. What homeowners fail to notice, chimney sweeps can identify during a chimney inspection. The sooner chimney damage is addressed, the less expensive the repairs. If you see any of the following, it could be evidence of moisture damage in the chimney:
· A stained chimney exterior
· Water-stained ceiling and walls
· Rusted glass doors and other fireplace accessories
· A leaning or collapsed chimney structure
· Rusted damper assembly
· Deteriorating flue liner
Help from the chimney experts
The licensed, certified chimney professionals at Chimney Saver Solutions can help with every type of chimney deterioration, including every kind of water damage. Whether you want to waterproof your chimney as a preventative measure or need to replace flashing or mortar or schedule an entire chimney rebuild, we’ve got the skill, knowhow, and experience to handle repairs and get the job right the first time. Contact us at Chimney Saver Solutions today to schedule a chimney inspection, chimney repair, or any of your chimney-related needs.