Waterproofing: Protecting your chimney from damage
Water can be your chimney’s greatest enemy.
In fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) encourages homeowners to take measures to protect their chimneys from the elements, as a water-damaged chimney can damage your home or, worse, pose a fire hazard.
How water damages your chimney
Water can seep into your chimney’s masonry, wearing away at the brick, mortar and stone. When the temperatures drop, that water can do further damage. When the water freezes, it expands, causing your masonry to crack and crumble. Over time, that can wear down your chimney’s structure, causing it to work improperly or become structurally unsound.
Once moisture makes its way into your chimney, it can cause damage to other parts of your home, as well. Within your fireplace and chimney system, it can crack flue tiles, rust dampers and rust or crack the firebox itself. Water that leaks into your chimney also can permeate the structure of your home, leading to wood rot or molding and discolored walls or ceilings. At the very least, when water mixes with creosote in your chimney, it causes a foul odor that can stink up your entire home.
One way to protect your chimney from water damage is with a waterproofing application. Most masonry, especially brick and mortar, is extremely porous and will absorb water like a sponge. A waterproofing application can prevent your chimney’s masonry from absorbing that water.
Chimney sealants work in two ways to help the function of your chimney. First, they prevent nearly 100 percent of moisture from being absorbed into your chimney’s masonry. At the same time, the sealants are vapor permeable, which means that air, smoke and chimney gases still can escape, as needed, through the walls of the chimney. Most chimney sealants come with five to 10 year guarantees on chimney protection.
Other ways to protect your chimney from moisture
There are other ways to protect your chimney from water damage, as well. The CSIA lists chimney caps as the cheapest and easiest way to prevent water from running down the interior walls of your chimney. A properly formed chimney crown, which will angle away from your chimney’s opening and hang over the outer edges of the chimney, can prevent water from running down the exterior sides of your chimney.
If you’re concerned about water flowing down your roof and pooling at the base of your chimney, specialized flashing can help. A metal “cricket” can be installed at your chimney’s base to divert water away from the chimney and toward your gutters.
If you would like to hear more about protecting your chimney from water damage, call the experts at Chimney Saver Solutions. We can talk to you about your specific concerns and help you come up with waterproofing solutions that are right for your chimney. Don’t wait until water damage is an issue. See how waterproofing your chimney can save you from a major maintenance problem down the road.