Have A Leak? We Can Help!
When most homeowners notice leaks or water damage, they immediately think there is a problem with the roof. But more often than not, the chimney is the source of the leak. How can you recognize a chimney-related leak before extensive damage is done? Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
- Spalling, or cracks and crumbling in the masonry – Bricks are porous by nature, and can easily take in water if left unprotected. As bricks take in water and temperatures fluctuate, the water in the brick goes through what is known as a “freeze/thaw cycle”. The water swells and constricts in this process, and eventually causes the brick to crumble and deteriorate at its core. Once this damage is done, the brick is left structurally unsound, and cannot be restored.
- Damaged wood/material surrounding the fireplace – As water enters the chimney through unprotected, porous bricks, it can continue leaking into the walls and ceiling surrounding the fireplace and chimney system. This process may take a while, so when you do notice rotting wood and water-damaged ceiling and walls, the problem has usually had plenty of time to do extensive internal damage.
- Lime-leaching or efflorescence – When water penetrates brick and mortar, it pulls the lime out, forming calcium deposits on the surface. These calcium deposits show up as white patches on the surface of the brick. Lime weeping, which is another effect of water penetration in brick, can leave unpleasant looking stalactites. Not only does this damage the appearance of the brick, it leaves gaps in the brick and mortar, where the lime was removed.
- Water accumulation at the bottom of the fireplace – Everyone loves a home with a swimming pool, and an indoor pool is a thing of dreams. But, it’s safe to say that no one wants that pool in their firebox. When your chimney is leaking, you can see serious water accumulation at the bottom of your fireplace. This type of water damage cannot only ruin your firebox – it can cause an unhealthy environment for you and your family.
What Is Causing My Chimney Leak?
The effects that water penetration can have on the chimney structure can be devastating, and the source of the leaks can be many. Here are a few of the most common causes of chimney leaks in the home:
- Damaged or Deteriorating Flashing: Flashing refers to a series of metal sheets that protect the area where the roof and the chimney fit together. Because every roof and every chimney is different, flashing should be a custom job, done by a professional. Unfortunately, regardless of whether or not your flashing was properly and professionally installed, flashing is exposed to the elements on a daily basis, and is prone to damage and deterioration. Strong gusts of wind and prying animals can bend and pull the flashing away from the roof, leaving this crucial area exposed to the elements. Additionally, excessive water can lead to corrosion and holes in the flashing — although a properly-functioning cap and crown can help you avoid this corrosion, by leading water away from the area. Another common and unavoidable cause of flashing issues is that houses shift and settle over time. Any time this happens, it can cause small separations between the flashing and the roof and chimney. If you are attentive to these shifts and settles, and are concerned about possible flashing detachment, we will be happy to check yours! If we find that your flashing is damaged or deteriorated and needs to be replaced, or was improperly installed, don’t worry! At Chimney Care Company, we have the equipment, the knowledge, and the attention to detail to custom fit and install new flashing for you.
- Missing or damaged chimney cap: Another common cause of water damage is a missing or damaged chimney cap. Chimney caps (which are typically made of copper, aluminum, or stainless steel), can be a beautiful accent atop the chimney– but they also serve the very important function of keeping the chimney protected from unwanted visitors, like animals, foliage, and yes, water. They also typically come with a screen that keeps sparks from exiting your chimney and causing a fire outdoors. If your chimney lacks a chimney cap or simply needs a new one, we would be more than happy to help you decide which cap is right for you. Plus, we guarantee our installation work! For more information on chimney caps, please see Chimney Caps.
- Missing, damaged, or improperly sealed crown: The crown of a chimney is typically a solid layer of mortar that covers the chimney top, encouraging water to drain off of the chimney and rooftop. If the sides of the crown were not properly sealed during installation, or if the crown is too thin (and therefore prone to speedy deterioration), you can easily have leaks. At Chimney Care Company, we know the importance of a clean, efficient crown job, and guarantee our installation every time.
- In addition to flashing, cap, and crown repair/installation, we also have the products and experience to effectively waterproof your chimney system. Don’t be fooled by the promises of cheap, waterproofing products! Most of these are silicone-based and can actually harm your masonry. Trust your chimney to those who know and care!
Protect Your Chimney With Chimney Care Company!
Brick and mortar masonry is valued for its durability, and if well maintained, the bricks in a masonry chimney can last a lifetime. Allow moisture to penetrate those very same bricks, and the durability can easily be cut in half. Your home is an investment – don’t leave its well-being and lifespan to chance. Give us a call today and we will not only identify the source of your leaks, we’ll make sure you’re protected in the future! Click here or call 513-248-9600 to make your appointment!