Although masonry chimneys are constructed to last a lifetime, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to damage and deterioration throughout the years. And one of the biggest cause of chimney damage is leaks and water damage. In fact, water is so destructive that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has named it a chimney’s greatest enemy!
Needless to say, protecting your chimney from water penetration is one of the most important things you can do to prolong its life. And the best way you can do this is by hiring qualified chimney professionals to maintain your chimney with annual inspections and regular repair work.
Fortunately for those living in Raleigh, Durham, and all of their surrounding areas, Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service has years of experience repairing water leak damage and doing everything possible to prevent it! If you need care, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Meanwhile, here are our top 5 ways you can avoid chimney leaks in the years ahead.
1. Have a Chimney Cap Installed
One of the most simple and inexpensive solutions for keeping water out of your flue is investing in a quality chimney cap. Chimney caps cover the top of the flue, ensuring water from rain and melted ice and snow doesn’t simply fall right into the opening. Without one in place, your system would be left completely vulnerable, and your interior system would break down in a hurry.
Another thing your cap plays an integral role in is protecting your liner. Once the liner of your chimney cracks, that protective heat barrier between the inside of your chimney and the rest of your home is compromised. Before you know it, heat, smoke, carbon monoxide, and even flames could work their way into your home.
In the end, an affordable cap is a well worthwhile investment that will keep your system safer for the long haul. Chimney caps come in a variety of different reliable materials, such as galvanized metal, stainless steel, or copper. They can also be customized to fit your unique setup. Here at Mr. Smokestack, our certified techs would be happy to determine which cap is the best suited for your needs!
And an added bonus? Your cap is also responsible for important tasks like keeping out animals and debris, helping prevent downdrafts, and preventing sparks from exiting your chimney to possibly ignite a fire. Like we said… a worthwhile investment, indeed!
2. Invest in Necessary Chimney Crown Repairs
The crown sits at the top of your chimney. It starts at the flue opening and should be designed to slant downwards, extending past the edge of the chimney by at least two inches. Its main job is to divert water away from the sides of the masonry, so that moisture doesn’t settle and soak into your bricks and mortar.
Unfortunately, the crown can crack and deteriorate overtime, especially if it was built incorrectly. If only minor damage exists these cracks can be sealed using a professional waterproof sealant, but if more extensive damage has occurred, some extensive repairs or potentially even a rebuild may be in order. A well-built crown will be constructed from a cement-based mixture (as opposed to a basic mortar mix) and be at least 4 inches thick at its edge.
Own a prefab fireplace? For prefabricated units, we can install an effective chase cover that will keep you system protected for the long haul. Chase covers are essentially the chimney crowns of prefab units, but not all are created equal. In fact, it’s likely that the one your system came with was built from unreliable materials that won’t stand the test of time. Reach out to us about getting a quality chase cover that will last you for years to come!
3. Keep Your Flashing in Good Shape
Flashing is made up of thin sheets of metal arranged strategically around the intersection of the chimney and roof. This area is especially vulnerable because the roof and chimney expand and contract at different rates, sometimes leaving sizable gaps through which water can enter.
Over time, these sheets of metal can rust and sometimes shift. They can also cause problems when installed incorrectly. Since many factors go into the flashing installation, like the type of roof you use (e.g. tin, shingles, metal, etc.), the slant of the roof, the size and kind of the chimney, and more, your flashing should always be installed by a chimney professional who is experienced and trained.
At Mr. Smokestack, we use several layers of metal flashing all of which are carefully cut to match our measurements of your unique set-up. We start with placing L-shaped step flashing around the bottom of your chimney, integrating it within your roof shingles. Then, we install counter flashing on top of the step flashing connecting it into the mortar joints of your chimney.
After the flashing has been placed, all of its edges are covered with protective caulk to ensure your chimney is protected from water penetration. We take great care to insure that your flashing system provides a watertight seal of your chimney, and we can also repair a damaged flashing system if that’s the situation you find yourself in.
Long story short, flashing is a vital component of the chimney system with a very specific job. Its sole purpose is to protect the joints where the chimney meets the roof, and if installed incorrectly, water will wreak havoc throughout the roof, the masonry, and the interior structure of the home. This is one service you don’t want to skimp on.
4. Schedule Waterproofing Services
In addition to professional installations and repairs, you can protect your chimney system against leaks with waterproofing services.
Why is waterproofing so essential? Well, your masonry is surprisingly porous, and once water enters, it’ll start breaking things down. Then, come winter, any moisture that is trapped inside the bricks and mortar of your chimney will freeze, expand, and cause even more cracking to occur. Eventually, this water will melt, only to have more water enter into the new cracks, where it will later freeze and cause further damage. This is known as the freeze/thaw cycle.
Repeated freeze/thaw cycles can lead to the bricks and mortar joints becoming loose and even falling out of the structure. And if left unrepaired, this damage can lead to serious problems, such as a settlement or even the collapse of your chimney.
Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service uses a vapor-permeable water repellent which keeps water from soaking into your absorbent masonry, while still allowing heat, gases, and any pre-absorbed moisture the ability to eventually escape out.
A professional application of a waterproofing formula to your chimney can reduce the need for repairs and extend the life of your chimney. In the end, waterproofing is an affordable and extremely worthwhile investment, that will save you hundred of dollars in future repair work down the line.
5. Don’t Neglect Regular Maintenance
Once thing we’ll always stress in the chimney industry is the importance of annual inspections. These, along with routine chimney sweepings, play an integral role in maintaining the highest level of efficiency and safety when operating your system.
Your technician will notify you of any missing or damaged parts that may eventually lead to a serious leak, ensuring all issues are promptly addressed well before the need for any major repairs or rebuilds.
Don’t Wait – Schedule With Us Today!
If you notice a chimney leak, you should schedule a chimney inspection as soon as possible. An unaddressed leak can lead to structural damage, mold, and health-related risks. In fact, even leak discovered in an area of the home well away from the chimney should be assessed by a chimney professional!
Why? Well, water can travel far throughout the interior structure of your home. It typically travels until it reaches the lowest point, which is where it will form a leak and start staining your walls and ceilings. That means even leaks that are rooms away from your chimney can be related to chimney-related flaws.
Make sure your chimney system is protected against leaks by scheduling services with Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service today! At best, a leak is annoying and leaves unsightly stains. At worst, it triggers damage that can your home and family at risk.
Don’t wait – reach out now!