Of all the parts of the chimney system, the ones that prevent water damage may save you the most money. Water can destroy your masonry from the inside out, cause health issues, and raise fire risk all without your knowledge.
The Chimney Crown
The chimney crown is your chimney’s first defense against water damage. A properly constructed chimney crown will cover the chimney’s top from the flue pipe to the edge of the chimney. The flue opening is protected with a chimney cap, and the rest of the chimney is protected by the crown. The crown is basically a masonry roof to your chimney. It should be at least 4 inches thick on it’s outer most edge, should slant away from the center, allowing water to run off, and it should overhang the masonry by 2 inches. The chimney crown should direct water away from the flue, and away from the masonry–instead dripping onto the flashing below.
A Poorly Constructed Crown
An amateur might attempt to make a chimney crown out of the wrong material or in the wrong shape. If the crown isn’t made specifically with a slant, a certain thickness, and with the 2 inch overhang, it will not be an effective defense against water. It’s important that homeowners choose a certified chimney sweep for such constructions and installations. A poorly constructed chimney crown will become damaged quickly, and lead to water damage. The chimney crown should be custom made for each chimney. Placing an existing crown onto a chimney will most likely be ill-fitting and have the wrong dimensions for adequate water runoff.
A Damaged Crown
Chimney crowns can become damaged during a single harsh winter, especially if they weren’t constructed properly. The crown should be made of concrete, and ideally sealed with a water-resistant barrier before the job is done. A flat crown will not direct water off and without the overhang, water will run down the masonry, staining, and leaking. If water is allowed to sit on the crown instead of runoff, the water will erode the crown leading to cracks, gaps, and leaks.
Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service and Masonry Repair
Chimney crown repair is only one of many masonry repairs that we see often at Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service. When we inspect chimneys, we pay close attention to the condition of the chimney crown and make repairs if needed. If it is obvious that your chimney crown has been leaking, we will check for water damage and make repairs to fully restore your chimney system to functionality.
If you haven’t had your chimney inspection, or have a specific concern about your chimney crown, you can call Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service and talk to a chimney expert today. Reach a certified chimney sweep at 919-747-1859 or schedule an appointment online.