The Pros Guide to a Leaky Chimney
A leaky chimney can be a pesky problem. Water damage can spread from your chimney to nearby walls, floors, and ceilings. Along with discoloration, it can cause wood rot and mold. Without finding the source of the chimney leak, you could end up with thousands of dollars
in repair costs.
Why is my chimney leaking?
There are many ways that water can get into your chimney. The best way to determine how water is getting in is to call on an NFI Certified Chimney Technician. It’s tough to spot the source of a chimney leak without training. A shocking amount of water can leak through small cracks in a chimney crown or an almost imperceptible gap in the chimney flashing. There are 4 common culprits for chimney leaks.
#1. A Missing Chimney Cap
A chimney cap acts like an umbrella. It’s installed over the mouth of the chimney. It stops rain, snow, and sleet from falling straight down the chimney. It is open along the side to allow smoke to vent out.
Solution: This is one source of a chimney leak that is easy to spot. If you notice that your chimney doesn’t have a metal cap on the top, reach out to a chimney or hearth specialist to find the right size cap to fit your chimney. Installing a chimney cap should solve the problem unless there is another issue that is compounding it.
#2. Cracked Crown
The chimney crown is typically a concrete slab that rests on top of the chimney masonry. Its purpose is to prevent rain, sleet, and snow from seeping into the chimney masonry. Bricks and mortar are porous and can easily absorb water. Once water seeps into the masonry, it can slowly break it down, weakening the structure of your chimney. The purpose of the chimney crown is to prevent this. Small cracks in the crown can allow moisture to seep in.
Solution: If the chimney crown only has small cracks, it may be possible to seal them. If it is severely damaged, you will need to have it replaced.
#3. Damaged Flashing
Chimney flashing bridges the gap between the chimney and the roof. It prevents water from running down the crack. It’s typically made with metal pieces that overlap. Spotting flashing damage can be challenging or straightforward, depending on how seriously it’s is. To the trained eye of a professional chimney sweep, it stands out.
Solution: Repairing or replacing the chimney flashing should prevent future leaks. Many roofing contractors do not know how to install flashing correctly. It’s an even tougher job for a handyman. To ensure you don’t have to have the job done twice, it’s best to have it repaired by a certified chimney sweep.
#4. Broken & Unsealed Masonry
Masonry that hasn’t been waterproofed or has a broken piece can easily let water in. Chimney experts agree that waterproofing your chimney is essential to prevent leaks. Waterproofing sealant prevents water from seeping into the chimney and causing lasting damage.
Water can seep through spaces where a piece of brick or mortar is missing.
Solution: Treating the masonry with a waterproofing sealant is the best solution if that’s the leak source. If the leak is due to missing brick or mortar, the best option is to repair the masonry.
If you notice signs of water damage around the chimney or spot water running down the walls, call on an NFI Certified Chimney Technician! You don’t have to diagnose the problem on your own. At Burlington Fireplace & Solar, we have a professional team of NFI-certified chimney sweeps who will thoroughly inspect your chimney to determine the leak’s source to prevent more damage.