Waterproof Your Chimney for Wet Winter Weather
Winter weather can give your chimney a beating while you’re enjoying the warmth from your fireplace. Chimneys are the forgotten part of a fireplace system but they need attention, too. Moisture is the number one enemy of chimneys. If moisture gets into your chimney system, you could end up needing to make expensive repairs. Before your bricks begin spalling, which means breaking and flaking off, waterproof your chimney. There are plenty of good reasons to leave the task to the professionals, such as the danger of falling from the roof and the possibility of doing an inadequate waterproofing job. All that being said, waterproofing your chimney can be a successful do-it-yourself project. A lot can be said on the subject. The following are basics.
Considerations Before You Begin
If the masonry in your chimney is already crumbling or flaking off, it’s too late. At this point, unfortunately, a rebuild is needed. Chimneys are very heavy, by nature of the materials they’re built with. If the structure becomes unstable, it can begin leaning or collapse completely, possibly injuring someone. It may be a small consolation to know that it’s even more expensive to repair a collapsed chimney. After the structure has been rebuilt, then you can waterproof your chimney, to extend its life.
Waterproof with the Right Product
Waterproofing your chimney protects the masonry from damage-causing moisture. Not all waterproofing products are right for all chimneys, since different types of masonry are different in their porosity. It’s important to get a product that will do the best job of waterproofing your particular kind of chimney masonry.
Keep in mind also that inexpensive products are not recommended. Read the label and be sure the chimney waterproofing product you choose for your brick chimney contains polysiloxanes or silanes. This method sets up an electrostatic charge that won’t let water come in but allows any moisture that may be inside the masonry to come out. To waterproof chimney cinderblock, it’s more effective to use solvent-based waterproofing. But there’s no need to figure this out for yourself. Professional chimney sweeps at Burlington Fireplace & Solar will give you helpful recommendations.
Applying Waterproofing to your Chimney
When you waterproof correctly, it can help protect your chimney from an invasion of moisture for a decade or longer, helping to save you the stress of wondering if your chimney is in disrepair and on the verge of costing you large amounts of money to fix it. Just be sure to have annual chimney inspections, to avoid surprises. Step-by-step instructions follow:
· Clean your chimney, removing dirt, rust, mold, creosote stains, efflorescence (or staining) and anything else that has adhered to your chimney. Brick and masonry cleaners are available.
· If repairs are needed, take care of them before waterproofing. Caulk minor cracks. You may need tuckpointing, which is having old mortar removed and replacing it with new. It may be too late, if you need tuckpointing, however.
· Check the weather before beginning. Water repellent takes between 2 hours and 6 hours to dry.
· Before applying the waterproofing material, protect the other surrounding areas of the roof and any windows in the range of overspray. Waterproofing on windows can be nearly impossible to remove, if it isn’t cleaned off immediately, before it hardens
· Measure your chimney surface area to be sure you buy a sufficient amount of waterproofing product. Buy the correct product for the job. You don’t want to seal the chimney because that doesn’t let the masonry breathe You want water repellent designed for chimneys.
· Apply the water repellent, moving the sprayer from side to side, starting at the bottom and working to the top gradually. Apply a flood coat that’s so heavy it runs down between 6 inches and 8 inches from where you’re spraying.
· For optimum results, apply a second wet-on-wet coat within 3 to 5 minutes.
· And the last step is to clean up drop cloths and supplies, and clean your brush and sprayer with soap and water.
Contact our expert chimney technicians, if you want to leave waterproofing to the professionals and get it done before the next harsh winter storm blows in. Calling on our experts is the best way to ensure that the job is done right. Schedule your chimney waterproofing today by calling us at Burlington Fireplace & Solar. Our number is (262) 763-3522.