With the Spring warm up in the not too distant future, leaks are an ever looming problem for homeowners. Often homeowners will contact their local roof repair company in hopes to stop a leak, but don’t be surprised when they refer you out to your local CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep!
Water intrusion is one of your masonry chimney’s worst enemy, and here in N.E Illinois and S.E Wisconsin, between the rain and snow we see a lot of it! Maintaining proper preventative measures, as well as catching any potential leaks early, you can help to prolong the life of your masonry chimney. Helping to prevent costly repairs down the road. One of the best ways to keep your masonry chimney in tip-top shape, is to keep up with your annual chimney safety inspection, with a CSIA Certified company.
We here at Pratt’s have decades of experience both preventing and repairing chimney leaks, in local area homes. The most common reasoning for leaks are as follows:
Do You Have A Chimney Cap?
Often referred to as a rain cap or spark arrestor, the metal cap that sits atop of your chimney is one of the first steps to preventing water, debris, and animals from entering your chimney. When your rain cap is missing or damaged there is nothing stopping the moisture from coming down the chimney, and even into your firebox. Here at Pratt’s Chimney we do install Stainless Steel chimney caps, which help to make sure that the weather we do experience, is not able to corrode and rust the caps. Allowing them to be long lasting tools in preventing damage from outside sources.
Is Your Crown Cracked?
Located at the top of your masonry chimney you should find a concrete shelf known as the concrete crown. It’s job, is to protect the chimney and flue underneath. Slightly angled, and overhanging by several inches, your chimney crown also helps to wick water away from the brick/masonry underneath. Often when subjected to freeze/thaw cycles, you will find that the expanding and contracting of the masonry materials will cause cracks in the concrete crown. Often these cracks start small and if caught early enough, are able to be sealed with CrownCoat, which helps prevent moisture from entering into the brick of the chimney. When these cracks are allowed to continue to expand, you will often notice a leak and even parts of the crown beginning to crumble away.
Bricks & Mortar Deteriorating?
When it comes to your bricks and mortar joints, once cracked they become much more absorbent. Water can seep in through cracks causing a leak on the interior of your chimney as well as further deterioration of the structure of the chimney. When caught early enough we are often able to tuck-point the chimney, or cut and replace brick. If it goes on long enough it can eventually lead to needing an entire rebuild of the chimney as well as other costly repairs.
Has Your Flashing Pulled Away From The Chimney?
Flashing is located at the base of your chimney, creating the seamless conversion between masonry and roofing. Its purpose is to prevent water from seeping between the chimney and roofing causing unsightly leaks into the home. While still allowing the masonry to expand and contract with temperature changes. Many times, after wear and tear from the elements, said flashing will pull away from the chimney masonry. Often, if you are not yet at the point of needing to be completely replaced, we are able to seal the flashing to help prevent or stop leaks.
The most important preventive maintenance for leaks, is waterproofing (sealing) the brick. We use a sealant manufactured by Chimsaver. Chimsaver is a water based sealant that is warrantied for TEN YEARS! If you have never had your masonry chimney waterproofed give us a call. It will be the most important Spring-leak maintenance you can have done.