Our recent influx of rain has left many of us with muddy lawns, soggy shoes, and leaky chimneys. If your chimney is leaking, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible. Water entry can cause serious damage throughout your chimney system, and the longer a leak lasts the worse the damage becomes.
What causes leaky chimneys?
There is no one cause of a leaky chimney; because chimneys have a number of different components, water can get in from a number of different points. The following are three common causes of chimney leaks.
- Chimney cap: The chimney cap protects the top of the flue and keeps water from getting in. If damaged, improperly installed, or missing entirely, there is nothing to protect the top of the flue from water entry. This allows water – as well as debris and animals – easy entry into the chimney.
- Chimney crown: The stone or masonry slab that covers the top of the chimney – and on which the chimney cap sits – is known as the chimney crown. Because of its location, chimney crowns often receive the most direct exposure to rain, ice, snow, and other moisture, making them more susceptible to water damage. Chips or cracks to the chimney crown often go unnoticed because of its location on the roof.
- Flashing: Created by layers of metal strips, flashing protects the joint between the roofline and the chimney. If damaged or improperly installed, flashing can cause a chimney leak that is often mistaken for a problem with the roof; water damage to attics, ceilings, and walls around the chimney can all be caused by leaky flashing.
Protecting your chimney against water damage
Whether or not you have a chimney leak, water can damage your exterior masonry. Regular preventative maintenance is often the best way to protect your fireplace system against water damage. Chimney inspections can identify minor areas of damage long before they turn into serious holes or cracks; this is especially important as most chimney damage is difficult to spot from street level and may go unnoticed.
With the amount of rain we receive in Northern Louisiana, we recommend our customers consider having their chimneys waterproofed. During the waterproofing process, a specially designed masonry protectant is applied to the chimney; unlike a sealant which traps water inside the bricks, masonry water repellents allow moisture in the bricks to evaporate while keeping new water out. This protects and extends the life of your chimney and can even stop the progression of existing water damage.
If the recent rains have caused a leak in your chimney, don’t delay – call the experts at New Buck Chimney Services today! Our trained chimney technicians can identify the source of the leak, repair it, and fix any damage the water may have caused so you can enjoy using your fireplace this winter and for years to come.