When it comes to taking care of your chimney, waterproofing can help protect it against moisture and help it last for years to come. However, not all waterproofing products are created equally; there is a significant difference between water repellents and water sealers.

While most homeowners think all waterproofing products are the same, the type of product you choose can affect your chimney for years to come. The following helps explain how water damages your chimney, the differences between water repellents and water sealers, and which one you should choose for your chimney.

How water damages your chimney

Chimneys are built to last, and masonry is one of the strongest building materials in the world. Despite this, years of exposure to the elements can cause masonry damage, particularly when a chimney has not been properly maintained. One of the most damaging forces to your chimney can be water. As water is absorbed, it can freeze and create larger and larger cracks and holes in the masonry.

Protecting your chimney with waterproofing

One of the best ways to protect your chimney against water damage is by having your masonry waterproofed. Waterproofing can keep water out of your masonry, preventing further water damage as well as stopping the progression of existing damage. However, it can be difficult to know which products are right for your chimney.

Water repellents vs water sealants

When it comes to chimney waterproofing, the terms water repellent and water sealant are often used interchangeably. However, these two terms represent two very different types of chimney waterproofing product. These two categories of clear masonry coatings have different properties and effects on your masonry; this makes it important to understand the differences between the two.

  • Water repellent: Water repellents are designed to penetrate deeply into the masonry, coating the nooks, crannies, holes, and cracks of your bricks and mortar with the water repellent. Doing this allows trapped moisture and gasses in the masonry to continue to evaporate while preventing new water from being absorbed.
  • Water sealants: When applied, water sealants form a thin, continuous barrier on top of the surface of the masonry, completely sealing any holes or cracks in the bricks and mortar. While this prevents any new water from getting in, it also keeps old water from getting out. This means that any water that has been previously absorbed is now trapped inside the masonry; this can allow damage from the freeze-thaw cycle to continue even after your chimney has been “waterproofed”. In addition, applying a water sealant can affect the masonry’s ability to be gas permeable, trapping harmful gasses inside your chimney instead of venting them to the outside.

Not all waterproofing products are created equally. For best results, homeowners should have water repellents professionally applied to their chimney; doing so can help protect the chimney against water entry for years to come. For more information on professional waterproofing using water repellents, contact New Buck Chimney Services today.