Your chimney system is comprised of numerous parts, all of which are inspected by the chimney professionals at Northeastern Masonry & Chimney during your annual chimney inspection and sweeping. Some of these parts are more prone to leaking than others, and, as such, it is of paramount importance to make minor repairs as soon as problems arise. Keep reading to get a better understanding of some of the more common locations for chimney leaks and the typical repair methods.
CRUMBLING MORTAR JOINTS
The mortar used in the construction of your chimney is exposed to the elements on the outside and the heat from your firebox on the inside. This greatly speeds up the weathering process. As such, it is common for it to begin to crumble and fall away, leaving open areas between the bricks, which only exposes even more to these weathering agents and opens the door to serious water intrusion. As you might guess, this leads to even more issues. The process for repairing your damaged mortar is known as repointing. During this process, the damaged, old and loose mortar on your chimney is removed from the joints between the bricks and replaced with new mortar or masonry repair caulk. Only a skilled professional should repoint a chimney, as the work requires an experienced hand.
CAPS AND CROWNS
One of the main jobs of a chimney’s cap and crown is to cover the chimney’s opening and divert water away in an effort to prevent it from getting into your chimney and/or house. Water is directed away from the center and off the sides of your chimney; a crown with a drip-edge that extends out further than the sides of your chimney is ideal. Deciding to purchase a chimney cap and have it installed by one of our professional chimney technicians is a choice you won’t soon regret.
Chimneys are notorious for leaking, and the culprit is almost always the flashing, which lies at the point where the chimney rises above the roof. It keeps water out of the chimney, protecting both the flue and roof. Flashings are made from a variety of materials (e.g., aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, and/or tin). You’ll want to have new chimney flashing installed is it’s missing, rusted through, falling out or completely covered with roofing tar (a common short-term fix that’s sure to be hiding bigger problems). Many homeowners also opt to have new flashing installed when having new shingles put on because they want it to last as long as the new roofing (anywhere from 25-40 years).
As you can see, a chimney technician’s job is far more labor intensive that one might think. Chimney systems are comprised of many parts that depend upon one another to function at peak levels. A problem with one part of the system can cause another part of the system to have to work harder to pick up the slack, thereby causing that overworked component to wear out at a much quicker rate. This can become a vicious cycle rather quickly if the initial problem isn’t addressed in a timely manner. The moral of the story: repair minor problems as soon as possible so as to prevent them from becoming major problems down the road. Give us a call to schedule an inspection today to ensure that water penetration isn’t a problem for your chimney.