Water is an undeniably powerful force — given enough time, it can carve out canyons, cut right through mountains and wear down metal beams. So, of course, it can wreak havoc on a chimney system that’s open to the elements day after day, year after year, rainstorm after snowstorm.

Protecting your chimney against the negative effects of water starts with knowing what water can do to damage your chimney, how it does it, and how you can minimize that damage. Here are just a few ways that water and leaks can ruin — or at least significantly damage — your chimney system:

Water is the Culprit of Masonry Damage Icon - Albany NY - Northeastern Masonry & Chimney

More often than not, water is the culprit when chimney masonry begins to decay. The proper response to a decayed chimney will depend on the extent of the damage.

Water Rusts And Corrodes Metal Components

Whether you have a masonry or prefabricated chimney system, parts of that system will be constructed out of metal — usually either galvanized metal, stainless steel or copper. Certain materials are more susceptible to moisture damage than others.

Our main concern: rust and corrosion. Those metal components — like your chase cover or chimney flashing — are in place to keep moisture from getting inside your chimney and into the interior of your home. When water creates rust damage and corrosion, it can allow moisture to start seeping in. So if you see rust streaking down your chase cover or see corrosion on your chimney cap, call Northeastern Chimney — we can replace those components and talk with you about some more durable options.

Water Damages Mortar Joints

Masonry chimneys are built with bricks or stone, held together with mortar joints. And while both brick and mortar are strong materials, mortar usually falls prey to moisture’s effects more quickly, so you end up with cracked, eroded or receded joints. Those damaged joints can (and usually do) allow moisture to seep through to the interior of your chimney, causing further damage to both the system and your home. When mortar joints do begin to fail, though, Northeastern can help with tuckpointing: carefully removing the damaged joints and replacing them with properly formed new mortar joints.

Water Feeds Mold

It’s important to be aware of the potential risks of having mold growing inside your home — mold exposure is linked to a wide variety of health concerns, from allergic reactions to skin conditions and respiratory problems. And yes, your chimney can be a welcome home to mold spores.

Mold needs moisture to feed on, so if a chimney leak — from a missing chimney cap, damaged mortar joints or a host of other problems — lets moisture in consistently, the probability of chimney mold is high. Homeowners usually notice a smell first — it’s the dank, musty odor we usually associate with old cellars. Some notice discoloration (brown, black or green) on or around the chimney. If you’re concerned about chimney mold, call Northeastern Chimney. Our technicians are trained to safely and properly remediate chimney mold problems, and just as importantly, we can find and repair the leak or leaks that led to the mold growth to begin with.

If you have any questions about water damage — or any other chimney problems — Northeastern Chimney is always glad to help. Just give us a call!