With fall weather just around the corner, fireplace usage is probably on your mind! That said, if you’ve recently noticed water dripping into your firebox, unpleasant smells, unsightly stains, or any other type of water-related issues, then it’s likely you have a leak. And if it’s not fixed by the time you light your first fire, your family’s fireplace experience isn’t going to be quite as top-notch as it should be.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water damage to chimneys is one of the most overlooked issues inside a home. Chimneys are often neglected in terms of regular professional care, which can end up turning hidden problems into eyesores before you know it.
All fireplace construction materials, with the exception of stone, will be affected by changing temperatures and severe weather conditions, whether that’s rain, snow, or heat. And small damages quickly trigger a domino effect, leading to increased damage to all chimney system components. Basically, as one component is compromised, other components are forced to work harder to maintain the system’s efficiency, which results in a lot of wear and tear overall.
Before you know it, the entire system will be compromised, in need of repairs, and unsafe for use until professional care is completed (often at a considerable expense to the homeowner).
Being proactive is the most effective way to address these underlying issues before they become a real problem. And here at Northeastern Masonry and Chimney, we can help with it all! No matter the problem, our techs are sure to get to the bottom of it in no time.
Common Types of Damage
So, we know leaks and water damage are harmful, but what are the more common types of damage we tend to see? Keep an eye out for the following:
- Missing/Damaged Chimney Caps: Chimney caps serve a lot of functions (keeping out animals, blocking debris, etc.), but they’re most well-known for preventing water from entering the flue and causing damage to your liner and interior components. If your cap is missing, not fitted correctly, or damaged, you’re inviting a lot of problems into your chimney.
- Deteriorated Masonry: Moisture throughout your masonry can lead to a number of issues including water stains, brick erosion, vegetative growth, deterioration, mold formation, clogs, and more. Larger issues can also appear during something called the freeze/thaw process, which is what happens when water in your brickwork freezes and expands on those cold winter days. This causes cracks and gaps to form, and it typically happens multiple times a season to unprotected masonry – not good.
- Broken-Down Flashing: The flashing is installed on all four sides of the chimney right at the area where it meets the roof – an especially vulnerable spot. Stainless steel flashing will ensure water doesn’t get in, but if it wasn’t installed right, you’re still bound to have problems. Along with this, if your flashing has been torn or damaged, or if the high-performing caulk that’s used to seal the edges pulls off, water will have ample opportunity to enter.
- Crown Damage: Your crown plays an essential role in keeping the sides of your chimney protected from water damage. Its sloped design sends water out and away from the bricks and mortar, ensuring as little deterioration as possible occurs. Unfortunately, not all crowns were built from appropriate materials and many break down prematurely. If this is the case for you, a rebuild may be in order.
- Resolving Water Issues & Prevention
When it comes to locating and remediating issues causing leaks inside your chimney, our CSIA-certified chimney techs are equipped to handle it all. The first step will be to repair and replace any of your damaged parts as necessary. That could mean restoring your crown, replacing your flashing, installing a chimney cap, completing tuckpointing services, replacing brickwork, and more.
We also urge homeowners to invest in chimney waterproofing. Many find it surprising when we liken brickwork to a sponge, but when it comes to soaking in water, these two things are quite similar. Our specially designed sealant ensures rain, sleet, snow, and other types of moisture don’t soak into your absorbent brickwork.
The sealant we use is also designed to allow vapor and gases to permeate through your bricks, ensuring air can flow through your masonry. Essentially, all necessary fumes can get out (including pre-absorbed moisture), but nothing harmful will get in – a win-win.
I’m Ready to Get Started! What’s the First Step?
The first thing to do when addressing (or preventing) a chimney leak is to schedule a professional chimney inspection. Here at Northeastern Masonry & Chimney, we follow NFPA standards to ensure your system gets a complete and thorough overview, and our experienced techs are trained to perform all three levels of chimney inspections, so you’ll be covered, no matter what.
Once we get to the bottom of it all, we have the tools and training to restore your system, so you can kick off the upcoming burning season with the ease and peace of mind you deserve.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t put it off. The protection and comfort you’re seeking is just a phone call away. Reach out now!