Water Penetration of Masonry Chimneys

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Are you completely at a loss when it comes to your chimney? I don’t mean this question to be offensive, but how often do you really think about your chimney? How much do you know about it and how often do you take it for granted? Sure you may know that it gets rid of all your smoke and other gases from your fireplace, but if that is the extent of your thoughts toward it then you could end up being in a lot of trouble.

Far too often, chimneys are neglected to the point that they are so badly damaged they have become severely dangerous. And yet, people still don’t care as much as they should. It only seems to matter, when water begins to get in, starts interrupted their daily living and providing inconvenience that some people take the time to find out what is causing this horrendous leak in their basement. Let us start with the masonry chimney standing broken yet erect above their shingled roof.

Masonry chimneys are made up of a variety of different materials including brick, mortar, concrete, stone, steel and cast iron. All these materials are very solid and yet they all are incredibly susceptible to constant water exposure. It being battered by the elements all the time, it is no wonder, so much damage is done.

Most of these materials are also quite absorbent to water as well and especially water that freezes and then thaws. Thawed water expands, which can put plenty of stress on the materials causing it to break down over time. Even if you have a stone chimney (not water absorbent) you can be at risk as they often require large amounts of mortar (very water absorbent) to keep them glued together.

All this said, it is essential, if you have a masonry chimney that it is waterproofed in some way. Once the water leaks into your chimney it can do great damage including:

  • Rusted and Cracked Flue
  • Deteriorating fireplace parts
  • Stained chimney exterior
  • Stained ceilings and walls
  • Decaying mortar joints
  • Declining central heating system
  • Structural collapse of the chimney

If you’ve ever noticed a really bad smell in your home as well, it could very well be coming from your chimney where the water leaking in has mixed itself with the creosote buildup in your chimney flue. Needless to say, this is not very pleasant and if you are experiencing any of these highly unsafe effects, it is essential that you seek out professional help. Stopping the water from leaking into your chimney is essential, but to do so you must first find the source of the leak.

This may take some time and doing, but it will all be worth it. Whether it is a new chimney crown, a chimney cap, a completely new flue installation or simply a replacement of your chimney flashing, this is far too important to just ignore. Take my word for it and get your chimney fixed!

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