Brick chimneys may vary in size and looks, but one thing they all have in common is that water can cause a lot of damage over time. No matter how strong your chimney looks, concrete is a porous material, and this is where the trouble normally starts. Homeowners usually pay attention to basic maintenance, cleaning and inspections, but the need to seal the chimney properly is sometimes overlooked. In other instances, homeowners might not be too careful about the sealant products they choose.
The choice is not always a simple one, as you have to know whether a sealant is right for your chimney. These products have different properties, such as the ability to allow moisture to leave the masonry. Sealing the chimney without providing for moisture removal can actually cause the moisture to become trapped in the structure.
To put it simply, you need a product that will be absorbed into the surface instead of just covering it. If you choose the right sealant, it can last for years before you have to re-apply it. Don’t worry that coating the chimney will change the way it looks. Many of these products are transparent and will not affect the look of the structure at all.
What Happens Without Protection
When your chimney absorbs water, it will seep below the surface and stay for a while. Now imagine what happens to this water in freezing temperatures. As it hardens, it places a lot of stress on the structure from the inside. When the weather gets warmer you may notice that bits of the masonry start to fall off in flakes. This is called spalling, and it starts out in small amounts, but you will see it worsening over time. This can happen to any concrete or brick surface that deals with extreme temperature variations. Neglect this problem, and eventually you could be facing the prospect of replacing the entire structure.
You should look at other ways to keep your chimney free from moisture. One of these is adding a cap that will keep rainwater out. Any rainwater that gets in will be absorbed into the masonry, and if you failed to use a breathable sealant, it will remain in the mortar. A well-designed chimney cap will also keep small animals and birds from being able to create nests in the chimney during the summer.
Since there are different types of sealants available, you should talk to one of our professional chimney sweeps about getting the right type. We have one specific type we prefer and recommend to all of our customers because it does a fabulous job. The ChimneySaver line of products is very easy to apply and is extremely reliable. Lou Curley Chimney Service is located in Drexel Hill and we provide all types of chimney services throughout the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.