A damaged chimney isn’t necessarily doomed. Most damages are able to be repaired as long as you have the proper tools and equipment for the job and the damage isn’t extensive. Masonry chimney damage, when caught early, may be repaired relatively inexpensively without rebuilding the entire unit. Today I’m going to cover the primary repairs that need to be made and a few preventative maintenance ideas that will protect your chimney from future damage.
Chimney caps are often referred to as drain covers or chimney covers. They must be replaced when they show obvious signs of damage, because they’re designed to prevent water from flowing into the chimney. A cap is one of the least expensive preventative measures you can take for protecting your masonry chimney.
The crown covers and seals the top of the chimney from the liner to the edge of the chimney. It is angled down slightly to drain water away from the surface of the chimney. This particular part takes a lot of abuse from snow, wind, rain, and ice. Damages must be repaired quickly in order to prevent damage.
Brick, block, and stone chimneys are held together mortar. Mortar joints, where it joins the brick, block, or stone, collect water which during winter freezes into ice, expanding and eroding the mortar itself. Deteriorated mortar joints must be repaired quickly to prevent further damage to the entire structure of the chimney. Repointing the mortar, when done correctly, flicks water away from the chimney and lengthens its lifespan considerably. In addition to reviving the functionality of the chimney, repointing the mortar joints rejuvenates the appearance as well.
The chimney cricket is a triangle shaped piece, usually metal, that drains water away from the back of the chimney where it is closest to the point of the roofline. Without a properly working cricket, water would collect at the base of the chimney where it meets the roof. This would cause serious deterioration of the mortar.
Chimney flashing, like the cricket, attaches at the base of the chimney and helps whisk water away from the base of the chimney. Without the flashing and a cricket, the chimney would allow water to enter the attic and cause structural damage inside the home.
A well-built chimney, designed, installed, and built by a professional, will be properly sealed to prevent water damage. The sealant will likely have a somewhat shiny or wet appearance. When the new look disappears from the chimney, it’s very likely time to reapply the sealant. Sealant is usually reapplied once every two years. This is probably the easiest preventative maintenance measure you can take toward the health of your masonry chimney.
Chimney sweeps aren’t just out here trying to scam you out of your money. We provide a service that will protect you, your loved ones, and your home from fire and injury due to faulty chimney equipment. Call me at least once per year to schedule an appointment for a thorough inspection of your chimney and other equipment related to your fireplace or wood burning stove.