We’re Delaware County’s Chimney Leak Repair Experts

Water problems are very prevalent year-round, due to the weather patterns we have here in the Philadelphia area. For this reason, it’s becoming increasingly important for all homeowners to understand how water can damage all types of masonry, and what they can do to reverse or prevent damage and chimney leaks.

How Can We Resolve Chimney Leaks?

Chimney leak repair is extremely important, because an unsafe and water-damaged chimney presents safety concerns that may actually threaten the structural integrity of the home – and costs to repair and resolve these safety concerns can quickly add up. Let us help you keep costs down and keep your home safer and stronger by resolving your chimney leaks and water problems fast. Our specialties include these services:

  • Crown Repair & Waterproofing: The crown (cement top) of your chimney is made to protect the chimney opening against water, but crowns can crack, erode, or otherwise fail, and allow water into the home. The best way to prevent these types of leaks is to have repairs made quickly. Here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service, we make crown repairs and provide a waterproof membrane using ChimneySaver CrownCoat and CrownSeal. Both products are environmentally friendly, permanently flexible, and carry at least a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Masonry Repair: Water is your masonry chimney’s worst enemy, and unfortunately, water often wins the battle. If you have masonry damage, like cracks in your mortar joints or spalling brick, the faster repairs are made, the better. The team here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service can make repairs quickly and professionally, and prevent cracks from growing and allowing more and more water into the masonry and home.
  • Waterproofing: We can also waterproof the chimney to prevent future water-related problems. While there are many waterproofing agents on the market, here at Lou Curley’s, we use ChimneySaver VOC-compliant water repellent. This non-glossy, 100% vapor-permeable waterproofing product is the best out there.
  • Chimney Cap & Custom Cap Installation: Is your cap missing? Every chimney needs a cap to cover the flue and keep water, debris, and animals from entering. Here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service, we sell and install quality stainless steel and copper single and multi-flue chimney caps. Each cap we install can be powder-coated as well and carries a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. 
Chimney leak, crown, masonry and waterproofing. Home with very tall chimney with ladder against home and tech standing on top of roof with a tech at the bottom of the ladder.

What Causes Chimney Leaks?

The problem with chimney leaks is that they aren’t like any other type of leak. You aren’t awoken from your slumber by a steady plop-plop-plop of water droplets or frantically looking for the emergency shut off valve to stop a geyser of water.

In fact, most of the time, chimney leaks are silent – creeping in unnoticed and causing gradual damage until the signs become apparent. In fact, it’s this stealthiness that makes chimney leaks so deceptive and destructive. By the time you notice water stains on your walls and ceiling, significant damage may have already occurred within your chimney and home. 

So what exactly causes a chimney to leak? There are a few main culprits including: 

  • Damaged Flashing: Flashing is the metal material that helps create a seal between the chimney and the roof. Over time, the flashing can deteriorate, leading to gaps and openings that allow water to penetrate the chimney and the home. 
  • Cracked Chimney Crown: The chimney crown sits at the very top of the chimney, covering everything but the flue. It is typically made of concrete, mortar, or other masonry material – although, the only material it should be made of is concrete because concrete is highly durable and resistant to weathering. If the chimney crown develops cracks or deteriorates due to constant exposure to the elements, it allows direct water seepage into the chimney. 
  • Deteriorated Mortar & Brickwork: Over time, the mortar and brick that make up a chimney can erode, creating direct pathways for water to enter. If you have an older chimney, this is especially something you should be concerned about.
  • Damaged or Missing Chimney Cap: The chimney cap is another component that sits at the top of the chimney. Its purpose is to cover the flue opening and helps prevent rain, snow, debris, and animals from having clear access to your chimney. If the chimney cap is damaged or missing, it can cause a whole host of problems. It’s cheaper and easier to replace a missing or damaged chimney cap than it is to repair the damage that is caused by its absence.
  • Worn-Out Flue Liner: One chimney component that is hard for homeowners to judge its condition – but is important in overall chimney function – is the flue liner. It is often made of clay tiles or metal, and as the name implies, lines the interior of the chimney to protect it from the byproducts of combustion. As a result of normal wear and tear, the flue liner can become corroded and vulnerable to leaks.
  • Ice Dams: Ice dams are the result of snow on the roof melting and then refreezing near the eaves. This ice barrier results in improper drainage and inhibits snow from safely flowing off the roof. When the natural flow of water off the roof is blocked, this causes moisture to back up under the roofing materials and can cause chimney damage, as well.

As you can see, it’s hard to diagnose the root problem of a leak when there are so many unique variables to take into consideration. That’s why we always recommend the expertise of a qualified professional, like the certified technicians at Lou Curley Chimney Sweep. We can thoroughly assess the chimney and its surroundings, identify the cause of the leak, and provide the most effective solutions for repair and prevention. 

What are signs of a chimney leak?

Aside from scheduling annual inspections with a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep, what can you do to stay on top of leaks and water problems? Inspect your chimney on a regular basis and make sure to call us if you notice any of the following:

  • Cracks between the brick or stone of your chimney
  • Spalling or flaking brick
  • Damage to the crown or chimney cap
  • Evidence of water in your fireplace

I Have a Leak Where the Chimney Meets the Roof – What Does That Mean?

If you have a leak where the chimney meets the roof, this typically indicates a problem with the chimney flashing. If the flashing is damaged, improperly installed, or has deteriorated over time, it compromises the watertight seal between the chimney and the roof.

Unfortunately, this type of repair should not be taken lightly. Ignoring faulty chimney flashing can lead to more extensive water damage in more than just the chimney structure alone. It can permeate the surrounding ceiling and walls, and potentially even the foundation. That’s the problem with water – it keeps flowing in every direction until it is stopped.

Why is flashing important? Because the spot where your roof and chimney meet is one of the more vulnerable areas of your home. These two things – the roof and chimney – are constructed from different materials, so they won’t line up nice and tight, which then leaves small gaps and openings for water to enter. Flashing covers that area up.

Can a Chimney Leak Cause Mold?

Yes, a chimney leak could potentially cause mold growth within your home. When water invades any space within your home, it creates a damp environment. If that moisture is not promptly addressed and completely dried, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew.

Just like water infiltration, mold continues to grow on every wall, ceiling, insulation, and other material near the source of the leak until it is eliminated. Mold spreads rapidly in a damp environment, and unfortunately, won’t go away on its own. Because of how dangerous it is to inhale mold spores, it’s important to remove the mold as soon as possible, repair the source of the leak, and ensure that the affected areas are restored to a safe and dry condition. 

How To Fix a Chimney Leak

You might be hoping to find a tutorial on how to fix a chimney leak yourself, but for the sake of your safety and protection of your home, it’s wiser to consult with a certified chimney technician. The experience, knowledge, and access to the right tools and equipment that certified chimney technicians have not only ensures that the chimney is accurately diagnosed and repaired, but that everybody in your home remains safe throughout the process. 

When you call Lou Curley Chimney Sweep, our process of fixing a chimney leak looks something like this:

  • Identify the Source of the Leak: In our opinion, the most important step of fixing a chimney leak is to determine the exact source of the leak. We will inspect both the interior and exterior of the chimney, as well as the surrounding roof and attic areas for visible signs of water infiltration – leaving no stone left unturned. 
  • Make Exterior Repairs: Next, we will make all necessary repairs on the exterior of the chimney. This includes the flashing, chimney crown, any and all damaged masonry, and the chimney cap. If you don’t accurately address each of these components, your chimney remains vulnerable to potential leaks and water damage. All other repairs will be pointless if we don’t establish a solid, watertight seal from the outside in. 
  • Flue Liner Inspection: As previously mentioned, the flue liner serves an important role in both  maintaining proper draft and airflow within the chimney and preventing combustion byproducts from seeping into the chimney structure (and potentially your home). Any cracks, gaps, or deterioration in the liner will need to be addressed in order to maintain the integrity of the chimney and the safety of your home. 
  • Interior Repairs: If water infiltration has caused damage to the walls, ceiling, or any other interior components of your home, we will begin restoring the affected areas. This involves repairing or replacing the drywall, insulation, or any other component that may have been compromised. We will look for signs of mold or mildew growth and take the necessary steps for professional remediation. During this phase of the process, we aim to not only address the visible damage but to also ensure your home is safe from any potential health hazards. 
  • Preventative Measures: To prevent future chimney leaks – and to save you from having to spend money on more repairs in the future – we will discuss waterproofing your chimney. By applying a waterproof sealant to the exterior of the chimney, we create a barrier that repels water and protects the chimney from the elements. Additionally, prioritizing regular chimney inspections and maintenance will help identify and address any potential issues before they escalate into hefty, expensive problems. 

Are Chimney Leaks Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Because every insurance company and policy is different, it’s hard to give an umbrella answer regarding whether or not chimney leaks are covered by homeowners insurance. The coverage for chimney leaks can vary widely based on the terms and conditions outlined in your policy.

Most insurance policies will cover sudden and unexpected events that are often referred to as perils. This includes things like a storm, a fallen tree, or other sudden, unexpected damage. However, if the damage is the result of neglect or failure to maintain your chimney and fireplace, your insurance is less likely to cover the damage.  

The best way to determine the extent of your coverage when it comes to chimney leaks is to contact your insurance provider. They can give you the specific information about your coverage and help guide you through the claims process if necessary.

We also advise you to keep your receipts! If you do need to prove that damage wasn’t a result of neglect, you’ll need a history of inspections and repair work to prove that.

So, What Should You Do if Your Chimney Is Leaking? Call On Us

Obvious damage to any part of your chimney should be taken seriously. A collapsed chimney puts the surrounding areas of your home at risk for rot and collapse as well. Don’t waste money on quick fixes that only address the symptoms of the problem. Call Lou Curley’s Chimney Service for a no-nonsense chimney leak repair and waterproofing application that will last for many years to come.

Reach us at 610-626-2439 or fill out our online appointment request form to get started.

 

Our chimney services include chimney and furnace/boiler flue relining so you don’t have to worry about any of your heating appliances.