Of all the features of your home, the chimney is one of the most vital. Yet, for some people, it is the most neglected home feature. The chimney is not a complex system, which is a good thing, because it will be easier for you to understand how to care for it. While cleaning is important, it is not the only aspect of its maintenance needs attention.
Why Chimneys Leak
Aging chimneys will begin to leak at some point, there’s no getting away from that. Shoddy workmanship will cause the leaks to start early, in which case your chimney will need more than a sealant. Common reasons why water enters your home through the chimney include:
- Water comes in through the top when it rains. The fix: get a chimney cap installed.
- A crack in the crown. The fix: for minor cracks, a sealant can be applied. Big cracks will call for mortar repair or replacement of this section.
- Seepage through the flashing. The fix: You can take advantage of newer flashing sealant materials for better leak protection. In some cases, the flashing itself may need to be replaced.
The Basic Anatomy of a Chimney
It is a simple structure, but there is more to it than you might see at first glance. Since it is on the roof, you might be more familiar with the fireplace, but the inside and outside of the chimney are just as important. Parts of this structure include:
- The cap keeps out rain and animals like squirrels and birds
- The crown is the angled concrete area surrounding the exit for the flue and is situated just below the cap
- The liner runs the entire length of the chimney and carries the smoke from the fireplace out of the home
- Caulking seals the metal flashing to keep water out
- The flashing provides a protective seal between the chimney and the roof shingles
It is important to note that you won’t always be able to tell where a leak is coming from. Sometimes you might not even be able to tell that there is a leak until it starts to cause problems. Water always takes the path of least resistance, so what may appear as a leak near the top of an interior wall may actually be traced to the rafters. There are always tell-tale signs that point to where the leak originates, you just have to know where and how to look for them.
When we inspect your chimney, we will be able to detect leaks right away. We check the entire system, so nothing gets by us. We will also tell you some of the signs to look out for so you know when the chimney is leaking. Call us at Lou Curley for professional chimney inspection, maintenance and repair.