Chimneys are not something many homeowners think about at least not until there is a severe problem. Brick and mortar chimneys or masonry chimneys tend to take a lot of beating especially in the uppermost parts that extend above the level of the house. This part falls foul of many rainstorms, blizzards, extreme heat, hail and many other forms of precipitation and as a result, they can be severely damaged over time if they are not properly maintained as well as waterproofed.
Chances are if you discovered a water leak in your house or in your fireplace, your chimney is to blame and waterproofing is in order. But how do you even go about doing that?
For starters, it is always important that you find out the source of the leak first before you start doing any inside renovations. Once you are sure you have found the point of entrance on your chimney, you can begin. Of course, if your chimney hasn’t been waterproofed at all, it is also a good idea to waterproof the whole thing in order to avoid any future leaks.
Measurement – In order to determine how much waterproofing material you will need, you need to measure the total area of your chimney. You can do this by, calculating the area of each side and then adding all the sides together for your total.
Cleaning – Before you begin waterproofing, you need to give your chimney a thorough cleaning. Any mold, excess dirt, rust and stains need to be removed if the waterproof coat will have any lasting effect. There are many different masonry cleaners that will help you do this job. This may take a while and it may take a bit of scrubbing, but once you are complete allow your chimney to dry for at least 24 hours.
Protection – Make sure to lay down drop cloths over areas of the roof or side of the house that you don’t want to hit with waterproofing spray. Hitting the shingles with the spray can cause severe discoloration. In addition, if it hits a window it is almost impossible to get off if it is allowed to dry.
Repairs – If there any minor repairs in your chimney that you can do yourself, you should repair these before waterproofing it. You can buy certain sealants to do the job, but if your chimney is in need of any more serious damage, you should hire a professional to do the repairs for you. Once your repairs are complete, wait 28 days before waterproofing.
Waterproofing – It only remains for you to apply the water repellant of your choice. Begin applying from the top down using a garden spray hose or whatever method is recommended for the sealant you chose. It is best if you can completely saturate the surface and then apply a brush to ensure even distribution. After a few minutes, apply a second coat. The more you apply, the darker the shade of the brick and the longer lasting the protection.
Waterproofing your chimney is an extremely important chimney maintenance measure that doesn’t really take a lot of time, but many homeowners simply don’t have the time or level of confidence to do the job. Call me at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney waterproofing needs or any other issues regarding your chimney, fireplace, or wood burning stove.