There are many potential problems that can arise with a chimney, and water is one of the major causes of costly troubles. Besides the fact that an annual chimney inspection is recommended as a basic safety measure, another reason an inspection by a professional chimney sweep is important is so that moisture problems can be identified before they do extensive damage. The following are three major moisture-related problems that are common in chimneys.
Because of the material they are made with, bricks absorb moisture. During the winter, the water trapped inside each brick freezes and thaws as temperatures change; and the result can be spalling. “Spalling” is when the surface of the brick breaks off or becomes damaged.
Spalling is more than an aesthetic issue. Bricks can become useless as structural components if there is enough breakage that the bricks no longer offer support. Watch for exterior damage to your chimney, such as bits of brick around the chimney base, to avoid the need for expensive masonry repairs.
Solution: While a chimney can’t be 100% waterproofed, you can add an extra layer of protection to your chimney’s exterior by getting it so-called “waterproofed.” Give us a call and one of our chimney professionals will add a water repellant treatment to your chimney, which will help to prevent spalling. While it provides protection which prevents water from seeping into the interior of the chimney, the treatment still allows the moisture which seeps inside the bricks to escape.
Rusting and Liner Deterioration
If water seeps into the chimney, it can cause the damper or firebox to rust. When there is enough moisture to cause rusting, there should be a complete chimney inspection to determine the extent of the water damage, since not all damage is immediately visible.
Another problem that moisture can cause is damage to the tile liner. If there is a crack in the flue, it should be repaired immediately, anyway; but if moisture seeps into the cracks, it can also cause damage to ceilings and walls.
Solution: There are several possible reasons why water enters the chimney and fireplace. One major reason for moisture in the chimney is the lack of a chimney cap. Without a chimney cap, rainwater can enter the chimney, in addition to animals, leaves, and other types of debris.
Other possible problems could be that there is leaking around the chimney crown or flashing. If these components of the chimney have deteriorated or been damaged, our chimney professionals can help.
Repeated cycles of freezing and thawing can damage the mortar between the bricks on the chimney. Damaged mortar leads to deterioration of the bricks, including causing large cracks.
Solution: Fresh mortar can be used to correct the mortar damage caused by moisture. Our chimney professionals have special tools to perform a process called “tuckpointing,” during which damaged bricks are also removed and replaced. Tuckpointing is an effective solution which is performed in such a way that the repaired area blends in with areas which don’t need attention. The process also ensures that the joints between the bricks are strong and water-resistant, in addition to preventing the need for costly future repairs.
Prevention is Important
When you watch for early signs of moisture damage and get an annual chimney inspection, you can avoid getting stuck with expenses related to destructive water damage.
Contact our chimney professionals today to help prevent destructive water damage in the future.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004