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July 2024

Why Residential Chimney Repair Is Necessary

A chimney on a rooftop can be an attractive part of a home, but it also must be in good working order. Chimney repair professionals have experience and specialized tools for getting to and working on the roof.

Chimney Repair

Common chimney repairs include tuckpointing, crown repair, and flashing seal. Water damage to the masonry can cause serious problems throughout the house.

Chimney flashing creates a vital seal to prevent water from flowing down the sides of your chimney into your home. When flashing is damaged, it allows moisture to penetrate your roof and cause expensive problems like wood rot, roof damage and attic issues. Chimney flashing is typically made of galvanized steel, stainless steel or copper and is installed by a skilled roofing contractor. It’s important to get flashing repairs done as soon as possible to avoid extensive damage and expensive chimney replacement costs.

Despite being designed to last for a long time, chimney flashing is often subjected to harsh weather conditions and other environmental factors that can shorten its lifespan. The material itself can wear out and corrode, and even high-quality flashing can develop leaks due to poor installation or use of inferior materials.

In addition to the natural effects of time and weather, chimney flashing can also be prone to damage from animals or other objects that are looking for an entry point into your home. Heavy winds can loosen or pull flashing away, and aggressive pests can chew or scrape it. Chimney flashing is a detailed, custom piece of work that requires a skilled and experienced professional to install properly.

Residential chimney flashing is typically set up in two separate sections, referred to as step and counter flashing. The first, which is usually made of a sheet metal such as copper or steel, is installed under the shingles and bent in an L-shape up against the chimney. The second, or counter flashing, is then bent down over the step flashing and lodged into a mortar joint. Chimney flashing is then caulked to ensure a waterproof seal.

Although chimney flashing can be repaired by applying new caulking, it’s a good idea to contact a qualified professional as soon as you notice any signs of moisture penetration. A small leak can quickly become a massive problem that causes thousands of dollars in damage to your roof, attic and ceilings. Chimney flashing leaks tend to start out very small and can easily go unnoticed until you spot water stains on your ceiling or attic walls.

Deteriorated Crown

The chimney crown is the concrete slab that sits atop your chimney. It is designed to prevent water from entering the chimney through the mortar joints and the areas where the roof butts up against the chimney. Unfortunately, a chimney’s crown can deteriorate due to the elements as well as poor construction. This can lead to cracking and a number of other problems, like leaks, so it is important to keep an eye out for signs of chimney crown damage.

A cracked and damaged chimney crown can allow rainwater, snow and ice to seep into your chimney. This can cause serious structural damage and water stains on the ceiling of your home. Water infiltration can also cause problems with your fireplace, including rusting and dampness. Water infiltration can be prevented with regular maintenance. One way to do this is to schedule a chimney sweeping at least once a year. This will allow your chimney professional to spot and repair any minor issues before they become serious.

Another sign that your chimney crown needs repairs is if you notice pools of water on the top of your chimney or in front of it. This is a clear sign that your chimney’s crown is not doing its job and should be repaired immediately.

Other signs that your chimney crown is deteriorating include cracking, spalling and falling pieces of concrete. These are all symptoms of a failing chimney crown and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid more expensive chimney repairs.

Keeping your chimney clean and in good repair is the best way to prevent costly chimney repairs, but even the most durable masonry structures require periodic maintenance. When you hire a licensed and insured chimney professional to perform chimney services, they should inspect the chimney crown to catch any issues when they are still small. This will help prevent major chimney damage and save you thousands of dollars in future repairs.

A residential chimney repair specialist can apply a flexible crown sealer to the top of your chimney. This will fill in the cracks and create a waterproof surface that can add years to your chimney’s life. This repair method is inexpensive and can be completed in less than a day.

Loose Joints

Chimneys are far from the passive black holes that many homeowners think of them as. They perform several vital functions and require annual maintenance to avoid serious damage, deterioration and expensive repair costs.

While minor chimney problems often go unnoticed, it’s important to spot and address any brick or mortar damage as soon as possible before the situation worsens. Masonry damage can lead to leaks, chimney fires and a greater risk of structural damage.

One of the most common signs of chimney damage is the appearance of loose, crumbling or flaking bricks. This condition, called spalling, is a result of water penetration that leads to masonry deterioration. The freeze-thaw cycles of winter cause water to seep into bricks and concrete and then expand as it thaws, causing tiny cracks that get worse with every freeze-thaw cycle.

If you notice a loose brick or mortar joint, consult a masonry professional for an inspection and chimney repair estimate. A qualified mason can fill in these gaps and joints with a brush-applied mortar repair known as tuckpointing. This is a quick and inexpensive chimney repair, but a professional may also recommend installing a flue liner to protect against water damage.

A chimney stack projecting above a roof is exposed to the elements and can suffer from heavy winds, hail and debris that can cause deterioration. A damaged chimney stack can become dangerously unstable, leading to smoke blowback and a chimney fire that could threaten the structure of a home.

The chimney crown is the slab of concrete that caps the top of a chimney. It protects the brick and mortar from rain, prevents animals from entering the chimney, and keeps sparks from escaping the chimney and landing on your home’s roof. Chimney crown repair is a common service and generally costs between $150 and $300.

Cracked Chimney Cap

Chimney stacks are a tall, vulnerable structure that faces a lot of wear and tear over time. This is especially true if the chimney stack isn’t fitted with a protective rain cap. A faulty chimney cap can allow moisture, debris and critters into the flue and cause damage to the masonry and flue lining.

A rain cap can be a simple but important addition to your chimney. It is designed to keep water, critters and debris out of the flue while still allowing smoke and contaminants to ventilate. It also provides a spark arrestor to help prevent dangerous sparks from escaping the flue and potentially starting a house fire.

If your chimney stack has a cracked or missing chimney cap, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible. A leaking chimney crown that’s not properly protected with a rain cap can lead to serious and expensive structural damage.

The chimney crown is a sloping cement surface that covers the top of the chimney. It helps protect the masonry from water and allows moisture to drain off instead of pooling on top. Cracks in the chimney crown are common and can have a serious effect on the flue and masonry.

Moisture that leaks through cracks in the chimney crown can be absorbed by the masonry and start a damaging cycle of brick damage. Moreover, a crack in the chimney crown that’s not repaired can let water seep into and saturate a home’s firebox and damper, possibly causing rust or water damage to interior walls.

A residential chimney repair professional can seal concrete chimney cracks and replace the chimney cap to reduce moisture infiltration. Home owners can often seal or repair these minor problems themselves, but it’s always a good idea to have a qualified professional inspect the chimney before attempting any major work on your own. It’s also a good idea to wear a fall-arresting harness when working on a roof, particularly one that is steep or high. These can be rented at home improvement centers and tool-rental outlets. These harnesses consist of a metal ridge anchor attached to the peak of the roof, a body harness that fits around your back and hips, and a rope with an automatic locking mechanism that prevents you from falling a long distance.