Water Proofing and Leak Repairs
Water entering your chimney system or Water Penetration is the biggest cause of chimney deterioration and it can cause major damage to walls, joist and the living areas inside your home around your fireplace. Water entering your chimney can leak out into the walls of your home and start mold build up inside the walls which can lead to health problems.
Water can also find a rafter and ride it to other parts of your home.
Masonry Chimneys are built of brick, rock and concrete. When it rains or snows your chimney is soaking up the water at a reasonably fast rate. This Moisture can penetrates the top of your system thru the crown or thru the sides of your chimney at the mortar joint between the bricks.
The crown is the horizontal area at the very top of your chimney This crown is designed to help shed the water toward the outside of your chimney system causing the water to run down the outside of the chimney. The crown is usually made of concrete and concrete is not water proof. Chimneys are still being constructed today using concrete for the crowns.
As this water runs down the side of your chimney you will eventually start to notice signs of deterioration at the mortar joints between the bricks on the outside of the chimney. These joints will eventually start to deteriorate and fall out, allowing more water to enter.
As water starts penetrating the chimney system gravity will pull the water thru the inside of the chimney system and start to destroy other parts of your chimney from the inside. Even new construction will even have water saturating thru the crown or sides.
The whole point of a Crown is to shed the water so that it will run down the outside of the chimney and NOT on the inside. If your Crown doesn’t have the proper material on it, water IS penetrating your chimney.
To give you an idea of how long the destructive process might take, I use this example; Say it takes 10 years of water running down the outside of your chimney before you start to notice deteriorating mortar joints. As water starts penetrating on the inside of your chimney system your deteriorating process has now double and you will start to see the result in 5 years because the water damage is attacking the outside AND the inside of your chimney at the same time.
It will not be long before you start noticing loose brick at the top, bad joints and/or water problems in the home.
We don’t recommend putting more concrete on the crown because it will crack again and isn't waterproof plus the new concrete might even float off top of the old crown. We also don't recommend putting tar on the crown because in the winter it will crack when it gets brittle and if conditions are right it could catch on fire and this could drip onto your roof. Nothing combustible should be used.
We have a great product that expands and contracts and is waterproof. It will not let moisture in but it will let the moisture escape.
The brick used to build your chimney will have anywhere from 3 to 10 holes in it. These holes give the chimney strength when the concrete dries. Water only has to saturate the distance from the outside of the brick to the first hole it finds before it starts its journey to the bottom of your chimney.
When your chimney gets wet and reaches its saturation point then water is penetrating your system in this manner also. As water enters your chimney, it will take the path of least resistance and come out somewhere inside your chimney system or your home. As water continues on down the chimney it creates more problems.
You do not want to seal your chimney with anything that has a silicone base material in it and you don’t want to paint your chimney. It may keep the weather out but the moisture that builds up in the chimney system cannot escape and is trapped inside the chimney.
The smoke you see going up the chimney is a combination of steam and tar droplets. When this moisture or any moisture gets inside your chimney, your chimney can't breathe because you have trapped the moisture inside. The freeze and thaw process will destroy your chimney system quickly. Your chimney needs to breathe, and be able to allow this moisture to escape.
Our products in 100% permeable. This means it’s like a trap valve. It will not let the outside moisture in the chimney but it will allow the moisture inside your chimney to leave.
The opening inside your chimney that guides the smoke to the outside of the chimney at the top is called the flue.
The Flue Liner is a one to two foot long section of Flue Tile stacked inside your chimney. It can be any size from 6x6 to 20x20 inches wide. There can be as many as 4 to 15 sections build inside your system. Whenever it rains, water will enter this hole and run down the inside of the flue liner until it get to the end of one of these sections of flue tile. The water will always take the path of least resistance. Most of the time it will cross through these sections and get into the chimney system between the Flue Liner and actual chimney walls and continue down the chimney. It may find a weak spot in your chimney or when your chimney reaches the saturation point, water may find its way into your house. You will not notice these water problem until the water works its way through the walls or sheet rock and exposes itself inside the living area. In the meantime mold can develop inside the walls causing health problems. Sometimes water will find a joist or rafter and ride this joist and start dripping within another area of the living space.
As the water continues down the chimney it will eventually fall behind the firebox and over time start to create small hairline cracks on the back fire wall inside your firebox. This is the area you would lay your wood in to burn. Eventually you will start to notice joints that are loose or missing inside your firebox. Eventually this will lead to having to rebuild you’re firebox.
Having to replace walls, ceilings and painting them can be pretty expensive as well as having to remove any mold. A Chimney Cap will prevent water from entering through the Flue Liner. It will also keep birds and animals out plus keep Embers from leaving your chimney and landing on the roof or in your yard. The flashing this the area where the chimney goes thru the roof. Between the roof and the chimney there is supposed to be a small space to allow for expansion and contraction of both the roof and chimney. To keep water from coming into your home this area is filled in with metal stripes to shed the water away from this area. If these areas are missing, rusted out or not installed properly then water will run down into the house between the chimney and the walls causing problems inside the house. You will not notice this problem until water works its way through the walls and exposes itself in the living area.
Some people will use tar to try and fix this problem but tar is a temporary cure. In the winter when it gets cold and everything starts to shrink, the tar becomes brittle and will crack. This allows water to enter the house. It can happen almost overnight. In the summer the tar will become soft and will sag, opening up the areas you just sealed.
We don't recommend tar because of this plus it can catch on fire. We have a great material that we use around the flashing that will expand and contract with your house and will last a long time.