What's Causing Your Chimney To Leak?!

Have a Chimney Leak Problem?

A leaky chimney is a common issue for homes with brick chimneys. A leak can be a troubling problem, especially frustrating because it’s a problem that can come back if the issue isn’t resolved correctly the first time.

The little drip, drip, drip of a leaky chimney isn’t just a cause of irritation; it can signify a deeper and more serious problem. Because leaky chimneys allow water to seep into your house walls, it could mean that water is in danger of damaging more of your home that just your chimney!

What is the solution to this chimney leak | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

But what even causes these detrimental leaks into your chimney in the first place?

Brick is  naturally durable and your chimney seems structurally sound, so you may be rightly confused as to why, after a particularly rainy day, water has trickled into your chimney.

As with many other construction issues, the source of the problem isn’t usually very cut and dry. There could be several reasons affecting your brick chimney that allow rainwater to come inside your house. Your chimney crown may have cracked, the wood siding may have knots or cracks that allow water to seep through,your brick chimney may have cracked or loose mortar,  or your leak may have its origin at a different place in your roof and simply found its way down into the chimney.

However, the number one most common issue of leaking is due to a flaw in your chimney’s original design. If your home was built after 1990, and has a brick chimney with a metal flue cap which covers the whole chimney top outside, and is experiencing a chimney leak, it may have this design flaw too.
Here’s why your chimney’s leaking problem may have been so difficult to pinpoint and fix. This particular design of brick chimney utilizes a technique called the “wood chase design.” 

That means that, while many people may blame the exterior flashing for not protecting your inner chimney from the rain, the problem actually lies beneath the exterior flashing. Many times, when a leak starts but the source cannot be easily identified, roofers will opt to waterproof the brick exterior of your chimney. Sometimes an exterior modification is recommended. 

These procedures may be costly and, while it often provides a temporary solution, it’s not sustainable. Why? Because, instead of addressing the leak at its root cause (which is behind the exterior flashing), these “fixes” only prevent the water from leaking in as fast. But even with the best waterproofing system, about 10% of moisture will still escape through the brick, which is a naturally porous material.

The  water naturally seeps through the brick over time can start this leak. From there, it slips behind the exterior flashing where it starts to soak the plywood structure behind the brick. This causes blackening and rotting and also allows the water to continue to soak down until it reaches your house’s walls and begins to rot them too!

So, what is the solution to this chimney leak?

The only way to solve this issue and to prevent it from recurring in the future is to install something called an interior chimney flashing. A professional mason would strip the brick exterior construct a second flashing which runs from behind the brick at the same level as the flashing already in place. When it meets the existing exterior flashing, it will turn and go around the chimney to cover the brick and overlap the exterior flashing.

This prevents leaking because it automatically creates a little gutter-like system of trapping the incoming water and redirecting it outside of the chimney via something called a weep opening or weep hole.

Top 5 Reasons Your Chimney Is Leaking Water

Here at A and X Masonry, our skilled masons have the experience necessary to quickly diagnose your chimney leakage problem and find the cause of the leak, then give you an accurate quote.

We’ll fit you into our schedule within the couple of weeks  after our initial estimation, often sooner.
So, if you’re ready to schedule a free consultation, contact us!

1. Rain Coming In From The Top of Chimney

This is a common problem found especially when there is no cover.  Chimney covers help to keep out animals, debris, and rain. This is an important feature needed to prevent blockage, which could cause dangerous CO2 buildup inside your home. Let us come and install a cover and put an end to your leak.

2. Cracks In The Chimney Crown

The main purpose of the crown is to keep the rain out. Shifting of the structure or shrinkage can cause cracks in the crown. These cracks allow water to flow straight into the chimney. This can be repaired with a coating material unless the damage is too severe. If that is the case, we can help you remove and replace the crown.

3. Condensation From The Inside Out

Older homes are especially susceptible to this problem.  You may notice paint bubbling or wallpaper peeling inside your home. As people convert to gas, the low temperature and high moisture gas fumes may start condensing on the inside of the unlined chimney, which then ends up on your living room wall.  We can install a liner as a simple fix to this problem.

4. Chimney Repair Flashing

Where the roof and chimney meet, there should be  flashing.  This is a metal material that prevents water from getting in around the chimney, and it is usually sealed with tar.  Both the flashing and the tar only last so long.  We have better products currently available to flash and seal it to eliminate leaks now and in the future.

5.Leaking Bricks

Freezing and thawing with the seasons can cause damage to the bricks and mortar in your chimney.  Bricks and mortar both pass water.  It is important to waterproof your chimney.  It is equally important what you waterproof it with.  We provide an application that does not trap existing water in the brick but instead allows it to release from the brick without allowing it to re-enter.   

Whether you have a leak coming from the top of your chimney, the crown, condensation, flashing, or leaking bricks, we are here to help.  We have been in the masonry industry for many years and are here to help you find and fix your chimney problems.  We are sure you have other things to worry about besides why its leaking.  Let us take this item off of your to-do list.  Before you know it will be better than new, and you can focus on more important things!

Do you need chimney repairs? Is your chimney leaking water into the fireplace ?We are here to help! schedule your free estimate for all your masonry and chimney needs such as chimney flashing repair, chimney crown repair, chimney repointing ,chimney leaking, chimney cap repair and chimney rebuilding and construction.

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