The How and Why of Waterproofing Your Chimney

The great majority of your home is protected from the elements by one vital part of your home’s structure: the roof. Your roof keeps the wind, rain, and snow outside while your family stays safe and warm inside. However, there is one part of your home that does not receive this protection; this part of your home sticks up above the roof, and so it does not receive any protection from the elements. If you haven’t guessed, it’s your chimney.

Your chimney is exposed to all of the elements throughout the year, and yet it usually receives very little attention from homeowners. Typically, homeowners don’t realize that the chimney needs any attention until there is a serious problem like a leak. If you want to care for your chimney and prevent these kinds of problems before they arise, you need to waterproof it. Here is some information about why you should waterproof your chimney and how it is done.

Why Waterproof?

Your chimney is the one constant opening your home has to the outside world and all of the elements Mother Nature can throw at you. Windows and doors can be closed, but your chimney is always open. You can close the flu of course, but the chimney itself will always be battered by wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.

The materials used in building a chimney–usually bricks and mortar–are all porous. This means that these materials will absorb water if they are not properly waterproofed. Water gets into the bricks and mortar of the chimney; when freezing temperatures set in, that water expands, putting a lot of strain on the materials. As this repeats year after year, the bricks and mortar will begin to crack and crumble, and you’ll experience leaks in your chimney. If not handled quickly, that type of damage can ruin your chimney permanently.

How Is It Done?

Waterproofing your chimney actually takes a lot of steps, and all of them should be done by a professional. Your chimney cap is the first line of defense for your chimney, and you should always have a professional-grade cap on your chimney. If your cap is damaged or isn’t of the right quality, water will get in the chimney.

Second is the chimney flashing. This is the material around your chimney that prevents leaks from forming where the chimney connects with the roof. A professional will be able to check for any damaged or worn areas and will seal chimney flashing in Kennesaw to prevent water from seeping in around your chimney.

If your chimney has already sustained some weather damage, a professional can repair and seal the brick and mortar. This will prevent additional water from getting in and causing any further damage.

They will also inspect your chimney crown. This is the material place on top of the brick and mortar of your chimney; only the cap stands above the crown. The crown is usually made of a solid material like poured concrete so that it can withstand more abuse. Still, it needs to receive the proper care. If damaged, it needs to be repaired or replaced, and it should also be sealed with a waterproof coat.

The chimney itself should also be sealed to make it more resistant to moisture absorption. There are several varieties of chimney sealants out there, so ask a professional what they recommend.

If you properly care for your chimney, it will stay in great shape for decades. Make sure to give it the proper attention it deserves; repair damaged materials, make sure the cap and crown are in good shape, and always seal chimney flashing in Kennesaw. Do these things and you won’t have any problems.

03/26/15

The Most Common Culprit behind Leaky Chimneys

Leaking is the most common problem facing home chimneys. More common than grout rot or drafts is the issue of water leaking inside a home through a chimney. Most often, the problem is not with a hole in the chimney grout but with a feature that is known as the flashing. Flashing is a layer of sheet metal that keeps the spaces between the roof and the chimney tightly sealed. It is the joint that connects the roof with the chimney, meant to prevent water from leaking into a home’s interior. So then, if leaking is the problem, the feature meant to protect against leaking is the probable culprit. Here are some facts about flashing and a possible solution to issues with it.

  • Flashing is made of water-resistant sheet metal. Water should not collect on it but should flow off of it and onto your roof tiles, which will then allow water to fall off of your home. It is slick enough that moisture should not collect on your flashing.
  • It is made of two distinct layers. Step flashing is the lower layer, a row of L-shaped joints that are woven into the shingles on your roof and are bound to the chimney itself. The second layer is the protective layer, called the counterflashing. This is secured into the mortar between chimney bricks and covers the step flashing along the lowest edge of the chimney.
  • Leaking problems are likely found on the corners of flashing. If the flashing was not laid properly, there may be a wide gap between the flashing and chimney, due to the fact that metal has been bent into a right angle to fit over the corner and around all four sides of the chimney. These gaps are meant to be filled with caulking, but no amount of caulking can fix poor handiwork. Water can easily seep into the gapped corners of the flashing and into your home. If this is a problem, you will need to find an expert to repair your roof flashing leak in Kennesaw, or in your city.
  • There are various types of metals, all in sheet form that can be used for chimney flashing. Galvanized steel is a strong but affordable material. Aluminum is the least expensive. Copper is often used as flashing because it lasts a very long time and can be soldered onto a chimney for a watertight seal, but it is the most expensive option.
  • It is wise to have a chimney inspected once a year for problems. The flashing is especially vulnerable to problems, so there is a chance that it can be deteriorating, even if you do not currently have a leak problem. The best type of care is preventative after all, so it is best to find gaps and have them professionally repaired before water begins leaking through them. Any other problems, like cracked mortar, can be easily filled with caulk and should not be a huge problem. Even though flashing is meant to protect against interior water damage, it is still a good idea to have a chimney itself sealed with a waterproofing finish. This will prevent water from seeping into the brick and then indoors, though resealing will need to be performed every couple of years, or whenever problems arise.

If you have a leak problem or just want to know if your chimney is ready for the rainy season, be sure to seek out an expert who can repair roof flashing leak in Kennesaw. Your chimney provides warmth and beauty to your home. Be sure that it stays strong and intact, so that it can serve you for many, many years.

03/20/15

4 Benefits of Replacing Your Chimney Liner with Stainless Steel

Chimney liners are a vital component of a safe chimney because they prevent gases and smoke from gaining access to your home. In addition, they help prevent house fires by keeping these hot gases inside the chimney and away from combustible materials in your home. When considering chimney relining, there are 4 key benefits of stainless steel liners you should think about.

Safer

A stainless steel liner is the safest material available because it won’t develop cracks the way clay tile liners do. The liner is completely sealed, protecting your home from harmful creosote, carbon dioxide, and smoke.

Durable

Stainless steel liners last for many years because they are resistant to corrosion. You won’t have to worry about damage to the surrounding masonry of your chimney because the seal on the liner is durable as well.

More Economical

Steel liners are much more affordable than other types of liners because the initial installation is less labor intensive. So not only do you save money on your initial investment, but you will save money down the road because you won’t need to make expensive repairs as you would with a clay liner. In addition, because steel liners are easier to keep clean and maintain, you won’t spend as much money having your chimney cleaned by a chimney sweep.

Efficiency

Steel liners can have additional insulation fitted around the liner, which can increase the efficiency of your home. This insulation makes it easier for the air to exit the chimney completely because it doesn’t cool down and allow creosote to build up. This additional insulation also reduces cold air down drafts when the fireplace or stove is not being used. Stainless steel liners also make it possible for you to have higher efficiency appliances because they often require a stainless steel liner. More efficient appliances combined with an efficient chimney liner can drastically reduce your utility bills. Contact us today for quality stainless steel chimney liner installation in Marietta.

03/04/15