Waterproofing to Prevent Chimney Leaks: What to Know

May 12, 2020

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Chimney on a Gloomy Day

There’s no mystery about it. Your chimney takes a beating from rain, wind, and even heat from the sun. It’s exposed to the elements day in and day out. By far, the most significant negative impact comes from water! Over time, this mighty force of nature can cause a substantial amount of damage to a chimney. It’s the reason for today’s post. The longevity of your chimney depends upon its ability to repel water. Water damage is a big issue for homeowners who need chimney repair in Marietta, GA. Explore how waterproofing your chimney can prevent damage caused by leaks.

Myths about Masonry and Water

One of the most problematic myths about brick is that it’s indestructible. The truth is none of these brick isn’t as strong or solid as you might think. Masonry is extremely porous. It readily soaks up water like a giant sponge. Brick also expands and contracts when the temperature changes, which can cause movement in your chimney. That said, you can strengthen a chimney by waterproofing it.

Signs Your Chimney Is at Risk

If you haven’t already waterproofed, your chimney is susceptible to water damage. Even the untrained eye can see some of the signs of a chimney at risk. If you notice damp areas inside or around your chimney, you risk mold development. Water at the base of the chimney can lead to a weakening of the foundation. Imagine the leaning chimney of Pisa. Efflorescence, the white powdery stain on the outside of a chimney, puts the entire structure at risk. Even a rusty damper in your fireplace can indicate excessive moisture inside the chimney. Finally, if you notice unpleasant odors coming from the fireplace, it’s time to look further into the possibility of your chimney leaking.

Water Damage Prevention Starts at the Crown

If you’ve ever questioned the role your chimney crown plays in protecting the chimney from water damage, think of it as an umbrella. Your umbrella protects your hair and clothes from water seeping in on a rainy day. The chimney crown also prevents water from seeping into bricks and mortar. Since mortar or concrete usually makes up the crown, like the rest of your chimney, it’s porous. Now, keep in mind, the mason who built your chimney crown could have made it watertight. Don’t take that for granted! A specialist who does chimney inspections will take extra care when they inspect the crown. If needed, they will apply a waterproofing product explicitly designed for chimney crowns.

Chimney Flashing and Waterproofing

One area of a chimney creates the most significant number of problems when it comes to water damage. While it’s waterproof, if it’s defective, the flashing can let water through, resulting in damage to the roof sheathing and the structure of your home. Your chimney sweep can apply a sealant over the flashing and onto the chimney. Doing this creates a waterproof membrane, similar to a rain boot that fits around the base of the chimney.

Let Your Chimney Breathe

One mistake sometimes made when a homeowner decides to take of chimney waterproofing on their own is applying a sealer to the entire chimney. While sealer works well for waterproofing flashing, it doesn’t allow the masonry to breathe. Using sealer traps moisture in the brick and mortar joints. It’s a problem when the temperature rises and falls, especially during the colder months when moisture freezes and thaws. Waterproofing done by a professional qualified to take care of chimney cleaning in Atlanta ensures a job done correctly. Atlanta Chimney Doctor uses the best waterproofing products and techniques designed to maximize the life of your chimney. Contact us at 770-429-8320 to request service.

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