Company Blog

So What’s the Big Deal with Water Getting on (or in) My Chimney?

South Carolina weather brings hurricane leftovers, seasonal rains, and high humidity.  So… if you’ve got a masonry chimney, it’s going to be especially susceptible to water, since brick and mortar are porous materials.  You can avoid costly repairs by choosing preventive solutions.   Whether you need troubleshooting, repair for known leaks, or preventive care, Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps can look for, stop and repair leaking chimneys.

Water from our humid air will likely always make its way into your chimney to some degree. There are, however, ways to minimize absorption and interrupt the damage cycles.  Some of the long-term problems caused by water entry into your chimney are:

  • Eroded mortar joints; broken bond
  • Spalling  bricks (the face of the brick pops off)
  • Rusted damper assemblies and other metal parts
  • Rotted rafters
  • Stained and ruined walls, ceilings and wall coverings

With a potential problem list like this, keeping water out of your chimney might just become a higher priority.  We’ve got a few first-line defense options to protect your chimney from water damage:

  • Replacing or installing a full coverage chimney cap
    • A chimney cap, with a large overhanging lid and animal guard, keeps driving rain out, and also keeps out animals, birds, and debris such as leaves and twigs.
  • Repairing deteriorated flashing
    • Flashing is the seal between the roofing and chimney that keeps water from entering the house structure and needs to be replaced or repaired over time.
  • Sealing the crown wash
    • Modern crown washes are usually made of the same mortar that is used to lay the chimney brick. This mortar is extremely porous and usually cracks as it dries from the point of construction.  The sealant we recommend fills those holes and creates a barrier to water entry.
  • Applying water repellant to the vertical sides of the chimney exterior
    • We use a vapor permeable product applied to the outside surface of the chimney that is both protective and preventive. It will allow condensation that normally comes from inside the home to escape while keeping water from outside from entering the chimney.
  • Annual chimney inspection to discover water entry areas before they become a problem.

Signs of a leaky chimney:

  • Moldy, ashy odor
  • Dark blackish staining around the top of the chimney
  • Moss growing on the exterior of the chimney
  • Darker color at the top after a rain
  • Cracking chimney bricks
  • Wet spots on interior ceilings

Whether you’re playing catch-up or are ahead of the game, Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps is here to help.  We’re able to perform repairs, and/or provide preventive treatment that will save money down the road.  Give us a call today to schedule an inspection and discuss your waterproofing options.

Water, Water Everywhere!

Your chimney has NEVER leaked before! Why now? Well we’ve gotten more rain around here than we’ve had in 200 years, and the sad fact is – a chimney is just a big sponge. Like a sponge — when it gets saturated, the water will run out anywhere and anyhow it can. When that much water is getting into a chimney, if it is not dealt with, over time the chimney structure can becomeWater, Water Everywhere - Spartanburg SC - Bless Your Hearth compromised – not to mention all the places water can leak out to in the meantime.

If you’d like to know more about water’s effects on masonry chimneys, please feel free to check out CSIA.ORG.

Sometimes it is obvious where the water entry is, sometimes not so much. Water leaks are often difficult to diagnose as to the exact cause. Usually there is more than one problem. A visual inspection can reveal likely possibilities and probable remedies. Sometimes where the water is being seen can indicate one or more of the four most common sources as being the most likely point of entry. In other cases, it is a trial and error process to pinpoint the source.

Most Common Points of Entry

  • Open or inadequately covered flues
  • Improper or deteriorated crown wash
  • Absorption through brick due to
    • Porous brick and/or mortar
    • Faulty or deteriorated mortar joints
  • Flashing that is faulty or deteriorated
  • Absence of cricket

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth offers products and methods to address these problems.

  • A full coverage chimney cap, preferably with a lid that overhangs the sides of the chimney, can prevent rain from entering the flue and provide added protection for crown.**
  • An elastomeric coating can seal the crown wash or a cast and poured crown with a drip edge can be created. Either option helps prevent water from freely soaking in from the top.
  • A breathable water repellant and/or crack sealer designed for chimneys applied to the brick and mortar can prevent water from soaking in from the sides.
  • Deteriorated mortar joints can be tuck-pointed.
  • Complete rebuild may be necessary if chimney is too deteriorated to repair.
  • Metal flashing can be repaired or replaced; or a flexible, surface bonded flashing can be applied to correct improper or deteriorated flashing.
  • A cricket can be added to the roof at the base of a chimney where indicated.

How do you know if it’s the chimney or the roof?

Wrap the chimney with plastic and wait for rain. (Not a long wait these days.) If it does not leak while it is wrapped, that is a good indication that the leak is indeed the chimney itself and not coming from some other source. If the leak is still there, it may be that the leak that appears to be the chimney is actually a leak in the roof, uphill from the chimney and water is running down to the chimney.

**More information from Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth about chimney caps can be seen here:
Chimney Caps & Animal Guards