Water damage causes more problems in a masonry chimney than fire. Sound odd? Think about it. All the materials used to make up your home have protection from the roof and eave. All except your chimney. There, on top of your roof stands a brave chimney. So brave it stands constantly exposed to rain, snow, freeze and thaw. Month after month it is tortured by mother nature.
Materials such as brick, mortar, tile, steel and cast iron make up the construction of the masonry chimney. All of these materials can suffer accelerated deterioration as a result of prolonged exposure to water.
When exposed to the freeze and thaw process, masonry materials deteriorate quickly due to the moisture that has penetrated into them. This freeze and thaw process, which expands and contracts the materials, puts stress on your masonry chimney also causing damage. Water will also rust steel and cast iron in the chimney and will weaken and eventually destroy the metal parts.
How to prevent water damage
The first and easiest step in preventing water damage to your chimney is to install a chimney cap. Chimney caps or rain caps are one of the most inexpensive prevention measures. Masonry chimneys have one or more flues that will allow rain to enter the inside of your chimney. By using a chimney cap, water is prevented from running into the flue and causing damage. A cap with a screen will also keep birds and animals from nesting inside the chimney. Chimney caps also work as a spark arrestor. The screens will prevent sparks from landing on the roof or other nearby combustible material.
Replace or repair a damaged chimney crown.
Repair or replace flashing.
Waterproof your chimney.
Waterproofing products have been developed which allow your chimney to breathe out, but not in. Therefore, water that has penetrated the chimney, or moisture that originated inside the chimney is able to escape while the waterproofing material prevents water from entering from the outside walls.
Water Damage Preventer
Water damage is usually a slow, subtle process. Problems are usually not noticeable until it has become quite serious.
Initially, water prevention measures may cost a few dollars, but will save you a major expense in chimney replacement in the future. It will be a wise investment in your home.
I have tried everything and I still have a leak??
If you have found that water damage has already begun deterioration of your chimney flue, and the above suggestions are not the answer, consider relining your chimney with a flexible stainless steel chimney liner. A stainless steel liner will stop further deterioration of your chimney flue while helping your heating appliance run more efficiently.