Your chimney is more complicated than you might think. There are many elements that must work together seamlessly, and when there is a problem, you’ll know. Protect your home by maintaining common weak spots like your chimney. Watch out for water damage. Water can infiltrate your chimney system through its flashing, cracks in the mortar or siding, straight from the top, or from the chimney crown. If you notice water in your fireplace after a storm, call a professional repair team. Chimney leaks can worsen over time without proper repair.
Signs of Water in Your Chimney
The first step in fixing a leaky chimney is ascertaining the problem. Some leaks are obvious and leave major signs such as puddles in your fireplace after a heavy rain. Others are less noticeable but still damaging. Visually inspect the bricks of your fireplace and chimney.
First, look for chimney spalling. This is when the surface of the brick flakes away, is cracked, broken, or just plain missing.You may see pieces of the brick or stone on the ground or on your roof. This occurs when the chimney sustains water or moisture damage. Too much moisture penetrating the mortar can result in spalling.
Another sign of water damage to your chimney is efflorescence. Efflorescence is easy to spot because it results in white residue on your chimney’s bricks. These are salt deposits caused by the migration of salt to the surface your bricks. Efflorescence can occur due to rain, but it can also come from condensation forming within your chimney.
Why Do Fireplaces Leak?
If you notice pools of water or signs of water in your chimney, there are a few things that could be going wrong. The key to fixing the leak is to understand why it’s happening. The easiest way to detect and repair a leaking chimney is to call in a professional repair company. Able Roof offers free chimney inspections in Columbus to help you get started with chimney repairs. Otherwise, look for signs of these five common reasons for water in your chimney:
- Cracked or torn fireplace flashing. The flashing is the material that surrounds the part of your chimney that meets with the rooftop. Flashing is typically aluminum, sealed with tar, which bends over the sides of your chimney and shingles. Flashing keeps water from entering the cracks between your chimney and roof. If you see cracks or tears in your flashing, this could be allowing water to enter during rainstorms.
- Deteriorating mortar. The mortar that holds the brick, stone, or stucco of your chimney together plays an important role in waterproofing the system. If your mortar is cracked, missing pieces, worn away, or otherwise damaged, it could be allowing water inside. Cracks in the mortar can occur naturally over time. Repairing mortar right away can prevent worse water damage from occurring.
- Lack of chimney cap. The chimney cap is an accessory, not a necessity. However, buying a chimney cap that fits your chimney can prevent rain from falling straight down the chimney stack and into your fireplace. A chimney cover can prevent water leaks and other things – such as falling leaves or birds – from clogging your chimney.
- Cracked chimney crown. The crown of your chimney is the surface at its very top, typically made of cement. If you see cracks in your chimney crown, this could be the source of water in your fireplace. Cracks can allow water to seep through the flue lining and enter the chimney, causing potential damage to your walls and ceiling. If caught soon enough, a professional can seal cracks instead of having to replace the crown entirely.
- Issues with wood siding. Your home’s siding could affect the performance of your chimney and fireplace. If you have wood siding that’s warped, missing, or peeling away from your home, this can allow water to get behind the siding and leak into your chimney. Replacing or repairing your siding can prevent these types of water leaks.
The best course of action if you notice a water leak or water damage around your chimney is to call a professional for an inspection. The team at Able Roof can come to your home and determine the source of the problem at no charge. Once we’ve identified the issue, we can give you a free price estimate for repairs. We can quickly and easily solve problems relating to your chimney, siding, gutters, roof, or windows in Columbus.
Potential Damage from a Leaking Chimney
Water in your fireplace isn’t just a nuisance – it’s a sign that something is wrong with your system. The longer you wait to fix a water-related issue with your chimney, the greater the chances of serious damage to your home. Water leaks in the fireplace can result in costly problems such as mold growth, wood rot, metal damage, mortar loss, rusted accessories, water stains, structural damage, tilted/collapsed chimney, and more. The key to keeping leak repairs simple and affordable is catching problems as early as possible.
When to Call a Chimney and Masonry Team
As soon as you suspect water-related problems within your chimney, call Able Roof. Water problems are not something to put off until later. The longer you wait, the more likely you will end up with more serious (and expensive) moisture damage. Often, if you see water in your fireplace, the issue has already gotten worse than the original problem. Schedule routine chimney inspections to catch issues before they arise.
Regular maintenance such as sealing small cracks and repairing mortar can prevent major water leaks from occurring. Professional inspections can catch moisture leaks in your chimney you haven’t noticed yet, and repair problems without a major renovation. If you ignore water issues, you risk expensive water penetration and damage to the chimney and other major elements of your home. When in doubt, contact Able Roof for a complimentary chimney inspection.
Able Roof offers chimney repair, crack repair, chimney cleaning, and fireplace waterproofing. Our licensed masons can complete virtually any repair or replacement involving brick, stone, blocks, or stucco. From routine maintenance to total overhauls, our company can handle it all. Put your chimney in our hands, and experience the difference a professional repair company can make in Columbus. Call (614) 444-2253 for a free inspection.