You watch the rain outside and suddenly realize that your room smells like an old, wet campfire. You notice wallpaper peeling on the wall by the chimney. Odd leaks appear in your ceiling, and rust is forming on the metal damper. What is happening? These are some symptoms of a leaky chimney. It is time to call a chimney service company like our company, All Pro Chimney Service.  But why is it leaking?

leaking chimney crown  leaking chimney flashing

Where Is The Leak?

Water will seep into any opening and move downward. It can even travel along a rafter to drip through a ceiling far removed from the original leak. It is not always easy to figure out where it is leaking because of this. Examining your roof and chimney can provide evidence of water damage, and that is the first place a chimney repair technician will look.

  • Missing bricks or crumbling mortar let water in.
  • Curling or missing shingles, particularly by the chimney, show damage.
  • Rusty, inadequate flashing around the chimney base cannot do its job, and leaks often form there.
  • Cracked chimney crowns will not always look bad but let water past to do damage underneath.
  • Missing chimney caps are a hole in your roof. Water gets down the chimney and damages it inside, where special equipment is needed to find it.

damaged leaking chimney mortar         virtual chimney assessment

Common Places Where Water Gets In

Anything that is exposed to weather wears down over time.  As a result, even well-built chimneys need periodic maintenance.  All chimneys should be inspected at least once a year.  You can learn more about chimney inspections by reading our previous article on the subject.  During a chimney inspection, evidence of weathering reveals where the problems start.

  • Chimney caps keep animals out of your house and prevent the rain and snow from going down the flue. A missing cap, or one that is improperly installed, is like having a hole in your roof. The lining of your chimney eventually starts to deteriorate. The solution is repairing or replacing the cap.
  • Chimney crowns are supposed to cover and seal the top of the chimney from the edge of the liner to the edge of the chimney and guide water away to run down the roof. A poorly made crown or one that has been damaged will not be able to do its job. Sometimes the crown just needs to be repaired and sealed. In other cases, the crown may have to be rebuilt.
  • Masonry like bricks and mortar are porous. If not sealed, water soaks in, and the freeze/thaw cycle causes small cracks to form. Eventually, spalding can occur, flaking off parts of the brick. Mortar will start to fall apart, even in a stone chimney. Maintaining the seal will keep this process from getting worse. If too much damage has occurred, repointing or replacing the brick is necessary. It is important to use a sealant designed for this purpose.
  • Flashing is the flexible collar connecting the chimney to the roof. If this is not functional, water gets under your roof and into the house. Sometimes the flashing just needs to be adjusted, other times, it needs to be replaced.
  • Crickets function like fences diverting water away from a valley in the roof at the base of the chimney. This keeps water from sitting in that valley and causing problems. A cricket might need repair, or one may need to be installed so that the water sheds away from the stack.

repaired chimney flashing

The Answer To The Question

In order to find out why your chimney is leaking, you need to look at that specific chimney and its surroundings carefully. You may be able to identify the source of the leak.  However, you should always contact a professional chimney service company to repair your chimney.  Chimneys are too important to repair on your own.

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