Why Water Wrecks Chimneys

By Doug Hetsch

July 20, 2014

Chimney Maintenance

The chimney can be one of the most neglected parts of a home. We often worry so much about aesthetic things such as how our lawns look and how our furniture is situated that we neglect that one thing that protrudes on the top of our roof. Despite the fact that the chimney plays a huge role in our homes, it is often overlooked. The chimney is always exposed to seasonal changes – the heat of the sun, rain, the freezing and thawing process during the winter – but it is affected most by water that seeps in and causes all sorts of problems.

Water causes spalling

Bricks are porous and they absorb water. Because of this, spalling can take place. When the water absorbed by the bricks freezes, it expands like an ice cube. When this occurs the bricks will eventually break inside-out. As the freezing-melting cycle gradually goes on, the bricks can crumble inside.

So how do you prevent spalling? Water repellant is the solution but you have to be careful with what you use. Knowing the right kind can make or break your chimney’s lifespan. There’s a significant difference between masonry resealant and water repellant. Just putting coats of sealers will tremendously accelerate deterioration because it can causeclogging on the masonrywhich traps more water.

Water damages your chimney crown

The top most element of your chimney is called the chimney crown. Its primary use is to cover and to seal the top most part of your chimney from the flue liner to the chimney edge. The most regular material a chimney crown is constructed by is a common mortar mix that was designed to supposedly withstand the abusive rigorous changes of the weather preventing it from chipping, cracking or deteriorating. This is not always the case however. A proper chimney crown has to be constructed using a Portland cement-based mixture so that it can provide an overhanging projecting beyond all sides of your chimney. Having adefective chimney crowncan severely damage your chimney as it is more susceptible to deterioration.

Water breeds molds

Mold is often seen on unused chimneys and in most parts of the country fireplaces are unused for at least 6 months. During this time, chimneys will have to stand through the changing weather. If your chimneys are damp mold can grow on the walls and can potentially spread to the entire house. This can become a serious biological hazard. The first sign of mold is a musty odor. When someone is exposed to mold it can cause coughing, sneezing, sore throat and other respiratory symptoms, much like the common flu. Since it can be difficult for someone to inspect for mold (especially in areas like the inside the chimney) and since it’s also difficult to adequately clean the entire fireplace, we recommend leaving themold inspectionsto highly trained and certified professionals like our experts at All American Chimney Service, LLC.

For more inquiries regarding how to waterproof your chimney give us a call or you may set up an appointment online.

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