It’s finally springtime which means warmer days, blooming flowers, and… chimney leaks? By the end of winter, there’s no denying that we’re ready for the nice weather April and May can bring, but with it comes more rain, which means certain areas of your home might need some TLC.
And here at Ashbusters, we encourage folks throughout Milwaukee to leave all things chimney to us!
Chimney Leaks & Water Damage
So, how does water damage your chimney? First, let’s go over the freeze/thaw process, which occurs after your unprotected brickwork absorbs water. This is probably one of the biggest issues your brickwork, mortar, and chimney crown faces – especially in these parts where we experience some frigid winters.
The freeze/thaw occurs when the water inside of your brickwork freezes, expands, and causes cracking throughout the system. These cracks create tiny pathways for more water to enter later on (when temps eventually warm up). Then, when things drop below freezing again, the process starts all over, each time weakening your system a little bit more.
Here in the Milwaukee area, it’s not uncommon for temps to rise above and below freezing multiple times a week throughout the fall and winter months (sometimes in early spring, too), so this is definitely an issue you want to do everything possible to prevent.
Other water-related damages that often occur include:
- Rust: Metal components like your chimney cap, your flashing, and your chase cover are much more prone to rust if there’s damage throughout your system – or if they were installed incorrectly to begin with.
- Wood Rot: If your chimney is experiencing water-related issues, it’s likely any wood adjacent to it will be subjected to damage, too.
- Water Stains: Many experiencing chimney-related water damage also notice water stains on the walls and ceilings surrounding the appliance, as well. This is costly to fix, and it’s not great for aesthetics, either.
- Mold Growth: A dark, damp chimney lends an ideal spot for mold and mildew to grow and spread. This damages your property, and it can affect your indoor air quality, too.
- Chimney Liner Decay: Your liner protects your home, safeguards your masonry, and it keeps things running as efficiently as possible. If water breaks it down, you’ll eventually be prone to fire hazards and gas leaks.
- Firebox Deterioration: The firebox is built to withstand a lot, but only if it’s well-maintained. As the spot that hosts your fires, this is one area you want in the best shape possible!
- Discoloration: Spotting stains on the exterior of your system? Whether they’re red rust stains, green and vegetation-related, or black and brown soot spots, any type of discoloration should set off your alarm bells. Some even notice white efflorescence stains, so be on the lookout for these, as well!
Finally, be alert to poor airflow (which indicates clogging has occurred) and bad odors, both of which can be a sign of water damage.
What to Expect From Our Crew
So, when you call us in to fix your leaky chimney, the first thing we’ll have to do is find out just what’s causing it. We’ll check the obvious spots first, like your flashing, the chimney cap, the crown/chase cover, and the chimney masonry or chase. If water is coming in, chances are one of these spots is the culprit.
Then, once we find the issue, we’ll resolve it accordingly. The usually means doing one or more of the following:
- Repairing or installing new flashing. Your flashing is what protects that spot where your roofing materials meet your chimney materials. Since these two areas expand and contract at different rates, this is an easy spot for water to enter, and therefore needs to be properly sealed.
- Installing a new chimney cap or chase cover. Both chimney caps and chase covers are prone to rust or become damaged, especially if they weren’t built from the most reliable materials to begin with. We can install something that will last and is appropriately fitted to the size of your flue.
- Repairing or rebuilding your chimney crown. If spalling and water damage has affected the functionality of your chimney crown, it’s best that we get in there to look things over. We’ll either fix your current set-up or, if things are too bad, build a new crown from a proper Portland cement-based mixture.
- Performing tuckpointing and brick repair services. Tuckpointing is the process of removing old mortar joints and replacing it with new mortar that matches in both color and composition. Tuckpointing and brick repairs should always be completed by an expert or your system could weaken significantly.
And once any necessary repairs are completed and/or replacement parts are installed, we can perform waterproofing services. Waterproofing provides a reliable seal for your brickwork that will stop moisture from penetrating, while still allowing it the chance to breathe and retain its vapor permeability.
And in terms of quality service and reliable care, we won’t let you down there, either. We have decades of experience in the chimney, venting, and fireplace industry, we’re certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and we have loads of 5-star reviews that speak to our professionalism. We truly strive to put the customer first in every service we offer!
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Ready to get started? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to our experts right away!