Chimneys take a lot of abuse. They’re built from brick or stone to be durable and solid because they have to be. Your chimney is constantly exposed to the elements year-round, enduring extremes of heat and cold, the deteriorating effects of UV rays from the sun, and high winds. But arguably the most damaging element to your chimney is water. Water is insidious and persistent, it seeks out the cracks and fissures in the masonry and over time can cause serious damage to the structure of your chimney and to your home. The damage it causes can also create a serious fire hazard, and of course it can lead to costly repairs. One of the most important things you can do to extend the life and service of your fireplace is waterproofing your chimney.
How Water Causes Damage To Your Chimney
The stone, brick, or concrete blocks and mortar that chimneys are commonly constructed from may seem solid and impenetrable, but in fact these materials are porous and they can soak up moisture. Over the years this moisture will begin to break down and deteriorate the materials in your chimney. In addition, in areas that experience cold winters, this water freezes and contracts then expands as it thaws, creating extreme pressures that cause cracks and collapse, allowing even more water to enter your home. Eventually, this can lead to weakened structural integrity, a cracked flue liner, and damage to your home, furnishings, and belongings from water leaks, including potentially dangerous mold infestation. It’s almost a certainty that if water penetration of your chimney isn’t stopped you’ll eventually have to do expensive repairs on your home.
Waterproofing Your Chimney
The very first thing you need to do is hire a professional chimney and fireplace repair service to do a thorough inspection of your chimney. This should be done at least once annually to check for creosote buildup in your chimney which can be a serious fire hazard. They’ll also be on the lookout for any existing damage and for places where water is already entering your system. Once this damage is repaired and all necessary maintenance performed, you’re ready to waterproof your chimney.
Be advised this is not a job you should attempt to do yourself. To be done correctly and according to CSIA standards and regulations, it requires the use of a special commercial sealant product. This material is formulated to waterproof and protect the outside surface of your chimney while also allowing your chimney to ‘breath’, letting the harmful gases and toxic chemicals that are produced from burning wood to escape to the outside. A professional chimney technician will be properly trained in the safe and effective application of this product to ensure an adequately waterproofed chimney. A well-applied coating of sealant will protect your chimney for many years.
To make your chimney and fireplace completely waterproof you should consider having your chimney service install a chimney cap if you don’t already have one. A cap will keep snow and rain from entering your home through the vent opening, as well as leaves, trash, and animals.
Waterproofing your chimney is smart preventive maintenance. Contact us about your professional chimney services to learn more.