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Leaky Chimneys

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Masonry chimneys are an integral part of many homes, providing ventilation for fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas fireplaces and pellet stoves . However, over time, these chimneys can develop leaks, leading to various problems. So what are the causes of leaky chimneys?

Causes of Leaky Masonry Chimneys:

  1. Cracked Masonry: Exposure to extreme weather conditions, such as freezing and thawing cycles, can cause masonry materials to crack, allowing water to penetrate the chimney structure.

  2. Damaged Flashing: Flashing, which seals the joint between the chimney and the roof, can deteriorate over time due to aging, improper installation, or shifting of the chimney. This can create gaps for water to seep into the chimney.

  3. Deteriorated Crown Wash/Cement cap: Chimney crown wash/cement caps are designed to prevent water from entering the masonry chimney. If the crown wash/cement cap is damaged, rainwater can freely flow down the masonry chimney.

  4. Absorbent Masonry Materials: Some masonry materials, such as porous bricks or stones, have a higher tendency to absorb water. Over time, this can lead to moisture penetration and leakage.

Consequences of Leaky Masonry Chimneys:

  1. Water Damage: Moisture seeping into the chimney can damage the interior walls, flue liner, and fireplace components. It can lead to stains, mold growth, and deterioration of the masonry.

  2. Structural Issues: Prolonged exposure to water can weaken the masonry, leading to cracks, crumbling mortar joints, and even structural instability.

  3. Increased Energy Costs: Leaky chimneys allow cold drafts to enter the house and warm air to escape, reducing energy efficiency and increasing heating costs.

Solutions for Leaky Masonry Chimneys:

  1. Chimney Inspection and Maintenance: Regular inspections by Genesis Chimney Services can help identify and address potential issues before they become major problems. This includes checking for cracks, damaged flashing, and damaged crown wash/cement cap and missing chimney caps.

  2. Repointing and Sealing: Genesis Chimney Services can repair cracked mortar joints and damaged areas can be sealed using approved waterproofing materials to prevent water infiltration.

  3. Flashing Repair or Replacement: Genesis Chimney Services can repair or replace the flashing to ensure a proper seal between the chimney and roof.

  4. Crown wash/cement cap repair: Genesis Chimney Services can repair or reconstruct your masonry crown wash/cement cap to prevent rainwater from entering the masonry chimney,

  5. Professional Waterproofing: Genesis Chimney Services can apply an approved waterproof sealant to the exterior masonry to provide an additional layer of protection against moisture.

Leaky masonry chimneys can cause significant damage to a home if left unaddressed. Regular inspection, maintenance, and timely repairs can help prevent leaks and extend the lifespan of the chimney. By understanding the causes, consequences, and implementing the appropriate solutions, homeowners can ensure the integrity and functionality of their masonry chimneys for years to come.

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