With over 40 years of experience in the chimney business, Madewell Masonry & Chimney has seen our fair share of chimney leaks and the damage they can cause. Because of this, we always aim to emphasize the importance of noting the signs of chimney leaks, so that you can catch them early and prevent further damage to your home.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times – water is your chimney’s biggest enemy. It doesn’t take much for a small leak to turn into a bigger and more costly problem. It can lead to damage, not just within your chimney, but also within your home. So, what can you keep an eye out for to keep leaky chimney issues at bay?
Common Signs of Chimney Leaks
Being aware of the signs of chimney leaks can empower you to address any water damage issues before they become severe. Here are some of the most common signs that your chimney is leaking.
If there is water leaking near your chimney it is likely that you will notice:
- rotting wood around your chimney
- water stains on the ceiling and walls around your chimney or in your attic
- rust or corrosion on your fireplace doors, damper, or chimney cap
- actual water dripping from the chimney into your firebox
- musty smells coming from your fireplace or chimney
- mold and mildew growth
- stains on the exterior of your chimney
- deterioration in the masonry
- settling of your chimney
- parts of your chimney crumbling or collapsing
- cracks forming in your chimney’s bricks and mortar
- cracks in your chimney crown
All of these things can lead to costly repairs if not addressed quickly. The professionals here at Madewell Masonry & Chimney are equipped and trained to identify the source of your chimney leaks and provide you with recommendations for how to best address them.
How Can Water Damage My Masonry?
Bricks and mortar are absorbent materials, meaning they will soak up any moisture that comes into contact with them. This can cause them to crack, crumble, and deteriorate over time. And when your chimney cracks – even the littlest bit – it becomes susceptible to something called spalling from the freeze/thaw process. This process is one of the most damaging things for masonry to experience.
The freeze/thaw process occurs when water gets into the pores of the masonry and then freezes when temperatures drop. As the water freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the bricks and mortar, causing them to further crack and crumble. And eventually the process starts over as more water is collected, freezes, and triggers more cracking and crumbling.
The cycle that the freeze/thaw process creates can obviously lead to serious damage to your chimney and even cause it to collapse, damaging your home, endangering you and your family, and leading to costly repairs.
How Can I Prevent Chimney Leaks?
One of the best ways to keep your chimney strong and avoid starting the freeze/thaw process is to have your chimney waterproofed. The process of waterproofing includes covering vulnerable areas with reliable, industry-grade products that repel water and send it away from your home. This process is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to keep your chimney and home healthy and free from leaks.
Can I waterproof my chimney myself?
While there are many products on the market that claim to waterproof your chimney, it is always best to trust a professional for the job. Here are some reasons why:
- Vapor Permeability: Many store-bought products are not vapor permeable, meaning that they can trap moisture inside the chimney. This can lead to more significant issues down the line by masking the problem and keeping it from being noticed early. Our chimney technicians at MadeWell Masonry & Chimney will use materials that are designed to allow any pre-absorbed moisture to vent out of the chimney.
- Attention to Detail: Like any other trade, experience matters. While videos and tutorials advertise the possibility of DIY waterproofing, the truth is, someone who has made a career of it will see things that an untrained eye won’t pick up on. Our sweeps have the training and experience necessary to make sure nothing is missed and your chimney is safe from the harm of leaks.
- Addressing Pre-Existing Issues: Our experienced pros at MadeWell Masonry are able to identify any pre-existing issues that need to be addressed before waterproofing can take place. This can include fixing cracks, replacing damaged masonry, addressing any issues with the chimney cap or flashing, and really anything that could keep the waterproofing job from being as effectively as possible.
- Longevity: When done correctly, waterproofing should protect your chimney for about a decade. Our professionals use materials that are designed to last, ensuring that your chimney is protected from water damage for as long as possible.
We’re Here to Help – Call Today
Chimney leaks and water damage can be a huge issue in your home. Leaks can lead to structural damage, hazardous conditions, and decreased home value. Having your chimney annually inspected by a Madewell Masonry professional to make sure it’s providing you with the best fireplace experience as possible – while also giving you the peace of mind experience possible – is a must for any homeowner here in the Memphis area.
Make sure you get it right from the get-go. Call MadeWell Masonry & Chimney today at 901-443-1036 or reach out online to schedule your chimney inspection or waterproofing service. Our work is made well and made to last.