One of the most detrimental things that can happen to your chimney is a leak. However, water damage does not stop with merely a drip in the chimney or a trickle along a wall. By the time the average homeowner sees these types of signs, there is already extensive damage that is unseen to the untrained eye. The very best way to prevent this type of damage from occurring is to keep up with regular chimney maintenance: chimney sweeps, and inspections. It’s during these appointments that an expert chimney sweep will find damaged or missing parts and can repair them.
Common Chimney Issues
If you notice water damage to your chimney system you should schedule an appointment with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS). It’s likely that the first thing your chimney sweep will check is the flashing. This is because it’s often installed incorrectly.
What is Flashing
Flashing is made up of multiple sheets of very thin metal, either stainless steel, aluminum, or copper. These sheets are meticulously placed at the intersection of your chimney and roof to reinforce and water proof this vulnerable part of the roof.
Common Problems with Flashing
The material used and the placement of the material is specific to each roof and chimney. In addition, the type of roofing material, slant of the roof, and common weather for the area should determine how your chimney sweep installs your flashing. Many homeowners make the mistake of hiring an amateur, or an unqualified general contractor or roofer to install flashing in order to save money. This is not recommended. When installed incorrectly, the flashing will have a shorter life, and cause problems sooner.
Other common issues with the flashing:
- It’s missing. This is not acceptable. There is no substitution for flashing.
- It’s damaged duet to weather-wear, poor materials, or animal tampering.
- Caulk is loose. This can cause water penetration and cause the metal sheets to slide away completely.
Call the Professionals
When the chimney flashing is damaged or missing it should be treated with the utmost importance. If the flashing is damaged, you should assume that water is penetrating your home, and most likely your masonry. Water causes extensive damage to the entire chimney system, and should be avoided and prevented whenever possible.
Winter weather in Massachusetts and Maine means there is ample opportunity for water to enter your chimney if the flashing is damaged. Avoid the hassle and damage by letting Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep repair your chimney flashing now. With more than 30 years of experience, you don’t have to wonder if the job is done right. Chimney flashing is custom work and our certified chimney sweeps are trained and experienced in installing, repairing, and replacing flashing.
You can find out more about how chimney flashing repair can benefit your New England home by calling Billy Sweet at 617-469-4528. You can also request an appointment online for your convenience.
Spring isn’t just an ideal time for spring cleaning. It’s also a great time to complete your chimney checklist to ensure the safety and efficiency of your chimney system. As the saying goes April showers bring May flowers, and if your spring showers have caused you some chimney worries, you might have a leak, and a leak is a big deal.
It is important to call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) as soon as you suspect a chimney leak. By the time a homeowner notices signs of a chimney leak, it’s likely that it’s caused substantial unseen damage.
Some Signs of a Chimney Leak
1. Water stained walls and ceiling
2. Clogged clean-out area
3. Rusted parts
4. Dripping in fireplace
5. Fowl smelling chimney and fireplace
6. Stained Chimney
By the time these problems are noticed by the homeowner, the damage has been done. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) water can cause much more extensive damage that can be detected by a professional during a cleaning or inspection.
Why Hire a Professional
A general contractor or roofer is not the right professional to make this diagnosis. Calling a certified chimney sweep insures homeowners that the job will be thorough, and damage will be detected and repaired in a timely and professional manner. When water penetrates your masonry chimney it causes damage such as: deteriorated firebox, decayed mortar, cracked or damaged flue lining, collapsed hearth support, tilting or collapsed chimney structure, and chimney settlement.
Not only will a professional chimney sweep inspect and diagnose your chimney problems, but should offer the homeowner a detailed report and repair plan.
At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, serving Boston, North Shore, and Portland area, we don’t only repair the damage, but trace the leak back to the source, and offer waterproofing services.
Waterproofing Your Chimney
Another reason to hire a professional chimney sweep is because prevention is cheaper than making repairs! At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps we apply a waterproof product on masonry chimneys that is created specially for chimneys to keep water out, but allows vapors to escape. We even offer FREE Waterproofing on exterior masonry repair.
Other Chimney Leak Prevention
While discussing your leaky chimney with a professional, don’t forget to mention these other preventative measures:
- chimney cap repair or replacement
- damper repair or replacement
- chimney crown inspection and repair
While planning your spring cleaning, do not neglect your chimney. Your annual chimney inspection is a great time to discuss waterproofing and leak prevention with a certified chimney sweep. A Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is waiting for your call today.
The bad news is that your roof may leak from time to time, especially after heavy rain or snowfall. The good news is that often the repair is as simple as replacing the flashing, rather than replacing the entire roof. Chimney flashing is not a shingle, but rather a detail that is installed in order to seal the joints that connect the roof to the chimney. These joints are not water tight, so thorough, professionally installed chimney flashing will help keep water away from your chimney. The result is not only a dry chimney, but also a dry and protected home interior.
Types Of Chimney Flashing
There are a few different types of chimney flashing. Aluminum is common and inexpensive, however it is susceptible to corrosion, so it may need to be replaced every so often. Vinyl is another popular choice because it is still affordable but not as durable as other materials. Vinyl can become brittle and crack under harsh weather conditions and like aluminum will probably need to be replaced. On the other hand, steel is more expensive and takes longer to install, but is one of the more durable choices because it will not corrode. Similarly, copper flashing is the most widely recommended material for flashing because it will not corrode or crack but is lightweight like vinyl. Keep in mind, copper is the more expensive option, but after initial installation copper will not need to be replaced and will likely last as long as your roof.
Without Flashing You Can Damage Your Chimney
As a homeowner, if you are wondering whether or not flashing is important, let us save you some time. Flashing is very important! Without proper protection from external elements, your chimney could be vulnerable to water damage. Chimneys are made from brick and concrete, and if exposed to rain and snowfall over time, these materials can chip, crack and crumble. The result is almost always expensive chimney repairs that could have been avoided. If you do not install proper flashing you could be damaging your roof, and leaving your ceilings and wall treatments susceptible to leaks. Flashing is a simple and necessary installation that can save you a lot of homeowner headaches.
It is important to install flashing, but it is equally important to have your chimney inspected to make sure your chimney flashing is doing its job. Depending on the materials used in initial installation, the flashing material could have been damaged, or the joints could have loosened, which is why it is so important to have your chimney regularly inspected by a professional inspection company.
Always Have A Professional Install Your Chimney Flashing
Installing flashing is a task that is best left to the professionals. The experts at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep in Boston have years of experience inspecting chimneys and making sure flashing is installed properly. If you attempt to install your own flashing you run the risk of installing it incorrectly as well as injuring yourself in the process. Trust the experts to help you maintain your home and recommend the chimney flashing products that are right for your chimney and right for your home maintenance budget.