Our Company Blog

Leaks and Crown Repair

If you are a homeowner in the Boston, North Shore, or Portland area, you may have a chimney that has taken on winter damage. This type of damage may first manifest as a chimney leak or roof leak, but it’s likely a result of winter damage. Most likely the chimney crown is the problem.

The Chimney Crownwhite chimney with blue sky

The chimney may be the largest system in your home, but it can be brought down by water intrusion. In fact, water can destroy a chimney system from the inside out. This damage leads to rust, stains, odors, mold growth, deterioration, shortened chimney life, and more. The chimney crown is an important component that helps to prevent water intrusion and damage. When the chimney crown is constructed improperly, it can become damaged over time due to sunlight and weather exposure. The crown, which is supposed to protect the chimney from the flue opening all the way to the edge of the chimney can become cracked, begin flaking, and even crumble. When the crown becomes damaged, the water from rain and snowfall can go directly into the chimney causing water damage and leaks throughout the entire house.

Diagnosing the Chimney Crown

If your chimney seems to be leaking, it’s time to call a professional. We will check all the parts of the chimney system that might be the cause of the leak. If the crown has cracks, gaps, or flaking, it will definitely contribute to a leak and will need to be fixed. Fortunately, if the crown is made from the appropriate materials and is the right size and shape, it will not have to be recast. We can fix a chimney crown fairly easily, getting your system back to working order before burn season. In order to fix a broken crown, there are two options:

  • We can cover the entire chimney crown in a waterproof sealant which closes up all the gaps and cracks, restoring the crown back to proper function.
  • We can construct a completely new custom crown with the appropriate slant, thickness, and drip edge to conduct optimal water flow away from the chimney.

Prevent Damage Before It’s Too Late

You can prevent water damage and even prevent the need for a new crown construction by scheduling routine chimney sweeps and annual inspections. Your chimney expert will get a good look at your crown during these preventative service appointments, and minor repairs can be made before major damage occurs. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), chimneys that are serviced and inspected annually are the safest and efficient. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we know that chimneys that are serviced regularly and repaired as needed are also the longest lasting chimneys.

Schedule your routine service or chimney crown repair with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today. Call us at 781-593-2333 or stop by our Boston, North Shore, or Portland location.

Why Chimneys Leak

Your chimney is designed to withstand time and weather, but it will only hold up as long as it’s properly maintained and used correctly. Part of this chimney care is professional and routinely scheduled services through a licensed and certified chimney sweep company. During these chimney checkups, your system will be assessed for overall safety and structure. Neglecting these appointments can mean a disaster for your chimney, especially when it leads to a leak.

Leaky ChimneysWhat causes a leaky chimney and how to spot it

Causes:
-Missing chimney caps are a major cause for leaky chimneys because the cap serves as a roof for the flue. Without it, precipitation freely falls into the flue and can damage the system from the inside out.
-Damaged or dislodged flashing allows water into the intersection of the roof and chimney. The flashing should be installed professionally so that it protects against water, and should not be nailed or covered in sealant.
-A cracked or damaged crown can allow water into the system from the top, whether water, snow, or ice. Once the crown is damaged, winter weather can add to the issue and worsen the problem.
-Masonry damage allows water into the chimney through masonry that is damaged or unprotected. Once allowed into the masonry, winter weather can damage the masonry throughout winter through the freeze/thaw cycle. Once the water penetrates the masonry, it can cause leaking in the flue and even more damage to the masonry.
Signs:
-Sounds of dripping in the fireplace or chimney system
-White stains on the outside of the masonry, red rust stains at the top of the chimney exterior, and green or black stains in the firebox
-Visible water dripping in the firebox or running along the chimney
-Leaks around the chimney or in other rooms of the house
-Smells of mildew or mold

Water Damage

Chimney leaks are 100 percent preventable, and spending the time and money necessary to prevent the leak will prevent damage later. Your chimney leak can cause leaking in the system and throughout the rest of the home, ruining wall coverings, furniture, and wreaking havoc on the chimney system itself.
When there is a chimney leak, it can cause damage to the working parts of the system, rust to the damper, door hinges, and components, stains and deterioration, and clogged cleanout doors and flues.

Professional Leak-Proofing

Our customers in and around Boston depend on us for chimney waterproofing year-round. We replace chimney caps, repair and replace chimney crown, install flashing, and even waterproof masonry for good measure. Our waterproofing services will protect your masonry completely from water penetration while allowing the heat and gases out. This vapor-permeable water repellent allows the masonry to breathe and vent properly, unlike many purported water-repellents on the market.

In order to prevent leaks this spring, make sure your masonry doesn’t have any winter damage that can allow spring showers to penetrate your chimney system. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today and let an expert check out your system for possible leaks and apply a waterproofing agent that will last years.

Dial 617-469-4528 to reach our Boston office today.

How to Tell if Your Chimney is Leaking

The problem with a chimney leak is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
1. It ruins your chimney.
2. It ruins your house.
3. It costs you money.
The good news is that chimney leaks are 100 percent preventable. With routine maintenance and annual inspections, your trusted chimney professional will spot a problem before it turns into a leak.

Signs You Have a Leak

Some signs are less noticeable than others. The average homeowner will overlook a chimney leak simply because the affected portion of the chimney is hidden from view. This is why it’s important to hire a certified chimney sweep to clean, inspect, and repair your chimney system.

  • Sounds of dripping or visual evidence of dripping in the chimney
  • Discoloration of interior or exterior masonry
  • Smells of mildew or staleness
  • A leak in any part of the house

Even if you don’t see signs on or in the chimney itself, a leak in another part of the house is an indication of a chimney leak. When water is allowed into the home by way of the chimney, it can run for several feet before it stops at the lowest point and forms a leak. This may be several rooms away from the chimney! If you have a leak in any part of your home, call your chimney sweep first. A contractor or handyman may repair the damage, but will not find the cause, because only a chimney professional knows where to look and diagnose the problem.

Let Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep Have a Look

At Billy Sweet, we offer chimney inspections, sweeps, and repairs year-round. You can call today, and we’ll send a technician out to diagnose your chimney problem. The first thing we’ll check is the flashing. Flashing is a collection of thin metal sheets placed along the intersection of chimney and roof to shed water away from this weak point. Oftentimes the flashing is installed incorrectly, has shifted due to weather or animal tampering, or is just worn out. The process of installing flashing is meticulous and must be done by an experienced professional. If your flashing is installed incorrectly, placed incorrectly according to the roof slant or roofing material, or if nails or seams are exposed, it will eventually leak. These types of issues could be identified during a chimney inspection, however, which is why it’s important to schedule one annually.

Other factors that may cause a chimney leak include a faulty, damaged, or missing cap or a cracked or spalling crown. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we install chimney caps, repair and replace chimney crowns, and offer waterproofing services to prevent leaks.

You can schedule waterproofing services now and ensure your chimney is protected from spring showers, summer storms, and a full winter ahead. Don’t let the weather affect your chimney any longer. Schedule services today to have your leak diagnosed and repaired.

Call 617-469-4528 today.