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.

Spotting Masonry Damage

Masonry damage can be devastating to your chimney, especially during winter time. Minor damage becomes major damage when water gets into cracks and voids where it freezes and expands. It’s important for homeowners to not only schedule valuable services that can prevent and identify masonry problems, but also be aware of signs of damage.

Common Masonry Problems

Spalling—Spalling describes mortar that is cracking and crumbling. It no longer supports the bricks and they begin to flake and fall. Factors such as neglect and water damage cause spalling. A well-constructed and well-maintained chimney will not sustain this type of damage through normal wear and tear.

Spalling masonry is repaired through tuckpointing or repointing, in which a certified professional removes the mortar and replaces it with new of equal consistency, strength, and color. Incorrectly made mortar actually weakens the masonry instead of strengthening it. Failing to match it in color causes the exterior of the chimney to be mismatched, and this actually brings down your “curb appeal”.

Chimney Leaks—When water penetrates the chimney system it can cause all kinds of damage behind the scenes. Water damage can include rusted parts, deteriorated and stained walls and masonry, weakened supports, settlement, and collapse.

Chimney leaks can be caught and repaired through a simple chimney inspection each year. By the time a homeowner notices a chimney leak, it has caused unseen damage that takes time and money to repair. Scheduling routine maintenance gives a certified chimney sweep the opportunity to assess the system regularly as well as apply periodic waterproofing treatments that prevent leaks. Our sweeps at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep quickly repair any discovered problems. Most water leaks start with missing or damaged flashing, caps, crowns, or masonry. We offer repairs year-round for the convenience and safety of our customers in the Boston area.

Signs to Look For

When it comes to masonry damage, you definitely want to catch it early so that repairs can be made before real damage can occur. Pay attention to how your chimney is working, and note changes. Chimney experts should address any persistent problems.
–A drop in efficiency can mean a problem with your masonry. Leaks, liner damage, damper malfunction and more can cause a drop in efficiency.
–Pieces of mortar and bricks strewn on the roof and onto the yard means spalling. A professional should address this type of extreme damage immediately.
–Dripping, staining, or wetness inside fireplace interior. This means there is water penetrating the chimney system, so there is a masonry problem.
–Mortar and brick pieces inside the fireplace means spalling masonry. Clay tile pieces inside the fireplace means a clay tile liner is deteriorating and the flue needs relined.

If properly built and maintained, your chimney will last for years. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep can help your chimney last, and will do our job each time with the professionalism and expertise that keeps our customers safe and warm year after year.

Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 800-248-4900!

Prevent Leaks With A Chimney Cap

Chimney Caps: Your Best Defense from Water Leaks

Chimney CapChimney leaks are a common problem in any home especially during seasons when rain is pouring non-stop. Leaks happen when water seeps inside your chimney. They occupy the little openings and cracks in the masonry walls and some go all the way down to the chimney flues and other major parts. A typical rainy day isn’t something to get all jumpy and panicky about, but if the problem is left unfixed, it will eventually cause a bigger problem for you in the long run.

Here at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we want to thoroughly discuss with you the problem on leaks. Because this problem in particular is the main source of a lot of major problems in the house like carbon monoxide poisoning, molds and the gradual destruction of your chimney walls.

Preventing Leaks with a Chimney Cap

The main reason why leaks happen is the lack of having a chimney crown and chimney cap. They are your first and ultimate line of defense in protecting your chimney. They prevent external factors from getting in, most especially water which could damage your chimney’s walls and overall structure. This is the best way to waterproof your chimney and fireplace. Installing a chimney cap will definitely do the trick and will absolutely help your chimney be more efficient and it will last you more years than expected.

It’s always best to seek professional help in installing the chimney caps. It’s a no-no to do it yourself because before we even install a chimney cap or crown, we still have to inspect and survey the chimney for any other damage or repair it may need. We at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps make sure that your chimney is protected from any leaks, blockages or any occurrence of that sort. You might spend a few extra dollars but rest assured, it will be money well spent.