In Portland, Oregon, we have some of the highest rainfalls in the country, and the heavy rain season is beginning to gear up. With all of this rain, we at American Chimney & Masonry have a lot of experience with repairing leaky chimneys as well as with preventing water penetration into your chimney. However, once the rainy season begins, it can be impossible to successfully apply waterproofing treatments and other water leak prevention procedures. Additionally, if your chimney is already suffering from water penetration, the heavy rains will cause more problems. This is why American Chimney & Masonry strongly recommend you go ahead and contact us now to schedule an appointment with us to get your chimney ready for the rainy season. We would like to tell you about why water penetration is so harmful to your chimney as well as how we can repair leaks and protect your chimney from water intrusion.
The Dangers of Water Penetration
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water is the number one enemy of your masonry chimney. Constructed out of materials like brick, mortar, concrete, stone, flue tile, steel, and cast-iron, chimneys can be seriously compromised by water penetration as all of those materials are adversely affected by direct contact with water. Examples of water penetration damage to a chimney include:
- rusted fireplace and chimney parts
- rotted wood that surrounds your fireplace
- stains on the walls and ceilings around your fireplace
- deteriorated exterior chimney
- cracked or damaged flue liner
- collapsed hearth support
- tilted or collapsed chimney structure
As you can see from these examples, water penetration can cost hazardous and costly damage to your chimney system and home.
The Prevention of Water Leaks
At American Chimney & Masonry, we provide a couple of ways to protect your masonry chimney from water penetration to keep leaks from ever happening. These ways include:
- waterproofing – A 100% vapor permeable formula to allow your chimney to still be able to “breathe,” the waterproofing agent we apply to your chimney will let water that has already penetrated your masonry chimney escape as vapors, preventing damage such as spalling and erosion due to the freeze-thaw process. While water vapors are able to escape, the waterproofing formula prevents water from entering from the outside, which protects you from water leaks and other deterioration of your chimney. We only use the waterproofing formula that we feel is the best on the market, ChimneySaver. You can count on American Chimney & Masonry to never use paint or clear sealers as these can cause further damage by trapping water vapors and moisture inside your chimney.
- flashing and custom crickets – A poorly done flashing job can actually cause water penetration of your chimney because water can enter through gaps in the flashing. You can trust our technicians to customize the flashing to fit perfectly around your exterior chimney where it meets the roof. We recommend using stainless steel or copper instead of galvanized steel for the flashing material because we have experienced issues with the galvanized steel corroding and deteriorating. We can also address the problem of water pooling around your chimney due to the design of your roof by constructing and installing a chimney cricket that will divert water from your chimney and prevent water accumulation.
- chimney cap – Sitting on the top of your chimney’s entrance, a chimney cap keeps water from entering your chimney and protects it from water penetration damage as well as the invasion of animals. Proper installation of chimney caps is crucial as the cap should be custom fitted to your chimney so that it forms a tight seal around the chimney’s opening. You can count on our technicians to correctly install your chimney cap.
Do not hesitate to contact us at American Chimney & Masonry to schedule a water leak inspection of your chimney. Taking care of water penetration prevention now before the rainy season arrives will save you lots of money on leak repairs in the future.