With spring comes rain and though this precipitation helps the flowers bloom, it can also reveal a leaky chimney. In areas of the country prone to spring rain, homeowners may mistake an interior leak for an issue with the roof. The chimney may be the real source of the problem and the leak could stem from several parts of this area.
Degradation of the flashing where the chimney and roof meet is the top cause of leaking around the chimney. Flashing is designed to prevent roof runoff from entering cracks in the chimney. When this material degrades, the chimney is exposed to this runoff, making it a target. If porous bricks were used to construct the chimney, this can pose another problem. These bricks absorb water and the winter freezing and thawing cycle can break apart the brick and mortar, allowing water to enter the chimney.
Once water gets into the attic, it drips down the walls of the home. Peeling paint and bubbling wallpaper are two indicators that water has seeped into the walls. Repairs can be expensive particularly when the problem is unaddressed for months or years. Annual chimney inspection and timely maintenance are recommended to prevent chimney leaks.
Do not attempt to self-identify and correct the problem because there may be more going on behind the scenes that could create additional damage. Instead, have a professional chimney sweep inspect the area to diagnose the problem and recommend a solution. By repairing the area as soon as possible, additional springtime rain showers will not pose threats.
A preventative approach is the best way to handle potential chimney leaks. If a problem is already evident, contact a chimney sweep. Swift action will prevent permanent damage that requires a remodel. Spring will become a time to watch the flowers grow, not catch water dripping from the ceiling and walls.