It was a few years ago a friend of mine told me what had happened to him after purchasing an older home that he remodeled. This house was built in the 1920’s with a “hip” roof and had 3 fireplaces of which one was a double fireplace that shared a chimney between rooms. Like most people renovating a home they started with the foundation and structure of the home. They worked very hard getting everything lined up and level as best as possible but never stopped to think about the structure of the chimneys.
It all was going as planned. The structure was secured and looked good so they quickly moved to the inside to star demolition. Room by room they went until the entire home was redone almost entirely inside and out. That’s when a wind storm did some damage to the roof and the roof had to be replaced. When the roofing company took off the roof and gutters there happened to be 5 layers of shingles! If you don’t know this most places only allow for 3 layers max.
So the shingles came off and a new roof was completed. It looked great! In fact, they were getting stopped by perfect strangers driving by who were commenting on how beautiful the house turned out. Everything was great until it rained. That’s when they realized there was a serious problem. They called the roofing company out multiple times until they admitted that they were stumped. They recommended the company the installed the gutters might know something they didn’t so the gutter company came out and inspected the problem and said to call the roofer.
Around and around my friend went until one night they opened the flue to the double fireplace and water poured in. They called a chimney company in the area the next day (unfortunately, they live far away from Portland) and had them come and inspect the chimneys. What they found were chimneys, though still standing, were in much need of repair. Water was coming through the caps and draining down the liner through a slit were it was broken, dripping onto a ceiling joist and traveling about twenty feet before dropping onto the ceiling. It looked like the leak was far away from the fireplace but that’s exactly were the water was coming in.
Today, my friend is content in his home because he hired a chimney services company that knew everything they needed to know to clean, inspect and repair the chimneys from top to bottom. He knows that if he ever buys an older home to remodel that he should never forget about the structure that is so many times overlooked; the chimney.