Chimney repairs are some of the hardest roof repairs. The chimney—a complex roof feature—requires complex methods of sealing and protection. As a result, it’s no surprise that a large number of service calls have to do with the chimney and nearby leaks.
Let’s take a look at common chimney issues, and learn why chimney repairs are different from other roof repairs:
Chimneys and Flashing
Flashing is a term for the metal bands on the edges of your roof that help protect vulnerable spots from moisture and leak problems. Chimneys require flashing (and the protection from moisture the metal bands provide). After all, chimneys are holes in your rooftop, and holes tend to cause leaks.
Chimneys typically require extensive flashing in spots near shingles. A common practice is to create two sets of overlapping flashing, one rising up from the rooftop and one going down to cover the edge of the first. The flashing is then carefully sealed where it meets the underlayment and shingles. In a perfect world, every chimney would be protected by flashing and nothing would go wrong. However, in reality chimney flashing is not always properly installed causing the natural aging of the roof and damage from storms to eventually create some serious problems.
Signs of Flashing Problems
Leaks found at the corners of the chimney are usually a sign of flashing problems. A common solution for this flashing issue is to replace or reseal the leaky area. It’s important to keep in mind chimney leaks are a result of amateur work—meaning chimneys are not the place to break out your DIY skills if something goes wrong.
The Chimney Crown
The “crown” of a chimney is the concrete or cement layer on the top of the chimney that helps seal the flue (or the chimney’s opening). Chimney crowns are more common in larger chimneys. Problems with the crown can do even more damage than flashing issues, though they aren’t as common. This is because cracks in the flue allow moisture to seep directly into the chimney.
If a cracked or decaying crown is found, focus on removing and replacing it. Broken crowns may require extensive re-bricking, so sometimes installing a brand new chimney is the best option. Small leaks or cracks can be sealed and mortared, but this may only be a temporary solution.
Fortunately, crown problems are usually just a result of extreme age or weather over an extended period of time. However, if you think water is leaking into your chimney or nearby walls, then contact a professional immediately.
The chimney flue itself also needs a cover to protect it from rain. A damaged cover can cause several problems, ranging from a blocked chimney to leaks that put out the fire in your fireplace. These problems are usually obvious, and chimney covers are relatively easy to fix with a replacement.
If any of the issues above sound all too familiar, contact a roofing professional for roof repairs. For more information regarding your roof, give us a call at 770-516-5806.