The Importance of Waterproofing
Do you remember the last time your chimney was treated with a waterproofing sealant? Has it been more than five years? Has it never been done? Chimney waterproofing is one of the best ways to extend the life of your chimney and keep your home and family safe.
Ye Olde Brit Chimney Sweep of San Bernardino, CA, would like to share a little about this important maintenance task and the benefits it will bring you.
Chimney waterproofing 101
Chimney companies use specialized sealants to waterproof the exterior masonry of all types of chimneys. Sealants can also be applied to concrete chimney crowns at the tops of chimneys. Waterproofing typically lasts up to 10 years. Waterproofing sealants create a strong barrier to keep water away from the chimney and out of any cracks or holes in the bricks and mortar. The best sealants form what’s called a “vapor-permeable barrier” that allows built-up moisture to pass through to the outside while blocking rain.
How water damages chimneys
You don’t have to live in a super-rainy area for rain to damage your chimney. In Southern California, which is dry a lot of the time, we still see major damage done by intruding water. Water can enter a chimney system through cracks in bricks, missing sections of mortar, and damaged areas within chimney crowns. Once inside, it will begin to deteriorate chimney materials and components. This often leads to:
- Severe masonry compromise, including a leaning or collapsed chimney
- Chimney liner damage allows flames and deadly carbon monoxide to escape
- Roof, ceiling, and wall damage
- Rusted fireplace damper
- Firebox damage
- Mold growth in the “invisible” spaces within the chimney system
The problem with many types of chimney damage is that the homeowner isn’t aware of it right at first. Most people don’t climb up on their roofs regularly to inspect the chimney masonry or crown. And you can’t see into the interior spaces of a chimney, where a lot of water-related damage happens.
Start with a chimney inspection
Before any waterproofing work is done, you should have your chimney professionally inspected. This service is recommended once a year, whether or not you believe your chimney is damaged. An inspection will look at all readily accessible areas of your chimney and assess the level, if any, of water damage. Repairs can then be made to the masonry, the crown, the damper, and other components. After repairs are completed, a quality waterproofing sealant can be applied.
How chimneys become vulnerable to water damage
Over time, many things can happen to a chimney that leads to the perfect environment for water damage:
- Old age and normal wear and tear
- Lightning strikes
- Hail damage
- Premature structural problems caused by poor-quality building materials
- Issues with the chimney footing
- Shoddy workmanship in the building of the chimney
These and other issues can cause bricks to crack and mortar joints to crumble. It won’t be long before water finds its way into the system.
Solving all your chimney problems
For more than 30 years, Ye Olde Brit has been helping San Bernardino and Southern California homeowners keep their chimneys clean, safe, efficient, and beautiful. We provide chimney waterproofing, chimney repairs, chimney sweeping, and licensed inspections.
If it’s time to have your chimney strengthened, call an expert today at (909) 880-2120. You can also get in touch with our handy contact form.