So you think you have a roof leak? You might want to take another look because it might be a chimney leak instead. If the water spots are showing up are near your fireplace, or your chimney is at the highest point in your house the water is likely coming from your chimney. The hardest part of figuring out where a leak is actually coming from is tracing and following the water back to the source of the leak. Many times it starts at the chimney due to several things.
Brick and stone chimneys require service to prevent leaks over time. Failing to perform the necessary maintenance can result in unattractive and potentially dangerous chimney leaks. There are other ways to determine whether you have a chimney leak. For instance, if you notice water running down the flue, or if exposed chimney masonry is constantly wearing due to heavy rains, you may end up with a chimney leak.
The upper portion of your chimney may have deteriorated over the years, which could also cause water to enter your home. Sometimes roofers and builder use tar to make repairs and the tar actually melts over time exposing small holes in and around the roof and the chimney. Even though brick is solid, the cement and filler materials that were used to build your chimney are more easily damaged by weather and time. Other times, more porous bricks that are aesthetically pleasing are used and they simply don’t repel water as well and get soaked, causing leaks. This of course goes back to an age old tug-of-war between beauty and functionality. For my money, you would be better off using solid brick over porous materials that let in moisture.
If you have leaks, a professional masonry company will usually inspect the roof flashing to see if they can identify the location of the leak. This can be done by hosing down the chimney from the outside, and then watching where the water runs. Once they determine if there is a single leak, or multiple, they can proceed with repairing your chimney. In some cases, the older flashing can be removed and replaced in one sitting.
However, if the leak is coming from the brick and mortar, the best solution may be to remove the loose mortar, and replace it with new material. While it’s not the most serious repair, it does take extra time and materials to complete. You should consult with chimney and masonry company at the first sign of a leak. More water causes more damage. By immediately dealing with the problem, you can prevent further and more serious damage to your chimney.
An inexperienced hand should not attempt to make these repairs. Besides the danger of climbing on your roof, improper repairs can cause more damage. The tools of a professional enable them to see cracks and fissures that an untrained might miss. Use a trusted masonry and chimney repair company to inspect your chimney. They will recommend and execute the proper type of repair. You’ll even save money because the professional can do it more quickly. Maybe the best savings comes in the form of time saved and less stress to you when fixing a chimney leak.