April Showers Bring…Leaky Chimneys

Let’s face it: Spring means rain, and rain means things inside and outside your home are going to leak.

Including your chimney.

As with other home issues, chimney leaks are bound to happen, most often resulting in a water stain or fresh water around the fireplace. Unfortunately, brick and stone chimneys are both prone to leakage, which almost always means your fireplace will be affected as well.

But leaks aren’t just a nuisance: They might be sounding the alarm that your fireplace is damaged.

For the lucky ones:
A leaky chimney usually isn’t the end of the world, and most leaks can be repaired and fixed to eliminate it entirely. At the first sign of a leak, contact your local chimney professional (find one in your area here) – they’ll know what to do.

Want to sound chimney-savvy? Ask them to check the flashing around the base of your chimney (the base that sits right on top of the roof). Sometimes a leak is the result of dried up or old caulking, while other times it may be a crack in the metal flashing itself (which can easily be replaced).

These quick, simple and inexpensive steps can most often fix your peskily leaking chimney right away.

For the not-so-lucky ones:
Unfortunately, some cases of dripping chimneys are a bit more severe. With brick and stone chimneys, leaks may very well have nothing to do with the flashing that protects the base of your chimney. Brick and stone chimneys are mounted and held together with mortar – and as time goes on, the mortar joints and caps that are usually on the top of the chimneys to shed water can develop cracks as well. And no matter how well your chimney flashing was done – even if the best materials and workmanship were used – the water can leak in right behind it through those mortar joints (read: don’t blame your chimney professional).

The bottom line:
Unless you’re a professional, please don’t try to fix your leaky chimney by yourself. A leaking chimney – or a chimney with any kind of issue – should be left to a certified and experienced chimney specialist (such as a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®). There’s nothing worse than trying to fix a leaking chimney, only to end up with even more water coming into your home.


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