Water leaks are one of the most destructive things that can happen to your chimney and stove. The masonry which makes up a chimney is made of various materials, all of which are adversely affected by water.
A chimney’s design protects it from the damaging effects of water, from the top down. The cap, the crown and flashing all help to protect from water penetration, but they all need to be in good shape to do that.
To protect water, debris and small animals from entering the top of the flue, a chimney cap is installed. When a cap becomes damaged over time, or is dislodged by high winds or animal tampering, it allows water to flow directly into the chimney flue. Once water penetrates the system, all kinds of damage can occur.
Worn Down Crown
Mortar crowns are designed to the specific specifications of each chimney. They should slant away from the flue, be at least 4 inches at its thinnest, and have an overhang of at least 2 inches. If your crown is poorly constructed it will sustain damage quicker; even well-made crowns are susceptible to the pressure of the sun’s rays and temperature fluctuations. If they crack, water can collect in these spaces, moving further and further into the system.
Flashing is made up of multiple layers of metal sheeting specifically placed to prevent the penetration of water, specifically where the chimney intersects with the roof. It takes an experienced technician to install the flashing correctly, taking the slant and roofing material into consideration. Poor flashing is generally the first thing to be checked in the event of water leaks.
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