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The first step in chimney repair for most water leaks is a thorough inspection. Checking all places exposed to rain water and draining water from the chimney is essential to resolving the chimney problem. Cracks and gaps in a chimney that don’t receive significant water exposure will be of no safety concern, but won’t be part of the chimney leak. It’s necessary to determine what is causing the water damage before the chimney can be repaired.
One of the reasons chimney flashing isn’t always sufficient is because it’s typically not installed completely flat. In the event of a minor rainfall, some water might get through the chimney flashing and end up in the crevices where bricks or tiles used for chimney construction have positioned themselves. While the water might not enter through the chimney flue as a whole, it may go in between the flue and the chimney at an angle. This area is highly susceptible to the movement of water, especially during heavy downpours.
Chimney shingles are traditionally made out of clay, cast iron or steel. The roof of a chimney is usually made out of clay, but other materials such as asphalt, sheet rock or corrugated plastic may be used. Chimney shingles are made to withstand strong weather so that they are safe for use, but they are susceptible to very serious damage over time. Leaks under chimney flashing are one of the most common causes of chimney leaks.
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Rainwater can be carried into the chimney leaks via the flue pipes and loose tiles around the chimney. Water can also get inside the chimney using crevices, cracks and other voids, which will lead to long term damage to your home. The longer chimney leaks stay open, the greater the chance they are going to break open and cause significant damage. As the first step towards chimney leak repair, you must inspect your chimney to determine whether it is the result of drips, dripping from the roof or other causes. Leaks are very likely to be caused by dripping roof tiles, loosened roof shingles or large crevices.
When you have determined chimney leak repair is necessary, you will need to visit a chimney repair specialist. You should not attempt repairs on your own if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you have identified a specific problem area, a chimney specialist will have the experience and tools to guide you through the repairs. In the case of very small or single place repairs, you should leave the job to the professionals.
Once the chimney cap and other debris have been removed and any repairs are made, you will need to protect the chimney from further damage. Most chimney liners are made of fireproof materials, but the smallest chimney leak problem can cause damage to your home. Liners are simply veneers that go over the top of the opening to protect from moisture and keep small water droplets from entering your home. You should also consider chimney caps, which are often made from insulated material to prevent heat loss and to keep your home more comfortable.
Even if you are satisfied with the condition of your chimney, you should still consider masonry repairs. Chimney collapse can be caused by cracks in mortar or bricks, and these can often lead to very serious damage. Cracks in the mortar can be very dangerous as they allow adequate water to enter your home and create potential leakage problems. In the worst case scenario, a failing chimney wall can completely cave in.
If none of these chimney repairs are enough to fix your problem, then chimney specialists should be called out. Because chimney leaks often occur when rain splashes through the opening, chimney specialists can easily detect where the leak is and provide you with the best solution. Their experienced eyes can also help you decide whether you should call in a chimney maintenance company or if you can take care of the repairs yourself. There are a number of different ways to address chimney leaks, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with and how best to fix it. Chimney professionals can save you time and money by handling the repairs as well as possible.