Is Waterproofing My Chimney Necessary?

Your chimney plays an important role in protecting your home against wind, rain, fire and anything else mother nature tries to throw at it. A well-built chimney can last for many years, but you need to put the work into maintaining your chimney for a long life. Waterproofing your chimney can keep it functioning smoothly for years.  

Most masonry chimneys are designed with bricks or stone with mortar or cement to bond the materials. This helps create a structure that is virtually impenetrable. However, water can still compromise the integrity of these materials, as these bricks are made from soft, porous material. 

The hard outer shell that is added on to waterproof the brick eventually weakens overtime from constant exposure to heat and cold, wind, rain, and snow. Gradually, water will start to seep through, penetrating the flue and causing damage to other chimney components.

Needless to say, you should waterproof your chimney. But how should you go about it? Read on to learn more. 

Why Water is your Chimney’s Worst Enemy 

Chimney leaks are a frustrating problem for many homeowners. While water can enter the chimney from just about anywhere, the most vulnerable points by far are the brick and mortar joints.

The damage caused by the moisture that accumulates in a chimney system can be extremely expensive to repair and can even result in a devastating chimney or house fire.  When the chimney goes neglected for years, it may begin to lean as the foundation of the home shifts. This can cause damage to the structure of the home as the chimney starts to separate from the flashing material attached to the roof. 

For these reasons, it is extremely important to protect your chimney masonry from water exposure. Many professionals suggest homeowners apply a waterproof sealer to protect against water damage.  However, it’s important to remember that the waterproof coating will need to be reapplied every five years, as it will wear over time and begin to lose its effectiveness. 

Before waterproofing your chimney, you should have a professional chimney inspection completed by a reputable company like Chimney & Masonry Outfitters to determine the extent of the repairs needed.

Extending the Life of your Masonry Chimney

Homeowners can extend the life of their chimney by avoiding high pressure power washing. This is because the high pressure from the water can crack the hard surface of the brick, causing damage to the effectiveness of waterproofing. Instead, the exterior portion should be cleaned using a low pressure hose and mild detergent.  

Here are a few other ways you can protect your chimney:

Install a Chimney Cap

Installing a chimney cap at the top of your chimney is a simple way to keep moisture from penetrating. The chimney cap (also known as a chimney topper) prevents rainwater from entering your home through your chimney.  Rain can cause the different components of your chimney, like the damper as an example, to start rusting. 

Maintain the Health of your Mortar 

Mortar is used to seal chimney masonry. Once it begins to flake, crumble, and decay, moisture creeps into the masonry. Repeated freeze and thaw cycles that occur during the cold season can cause the masonry to pop off.  If not repaired, the chimney can start to lean and eventually collapse. 

Tuckpointing is a repair technique used to replace damaged areas with strong mortar while leaving the masonry in place. This creates a stronger structure and helps freshen up the look of the chimney.

Flashing

The flashing on your chimney is the metal portion located between the roof and chimney; it acts as a watertight seal. Flashing can be challenging to install properly. Even if the flashing is properly installed, the metal can still begin to rust. Even a very small leak can create huge problems. 

Your flashing should be checked regularly by a professional chimney technician. These experts will be able to spot moisture problems and other hidden damage.  

Choose the Right Waterproofing Product 

Keep in mind that less expensive waterproofing products tend to be less effective. You’ll also want to purchase a product that contains poly siloxanes or silanes. These create a strong barrier to prevent outside water from getting in. 

If you are ready to have your chimney inspected before you start your waterproofing project, contact Chimney & Masonry Outfitters of Indianapolis. We’ll help you identify areas of your chimney that need repair to ensure that your waterproofing material is able to operate effectively. 

Give us a call at 1-317-500-1250 to get your free quote.