Roof Chimney Siding Repair - Albany, NY
There are a lot of aspects to consider when it comes to chimney maintenance. This is especially true when the roof is involved. Depending on how and when the chimney was installed during the building process, leaks can begin to occur over time. If you don't catch the leak right away, it can cause structural rot as well as interior leaks. To learn more about repairing a chimney leak properly, watch our crew fix a leak or read below for information of problem areas on the chimney that can cause leaks to occur.
Common chimney problem areas
When properly installed, a chimney is designed to last. If given enough time and the right conditions, however, even the toughest chimney can start to deteriorate and develop leaks. One of the areas we always check when doing our roof inspections is the chimney. When you check enough chimneys, you begin to notice certain patterns on the different types of chimney's you come across. We have compiled a list of some of the common problems we come across when doing our inspections.
Chimney Caps/ Flue Cover
The chimney cap or flue cover is usually installed over the chimney flue opening. It is meant to keep water from going into the chimney opening. Often times there is a mesh installed on the sides to prevent critters from entering. The mesh, or the spark arrestor is also meant to keep burning debris from leaving the chimney. This helps to protect the environment as well as from having your home catch on fire. Over time, the screws or tabs that hold the chimney cap in place tend to come loose and the chimney cap will fall off of fly away with the wind. This can allow water to get into and around the opening of the chimney causing a leak. The solution to this is simple. Buy another chimney cap and install it over the opening.
Chimney Chase (Metal) or Chimney Crown (Mortar)
Depending on the purpose the chimney serves, you may have a metal chimney chase installed, or a chimney crown made out of mortar. Often times, a metal chimney chase will rust, or come apart at the seams. if it was not properly installed, the screw holes may leak as well. If the pipe coming out of the chimney chase was much smaller and improperly flashed, that may be a source of a leak as well. Often times the lip of the chimney chase itself is only 1-2" and does not adequately cover the facia flashing or trim. We solve this problem by ordering custom stainless steel chimney chases with a 4" lip so that it protect your chimney from leaks for the long run.
The chimney crown is typically fabricated onsite using mortar. Since it goes around the chimney flute, it should also have a chimney cap installed over the opening. The chimney crown typically comes with two issues. One is that the mortar on the crown itself begins to crack and split over time. If left unattended, water will work its way underneath the crown and cause it to come loose. Freezing temperatures combined with freezing water will push up the mortar as well. The only solution to this is to completely remove the mortar and fabricate a new crown. The second issue that we run into often is that the type of mortar used to create the crown is porous and will soak up water. Once it is saturated the water will leak down into the chimney itself. This problem can be solved in two ways. One is to remove the old mortar and redo the crown. The second is to seal the crown so that it does not allow water beneath the surface. The only downside to this is that you will need to re-seal it over time as it does break down.
The Chimney Exterior
Brick and Stone Chimneys
The chimney exterior can be made up of a number of substrates including brick, stone, wood siding, vinyl siding or stucco. While stone and brick chimneys sit on a mortar bed, wood, vinyl sided and stucco chimneys are installed over a framed opening. Brick and stone chimneys, if installed properly can last the better part of a lifetime. Due to the extreme temperature changes in the Northeast, freezing and thawing of water can create cracks in the mortar and cause portions of it to come loose and fall off. One solution to fix this is to re-point the mortar on the chimney by grinding out and removing the loose mortar and repointing it with new mortar. Loose bricks and stone need to be removed along with the loose mortar and re-installed properly with fresh mortar.
Wood, Vinyl Sided and stucco chimneys
With chimneys that have a frame built around them, the key is proper waterproofing and base flashing. If the frame along with the plywood is not water tight, this can cause rot to develop and cause structural damage. Even if the siding or stucco is properly installed, if the components above it like the chimney chase or chimney cap fails, the leak will cause damage. Although most town codes require a waterproofing barrier such as Tyvek to be installed, we come across plenty of chimneys where no water barrier was installed, or it was improperly installed. When we repair sided chimneys, we will typically use ice and water shield or Grace Ice shield to cover the chimney frame so that any water runoff behind the siding will not rot the frame and plywood underneath.
Every chimney flashing is installed specific to the substrate. This part of the chimney is often overlooked even though it is a critical part of the chimney. Sitting at the roofline, the chimney flashing protect the chimney as well as the roof by waterproofing the area so that the water runs off of the roof instead of getting beneath the roof and into the home interior. The flashing tends to leak if the metal and sealant around it begins to deteriorate, or if the chimney flashing was not properly installed in the first place. Proper installation of chimney flashing involves good underlayment, proper sealant, as well as custom bent metal flashing that is properly installed.