Chimney repairs in yorkshire

5 common reasons for a leaking chimney

Why is my chimney leaking

There a quite a few common reasons why brick and stone chimneys leak. There can be a single cause, or it can be a combination of reasons. Some issues relate to materials being inadequate or not professionally installed like flashing or flue lining, whereas other problems can occur with general deterioration across the whole chimney structure.

  • Chimney Terms Explained
  • Chimney: The structure surrounding one or more flues
  • Chimney Crown: The haunching used to secure the pots.
  • Chimney terminal: Another word for pot, cowl or other method of finishing off the
    top of the chimney
  • Flue: The void through which the products of combustion are removed into the
    atmosphere
  • Flue liner: The material used to form the flue within the chimney
  • Flue pipe: A metal pipe used to connect an appliance to the flue

Is the leak happening because of a missing chimney cover, or cap?

Although a chimney will function without a chimney cap, rain, snow, and other detritus can enter your chimney and cause damage. The cap also stops birds nesting in your chimney, which can cause blockages. Caps must be able to ventilate the chimney where gas or solid fuel or wood burners are still in use and there are a variety of different types available that are suitable for those type of fires. They are usually constructed of clay or metal and are generally known as a terminal or cowl. They sit in, or are fastened to, the chimney pots. Some can be used directly on top of the flue outlet. Disused chimneys are sometimes capped completely using a flat flag stone or similar. This obviously stops anything getting down the chimney.

Could the leak be caused by damaged flashing or inadequate sealant?

A common culprit is the flashing. Flashing has the important job of directing water away from the area around the chimney where it protrudes through the roof. Lead is commonly used for this function because it is malleable and long lasting. However, nothing last forever and lead can become split due to continual expansion and contraction and become deformed and displaced until it eventually leaks. Sealants are also prone to failure for similar reasons and can allow seepage to penetrate behind and under the lead.

Have the outside walls of the chimney become porous?

Over the years, bricks and mortar can deteriorate and allow moisture to penetrate into the chimney which will eventually cause damp patches on interior walls and ceilings. Left untreated this can lead to costly repairs both internally and externally. Freezing and thawing cycles create movement in the bricks and mortar and can cause spalling, the flaking and break-up of the surface. Over time, if left unattended, the chimney will start to lean and become unstable and, in the worst cases, parts of the chimney will collapse, causing possible injury and damage. Chimneys, like anything else should be maintained and inspected periodically to keep them in top condition. Re-pointing, rendering, or certain water-sealant treatments are methods of protecting / preserving a chimney in good condition.

Does your chimney crown have some cracking, or flaking?

The chimney crown is the haunching (sometimes know as flaunching) that is a sand and cement mix that forms a dome like shape to hold the chimney pots in place and taper down to the top outside edges of the chimney. This forms a barrier and prevents water from accumulating on top of the chimney. Crowns deteriorate over time due to being very exposed to the elements. Wind and rain will eventually take their toll and small cracks will appear in the mortar. Water can then seep into these cracks and freeze in really cold temperatures. This expands the crack and over time it will get bigger and bigger and eventually lead to sections of the crown becoming loose and breaking off.

Could your chimney be leaking from the inside out?

This sounds odd but condensation is a common problem. Good ventilation is essential to stop moisture forming in a chimney. Even unused chimneys should still be ventilated to stop condensation forming and damp appearing where it’s not wanted! Routine maintenance is essential for your chimney as well as all the other external features of your home. Prevention is better than a costly cure! Does your chimney show signs of watermarking or dampness? Our experienced team can find the root cause of your chimney’s leak and fix the problem completely. Please give us a call on 0800 2888 023.

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