Rain is not something that you can avoid in Chicago or anywhere else! However, you CAN avoid rain damage by scheduling routine maintenance and preventative measures. Rain can damage a masonry chimney if left unchecked. Thus, causing damages that can be costly to repair, but are 100% preventable.

Water and Your Masonry

Due to the materials that make up masonry, water damages it from the inside out, causing:

  • Rusted parts including dampers, caps, liners, firebox assemblies, door hinges, and more.
  • Deteriorated masonry, building materials, and assemblies.
  • Stained masonry, doors, ceilings, and walls.
  • Ceiling leaks in any area of the house, damaging walls, ceilings, and floors.
  • Spalling, shifting, and settlement.

Water damage can be extensive any time of the year. Unfortunately, if a leak isn’t repaired before winter, the water is subject to a freeze/thaw affect. This wreaks havoc on masonry! During the winter, water penetrates the masonry, freezes and expands, causing further damage, then melts. This process is repeated while the water penetrates further and further into the masonry. It will continue causing damage daily, until it’s repaired.

The Danger of a Water-Damaged Chimney

Water damage occurs behind the scenes, and can go unnoticed for months before there’s any indication of a problem. The average homeowner won’t know what to look for. By the time the damage is visible, there is likely catastrophic damage behind the scenes! Water finds the fastest route wherever it goes. So, if it makes its way into your chimney, it will continue to do so until it’s stopped. During this time the chimney is susceptible to high risk of fire, decreased efficiency, and even mold and mildew that can cause chronic respiratory illness.

Chimney Leak Prevention

The common culprits for chimney leaks are the ones at the top of the chimney. The flashing is the most common point of water penetration. Why? It’s is the weakest part of the chimney system. The flashing is placed at the intersection of the chimney and roof. This is to prevent water from entering. Flashing should be installed by an experienced professional, to offer the best defense. A certified chimney sweep will use the proper materials and technique for the slant of the roof. Once installed, the flashing is often sealed for added protection.

Along with the flashing, the chimney crown and cap keep water from affecting your masonry. If either of these components are damaged or installed incorrectly, your chimney may be damaged by rain. It’s important to hire a professional for all chimney installations, despite what the internet promises about D-I-Y projects. The only guarantee? The one given with a handshake from a professional after a job well done! Your homeowners insurance, property managers, and city code officials trust the CSIA-certified signature. This is because the job is done correctly and adheres to safety standards. At RMR, we put customer safety and comfort first, and that’s our guarantee.

Aren’t sure if your chimney is ready for winter or a full year of weather? No problem! Call RMR and speak with an expert chimney sweep about waterproofing today. Call 847-290-1883.