Arguably the most powerful element in all of creation. Life emerged from water. One can go without food, but not without water, it's that essential. Water is part of every breathtaking landscape, like Arizona's Grand Canyon, which it carved centuries ago. Water continues to reshape the land even today.
Water is also a masonry chimney's number one enemy. It will stain its exterior, erode mortar joints, cause the deterioration of crowns, bricks, and clay flue liners. It will also generate a horrible odor that will permeate a home when mixing with creosote in a wood burning chimney.
*According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, each year unmaintained chimneys cause deaths and injuries, and account for more than $200 million in property losses.
Every winter, water finds its way into small cracks and imperfections in the masonry only to expand when it freezes, widening these fractures and eventually destroying a chimney. Loose brick will allow water to run into the house, causing an entirely different set of problems.
Every spring and summer, we repair several chimneys, repointing joints or more than likely rebuilding a chimney.
Fortunately, reputable chimney services offer an array of solutions to correct and prevent water damage.
An ideal rebuild will include a new, thick crown that will seal the top of the chimney, sloped to divert water away from the chimney, and also serving as an ideal base for a chimney cap made out of stainless steel or copper that will keep the flue dry.
In cases where the chimney needs rebuilt from the roof line, metal flashing is used to seal the gap between the roof and the chimney. Don't fall for anyone "sealing" the flashing with tar. Roof leaks are a hazard for the structure of the ceiling walls and rafters.
Finally, the naturally porous masonry can be kept from absorbing water by applying a waterproofing agent, and layering the crown with a vinyl sealant.
Chimneys are often neglected until a problem arises even though it's an important part of your home heating system.
Most of us often think, "hey, it's made of brick. What could possibly happen to it?", but as discussed in this post, it only takes some water.