Chimneys have their functions but cause leaks on flat roofs

A Chimney 0n a high pitched roof - Sealing this chimney is difficult
This is a painted brick chimney and the paint has failed and also the grout

Chimneys are constructed from the following materials:

  1. Oven-baked bricks. (red clay bricks)
  2. Cinder block
  3. Fieldstone
  4. Wood-framed chimneys with siding.
  5. Metal flue pipe chimneys.
  6. Clay pipe flue
  7. Stucco covered chimneys.

Regardless of what they are constructed of, all chimneys must be tied into a roof with proper flashing.

Watch the video to see how to seal a Chimney Crown never to leak again

Instead sealing the chimney crown with a liquid sealant, we used a rubber membrane

The flashing on a chimney is one of the biggest reasons for roof leaks. Most of the time the metal flashing has to be inserted into a slot into the face of the brick. That part of the flashing is very vulnerable to leaks. The grout that is supposed to keep the flashing intact comes loose and falls out over a period making it easy for water to penetrate behind the flashing.

The slot was cut with a grinder into the brick to insert flashing.

Chimney flashing cut into brick
Using a angle grinder with a cutting wheel, we made this groove into the brick wall to insert metal flashing

Chimneys constructed from field stone is hardest to prevent leaks

Field Stone chimneys are hard to seal. Most of the time when a chimney causes a leak, then it will almost be a chimney constructed from field stones. There are many types of stones and some are more pores than others. It will take an excellent mason to know how to do the flashing to prevent it from leaking.

Chimneys constructed from stone are hardest to prevent leaking
When the chimney crown is compromised, the rest of the chimney will suffer cracks due to ice and water seeping into the structure

Chimney Crown is like a Roof 

When the crown of a chimney has cracks, then the entire chimney is compromised. It takes years before problems are noticed on chimneys. If a chimney is not maintained, cracks will develop causing expensive repairs later on. This picture shows how the crown was not properly made and cracks on the rest of the chimney have developed compromising the entire chimney.

Crown of Chimney with cracks - cement was poured to thin
Chimney crown with a crack cement slab. This is a common issue on chimneys

Newer Brick Chimneys

Even on newly build chimneys, one can find the cement slab separating from the bricks. This is a common problem. Most people will use some caulk to try and seal the crack. Caulking will make it worse and more costly to fix later.

Newer Brick Chimney with cracked crown
The cement slab on this chimney crown is cracked away for the bricks causing water to leak in

Chimney Crown Overkill

There are times when someone will go overboard and pour a cement slab the makes a statement. This is a chimney crown that will never crack.

Chimney Crown Overkill - a cement slab that makes a statement

Watch the video to see what to look for on a chimney to inspect if it needs maintenance

All chimneys need maintenance over the years. There are three parts to inspect. The crown, body and the flashing.

Erik explaining what a good chimney crown should look like in this video

Rubber Membrane installed over flagstone on a chimney

Some chimneys have flagstone over the top. These flagstones do deteriorate over time and dip towards the center. The flagstone could crack in the center and water gets funneled to the flue pipes. We install a rubber membrane over the flagstone to keep it from leaking.

Covering the flagstone with rubber membrane
Standing on top of the flagstone on top of a chimney. Not a very safe move

Chimneys are not always accessible.

Working on chimneys can be dangerous. This chimney was particularly high and we had to use harnesses to tie to it to secure ourselves.

Covering the flagstone on a chimney
Slabs of slate place on top of a chimney to cover the flue pipes will eventually cause leaks into the flue pipes. Our solution is to cover the slate with a rubber membrane
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