Chimney Leaks Check List

ChimneyThe best way to avoid chimney leaks is to do periodic preventive maintenance. In particular check the chimney crown, chimney flashing, and brick and mortar. These areas are vulnerable to leaks. Water or moisture can penetrate, causing problems inside the home, including mold.

When talking to a tuckpointer about chimney leaks you may be asked how old the chimney is, what materials were used to build the chimney and how it was constructed. These three variables can reveal potential problem areas. The average homeowner may not know the answers but with a physical inspection,  a tuckpointer can find out quick enough.

Check chimney materials

☑ The chimney crown is often an area where leaks can occur, especially if it is made of mortar rather than concrete.  Mortar is not as strong as concrete and can absorb water as it deteriorates over time.

☑ The kind of brick and mortar used in the chimney is also a factor. Soft, porous brick is more likely to leak. Mortar mixed with too much sand can actually soak up water. Water repellant products can limit the impact and prolong durability.

☑   Chimney flashing is used in the area where the chimney and roof line meet. Flashing requires two layers of sheet metal. One layer covers the sides of the chimney and the other is embedded in the mortar joints (counter flashing) then folded down for further protection against moisture.

Check chimney condition

☑ Look for crumbling or missing pieces on the chimney crown.  Structural damage needs immediate attention. Small cracks in the crwn can often be repaired with a sealant.

☑ Rainfall can gather in the flashing area causing leaks through the joint. This can be repaired with a sealant and mesh fabric to make the joint stron enough to  repel water.

☑ For large cracks in the brickwork, tuckpointing with new mortar is recommended.

Chimney leaks can cause damage to a home. Understanding the problem is the first step to keeping your Chicagoland home in good condition. Finding someone who can repair the problem is essential and prudent.

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About the Owner


John Gallagher

John Gallagher learned the craft of tuckpointing while in his late teens. His father, a first generation Irish immigrant and construction worker, encouraged his son’s entrepreneurial spirit. John earned a business degree from Loras College, and soon afterward he founded Shamrock Tuckpointing.

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