Think you may have a roof leak? Think again. If you are finding water spots around your fireplace you may have a chimney leak. If your chimney is made of brick or stone it will most likely require some type of maintenance to prevent leakage over time. Failure to make these types of repairs can result in unsightly and potentially serious chimney leaks. Other ways to detect a chimney leak include if you notice water running down the flue, or if exposed chimney masonry work becomes wet when it rains.
The top of your chimney could have cracked over the years and this could cause water to enter inside your home. While brick is solid stone, there is often cement and other filler materials that were used to build your chimney that can become more easily damaged and need repair over time. Other times more porous brick is used in a chimney for their aesthetic appearance. It's important to make the decision between looks and quality when building a chimney, or choosing a home with this type of appliance already installed because some types of bricks can let moisture in.
A professional masonry company will most likely inspect the roof flashing to determine where the leak is coming from. This is usually done by hosing down the outer part of the chimney and seeing where the water is entering. Determining if the water is coming from one or multiple spots will determine the type of repair needed on your chimney. In many minor cases, the old flashing seal can easily scraped out and replaced in one sitting.
On the other hand, if you have a leak in the brick and mortar of your appliance, you may need to remove all the loose mortar and replace is with new material. This is not a very serious repair, but will require more materials and more time to complete. It's important to consult with a masonry company at the first sign of a leak. The more water a chimney absorbs, the more damage your chimney will endure. By properly sealing any cracks in your appliance at the first sign of a leak you will be able to prevent further and more extensive damage to your chimney and the rest of your home.
If you are inexperienced, do not try to repair any leaks in your chimney by yourself. Not only is venturing to your roof a very dangerous activity, you could also create more damage to your chimney by failing to repair it properly. You may not be able to detect all the cracks causing a leak inside your home, but a professional uses specialized tools used for thorough inspection. Trust a local masonry and chimney repair company to come inspect your chimney and recommend and execute the proper type of repair. Doing so will save you money because the job will be finished more quickly. It will also save you time and stress, as hiring a professional will give you peace of mind when handling your chimney leak.