With spring comes the need for chimney repairs and leak prevention, and one important part of maintaining chimney health is waterproofing. Which is why we’re here to answer some of the more common waterproofing-related questions you may have.
We’ll aim to get them all addressed here, but if there’s something we’ve missed, feel free to reach out! Our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified team is always happy to help.
How is water harmful to brick and mortar?
Here’s the deal. Brickwork has a strong reputation for being sturdy and dependable (which it is), but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be regularly maintained and protected. And what most don’t realize is that bricks are extremely absorbent, meaning water can easily soak in and cause cracking, decay, and other types of deterioration.
Then, there’s the freeze/thaw process, which is especially harmful. The weather gets pretty chilly here in Nashville during the winter. And what happens to water when temps go below freezing? It turns to ice and expands. This puts a lot of extra pressure on your system as a whole and causes cracking to occur – through which more water enters down the line.
This cycle typically occurs multiple times a season meaning you’ll be ending the burning period with a lot more damage than you started with, and it’s why stopping water from entering in the first place is such a must.
In addition to masonry damage, water can also cause…
- rust on your chimney cap and/or chase cover
- damper deterioration
- rusted/damaged flashing
- staining on your interior walls & ceiling
- mold and mildew accumulation
- rotted woodwork
- a tilted or collapsed chimney
- damage to your chimney liner
- clogs, if your liner breaks off into your flue
- firebox deterioration
- …and more
In the end, it’s easy to understand why chimney sweeps emphasize the need for leak prevention and water damage so much. And why, not surprisingly, the CSIA has deemed it chimney’s number one enemy.
Waterproofing DIY… Yay or nay?
We get this question a lot, and not just about waterproofing… is DIY an option? Let’s just say that, when it comes to your chimney, most things should be completed by a professional, and waterproofing is no exception. The simple fact is that you’re lighting a fire inside of your home, which means all necessary precautions must be taken or you’ll face serious risks – and a certified sweep will know just how to approach it all.
Now, when it comes to waterproofing specifically, the problem with DIY is that portions of the structure tend to get missed or overlooked when a trained pro isn’t doing the job. Which means you’ll put in time, effort, and expense only to continue experiencing damage (that’s going to cost even more of your money to fix).
Another common problem is that cheaper, store-bought products won’t offer the high level of vapor permeability necessary for keeping your system in tip-top shape. And they’re also known for leaving a glossy/unsightly shine or film – no thanks.
What is vapor permeability & why is it important?
Vapor permeability has to do with your system’s ability to breath out any necessary water vapors. As mentioned above, your brickwork can soak in moisture quite easily, and if the waterproofing products used on it are not vapor permeable, any soaked-in water won’t be able to eventually vent out (and deterioration, as well as the freeze/thaw process, will still be able to occur).
This isn’t something you’ll need to worry about when you hire our experts.
My last inspection revealed no damage… Do I still need waterproofing?
First of all, great job booking your inspection! Annual inspections are essential when it comes to maintaining chimney health, and they guarantee a safer (and more satisfying) burning season for you and your family year after year.
That said, if you want your system to remain damage-free, then yes, waterproofing is still a must. Without it, it’s only a matter of time until water starts wreaking havoc.
Is there an ideal time of year for waterproofing?
If you’re looking to get the best results from your waterproofing services, you’ll want to aim to get them completed in the spring or summer. This gives the products ample time to soak in and dry out before your system has to face colder, harsher weather again.
This is also a more convenient time for repairs, inspections, and sweepings! Many push maintenance off until fall (AKA our busy season), which all too often leads to scheduling conflicts and a delayed start to your burning season. And the colder it gets, the less effective certain repairs jobs become, as materials often need to cure in warmer weather.
Basically… if you need care, cross it off your to-do list early by scheduling with us today! When temps cool, you’ll be happy to have it done, and you’ll be able to light your first fire with the peace of mind you deserve.
How can I keep my prefab system protected?
Prefabricated chimneys aren’t made from masonry, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need protection from water. You’ll want to ensure you have a properly fitted chase cover, and it should be made from reliable materials, too. And if you’re still using the stock cover your system came with, be sure to get in touch with us right away, as they tend to not last as long as you’d think.
And be sure you have a well-fitted chimney cap installed, too! Our professionals would be happy to help with it all.
Get Scheduled Today
Don’t put it off any longer… summer is just weeks away, and before we know it, fall will be back around in full swing. Get waterproofing off your checklist early, so you can rest easier!
Call 615-510-7380 or reach out to us online to schedule your appointment.