Much like the roadways, when water gets into the masonry structure of the chimney, it begins to deteriorate the masonry, and separate the mortar from the bricks or stone. Very often the effects are unseen until it is too late, and major reconstruction is necessary.
Water damage can destroy the structure of a chimney to the point that it is barely standing. Still, very often, an untrained eye would not see the signs of damage, however, the chimney can be standing on its own just from the weight of the masonry, and tip over with a powerful gust of wind.
Common tell-tale signs that there is moisture getting into the chimney would include cracks in the masonry joints between the brick or stone or any sort of botanical growth from the chimney.
These signs should be addressed immediately. This would include any crack large enough to stick the tip of a pen into, any form of moss, algae, or any type of plant or tree growing from the joints in your chimney. (Yes, we’ve seen trees growing out of chimneys!)
Efflorescence from a masonry chimney is also a sign that there is water damage. Efflorescence is a mineral that is in brick that leeches to the outside of the brick when water damage occurs. It appears to be a white powdery substance on the outside of the chimney. (This is shown prominently in the first picture above.)
The easiest solution to keeping water out of the chimney is to waterproof it. There are many different options for waterproofing masonry, but you need to be careful in what you select. While waterproofing a chimney will keep water from penetrating the masonry, water still forms within the structure through condensation.
If the solution is not designed properly, it can actually cause MORE damage to the chimney. A waterproofing solution must be “breathable,” meaning that it allows moisture that has gotten inside of the masonry structure to be released. Therefore, it keeps water out, but also allows trapped water to release from inside.
Certain solutions, such as silicone-based waterproofing options, and “paintable” waterproofing options will actually trap moisture inside of the masonry, making it impossible for the moisture to escape to the outside. This causes what is known as “spalling”. Spalling brick will actually pop off of the structure, and a pock mark will appear. This leads to major deterioration of the chimney.
At Chimneys Plus, we use a water-based solvent formula which we spray onto the masonry in a layered format. When the solvent dries onto the masonry, it forms a layer on the structure that keeps water from penetrating.
The water will actually bead up and run down the chimney, much like Rain-X would do for a car’s windshield. Because of the water base, the solution allows the chimney to breathe, which allows moisture and vapors to release from the masonry, prolonging the life of the chimney structure. All waterproofing jobs offer a 10 Year Warranty.
Pricing depends on square footage of the chimney. Call us today to set up an inspection and get a quote to have your chimney waterproofed.