On rainy days many homeowners are inside where it’s nice and dry. Perhaps relaxing on the sofa with a good book or playing games with the kids to keep them occupied. But outside your chimney is in a battle and Mother Nature almost always wins. That’s because water is the chimney’s mortal enemy. And it’s not only rain. The pounding sleet and snow, freezing rain and even condensation can also wear down the chimney.
Over time moisture will soften the exposed bricks and mortar. The softened masonry is weakened further during the freeze/thaw cycle. You may even notice pieces of bricks and mortar on the ground. In more severe cases, entire bricks can fall from the chimney that can ultimately cause the structure to collapse. As the porous masonry soaks up the moisture, it expands during freezing. This process causes tiny cracks in the bricks allowing water to leak inside the chimney when it thaws. Water leaks can be especially dangerous. It can damage your flue liner, rust the damper and other metal components and increase the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Waterproofing your chimney will help equip it to win the battle against Mother Nature.
Make chimney repairs
Before waterproofing your chimney, it is essential to make any necessary chimney repairs. Otherwise, you are just preserving its already weakened condition which can lead to more extensive renovations in the future. An experienced chimney mason will perform tuck pointing to repair spalling and missing bricks. If the chimney has extensive damage, it may require rebuilding or a complete renovation.
Start with a clean chimney
Once the chimney repairs are completed, the next step is to clean the chimney. It’s critical to eliminate the dirt, grime, algae, mold, and other contaminants before the water sealant application. Dirt, fungus, and bacteria are not only an eyesore, but they can also damage the masonry. Use low pressure to wash the bricks as high pressure can damage them. When the masonry is clean and dry, it is ready for the waterproofing application.
Choosing and applying the water repellent
There are a variety of water sealants on the market with different strengths. But not all consumer products are best for all chimneys. And if it’s not correctly applied your chimney will still be vulnerable to water damage. It is highly recommended that you consult with a qualified chimney professional in your area. It is the best way to ensure you are using the right waterproofing product for your chimney. They will use an industrial-strength formula and guarantee its application with a five to ten-year warranty. You will need to re-apply the water sealant before the warranty expires to maintain its water protection.