Storm Damage And Your Chimney
St. Louis is notorious for the variety of storms we endure through each season. From high winds and heavy rainfall, to hail and snowstorms, we’ve experienced all of them at one point this year.
Your chimney is the highest point of the house, making it susceptible to suffering the most damage during storms. If your home recently endured bad weather, you’ll want to keep an eye out for these indications your chimney was damaged.
Common Indications of Storm Damage
Your Chimney Leaks In Heavy Rain
Heavy storm damages can affect your chimney’s structural integrity. One of the most common indicators your structure has damage is if you notice your chimney leaks during heavy rainstorms.
Chimney leakage is often attributed to high winds, heavy precipitation, and excess rainfall. Any one of these can cause water damage and seriously affect the chimney’s structure, making it unstable and unsafe.
You Notice Rain Coming Down the Flue
Rainwater seeping down your chimney’s flue is a common symptom of storm damage. Your chimney should be designed to protect your fireplace from rain, snow, and ice intrusion. If you notice water entering the flue and into the fireplace, that’s an indication your chimney’s protective barrier or structure was damaged.
Discoloration of Bricks
Your chimney’s bricks changing colors can indicate undetected water damage. As bricks age, they become porous and prone to soaking up water. White discoloration marks can identify water absorption on the brick. This discoloration is more than just a visual issue, as it also means your chimney structure is weakened by consistent waterlogging.
Your Chimney Cap Blew Off
Heavy storms can dislodge and damage your chimney caps, which are protective covers designed to protect your chimney from excessive water intake. If you check your chimney after a storm and see your chimney cap blew off, it’s necessary to replace it.
In addition to preventing moisture from leaking into your chimney, they also serve as a protective barrier. Chimney caps protect your structure from rust, snow, and rain accumulation, while acting as a barrier to keep bugs and animals out of your chimney.
The Dangers of Chimney Water Damage
Chimney degradation from storm damage can have severe consequences for your ceilings, walls, and structural beams. Water is highly problematic for chimneys for a few reasons.
The bricks and masonry materials used to construct your chimney are naturally porous. This makes the structure itself susceptible to water damage, as the bricks and mortar are prone to water absorption.
This stagnant water becomes increasingly dangerous in the colder months, as it’s prone to freezing. The frozen water expands inside the masonry, cracking the structure and leaving weak points for future storms.
The process of water freezing, cracking the brick, absorbing water from new storms, and repeating the cycle can cause considerable chimney structure damage. This process causes your mortar joints and brick to crumble and crack away.
Water that seeps through the cracks in the masonry can then make its way into your home’s structure, damaging your home’s foundation, walls and ceilings.
Beyond structural issues, water damage can create health issues in your home as well. When water gets into your home, it seeps into your walls, foundation, carpeting, and other nooks and crannies. Moisture accumulation leads to mold and mildew buildup, which can pose a severe health risk to you and your family.
As the mold develops, it releases spores into the air, susceptible to inhalation and ingestion by building occupants. Ingesting black mold spores on a regular basis can lead to serious health complications
Mold spores only need 24 to 48 hours before growing into a serious problem. The damp spaces caused by chimney leakage are an ideal breeding ground for toxic molds.
To assess if your chimney has mold damage, look for watermarks around the fireplace and walls. Preventative measures, such as waterproofing, can help mediate your chimney’s structural issues and health concerns.
When’s the last time you replaced your chimney liner?
Take a look at our blog on how to recognize signs of a damaged or outdated chimney liner.
Advantages of Waterproofing Your Chimney
Water penetration is the most frequent cause of chimney deterioration and damage. Waterproofing your chimney is a simple and easy task focused on eliminating avenues for water to enter your home. This not only extends your chimney’s lifespan but protects your house from future water damage and health concerns associated with it.
Chimney leaks are a frustrating problem for many homeowners; and waterproofing is consistently the best way to alleviate leakage issues. There are several potentially exposed avenues on your chimney that water can damage, but brick and mortar joints are usually the most obvious places to start.
The mortar used to glue bricks is less durable than the chimney’s masonry. Due to weather and time, the mortar begins to crumble, flake off, and decay. Neglecting to resolve mortar damage can eventually lead to the structure’s collapse. Waterproofing your mortar is an effective way to ensure your chimney foundation is safe from weather damage, and any potential avenues for water leakage are filled.
Preventative measures can be taken on other areas of your chimney to further ensure protection from storm damage.
Professional chimney services usually offer waterproofing solutions for your entire chimney. They’ll offer services focused on coating the masonry with a vapor-permeable sealant specially designed for waterproofing chimneys. This sealant allows your chimney to breathe, releasing smoke, gas, and heat while preventing the structure from absorbing moisture from rain, sleet, and snow.
Additionally, reinforcing your flashing can significantly decrease your chimney’s water retention. Flashing is a metal seal bridging the gap between the chimney and the roof. Broken and damaged flashing heavily contribute to chimney leaks. Professional chimney services also offer flashing repair/construction to ensure your chimney has a watertight seal.
Chimney Waterproofing Professionals In St. Louis
Approved Home Improvements prides ourselves in making local homes safer since 1991. Our waterproofing solutions are focused on preventive measures to reduce the potential water damage to your chimney, while repairing any issues.
AHI has maintained an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau by providing impeccable service our clients trust. If you’re looking for a high-quality chimney solution, reach out to our experts today.