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Water Damage and Your Chimney

Since your chimney extends from your roof, it is exposed to all of the elements of weather, including rain and snow. While masonry chimneys are built to last the lifetime of a house, this constant exposure to water from rain and melted snow can cause damage and deterioration to a chimney, especially if it is neglected. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) claims that water is the biggest enemy of a masonry chimney and recommends regular maintenance to prevent expensive repairs due to water penetration damage and deterioration. Hudson Chimney would like to tell you more about how water damages your chimney and how we can help prevent this damage and deterioration.

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How can water damage my chimney?

According to the CSIA, all of the masonry materials that are used to build a chimney can suffer from accelerated damage after being exposed to water for a long period of time. Water causes the bricks and mortar to erode, and during the winter when the temperature drops below freezing, any water that has been absorbed into the bricks and mortar will freeze and expand. When the weather warms up, this water will thaw and cause the masonry materials to crack and break apart. This type of damage is also known as spalling, and if left unrepaired, it can lead to bricks and pieces of mortar falling from the chimney as well as the collapse of the entire structure. If water leaks into a chimney, it can also cause rusting damage to the liner, damper, and other metal components, and it can even damage the interior of your home by staining ceilings and walls.

How can Hudson Chimney protect my chimney from water damage?

Our CSIA-certified chimney technicians have several ways to prevent water penetration of your chimney: chimney caps, flashing, and waterproofing.

Called the least expensive way to prevent water penetration of a chimney, a chimney cap keeps water from even entering into your chimney. We have several different types of caps, and our chimney experts can help you find the perfect cap for your chimney and install the cap to completely cover the opening. Chimney caps have other benefits as well, including keeping birds and animals out of the chimney and preventing hot embers and sparks from jumping out of the chimney to ignite an accidental fire. We also have chimney caps that can help improve the draft in your chimney if you have problems with backdrafting.

Consisting of pieces of metal, flashing wraps around your chimney where it meets the roof to keep water from getting in at that point. In our years of working on chimneys, we have seen inadequate flashing systems that are coming apart and actually let water enter into the chimney. We construct customized flashing systems to completely protect your chimney from water penetration. We also work with state-licensed roofers to ensure the flashing fits correctly along the roof.

Using a 100% vapor permeable formula, our chimney technicians can waterproof your chimney by applying a coat of this formula to your entire chimney. We use ChimneySaver products that are designed especially for chimneys. This formula provides a barrier on your masonry chimney that keeps water from leaking into the bricks and mortar but allows fumes and vapors to easily escape so that they do not become trapped to cause further damage.

Protect your chimney from water damage this winter. Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an appointment for one of our water penetration prevention services.

All About Chimney Crowns

Just as you would think from the name, chimney crowns sit at the very top of masonry chimneys to prevent water and animals from getting inside the chimneys. A crucial part of a masonry chimney system, your chimney crown needs to be in good condition to best protect your chimney. If your crown is suffering from hairline cracks, your chimney could be in danger of even more cracking and spalling damage. Luckily for the residents of the Jacksonville, FL area, Hudson Chimney specializes in repairing and building chimney crowns. We would like to tell you more about this important part of your masonry chimney by sharing with you some information from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) about chimney crowns.

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What exactly does a chimney crown do?

Covering the top of the chimney to seal it from the flue liner to the chimney edge, a chimney crown constructed by Hudson Chimney provides a downward slope to direct water from the flue to the edge of the crown. Without a chimney crown, the entrance to your chimney is wide open and can easily be invaded by water from rain and melted snow and animals such as birds, raccoons, and squirrels. Both water and animals will do a lot of potentially expensive damage to your masonry chimney, which is why it is so important to have a properly built chimney crown on the top of your chimney.

What kind of damage can water and animals do to my chimney?

The CSIA calls water the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys because it erodes away bricks and mortar. Hudson Chimney often sees spalling damage, which is caused when water that has penetrated masonry materials freezes within those materials, it expands. As the water thaws out, it forces the bricks and mortar to crack and break apart. If this type of damage is left untreated, the structure of your chimney is in jeopardy as it could collapse. The greatest type of damage done by animals has more to do with the nesting materials they leave behind in your chimney. Abandoned animal nests in a chimney create dangerous hazards such as fires ignited from the materials and debris and flue blockages that can cause poisonous gases like carbon monoxide to be forced back into your home.

What are the details of a properly built chimney crown?

Constructed from a Portland cement-based mixture, a proper chimney crown should be installed so that it provides an overhang projecting beyond all sides of the chimney by a minimum of two inches. Hudson Chimney additionally ensures that the flue liner tile projects above the crown also by a minimum of two inches.

Concerned about your chimney crown? Contact Hudson Chimney to inspect the condition of your crown and make recommendations for repairs or a rebuild. You can trust us to protect the inside of your chimney with a correctly constructed and installed chimney crown.

All About HeatShield Chimney Liner Restoring

If you live in an older home with a masonry chimney, it most likely has a clay tile flue liner. Clay tiles have been used to line chimney flues since the beginning of the 20th century, and there are good reasons why. These tiles can withstand extremely high temperatures, and they hold up well against the corrosive byproducts of combustion that pass through the flue on their way out of the chimney. Once installed, clay liners will stay in good shape up to 50 years. However, when the clay tiles become cracked and chipped over time, it can be costly to repair them or to replace the liner as it is a very difficult and time-consuming task. When the HeatShield Chimney Repair and Resurfacing System was developed around 20 years ago in Europe, repairing and relining a clay tile liner became so much easier and less costly. At Hudson Chimney, our technicians are experienced with using HeatShield, and our customers who have had their clay flue liners repaired or replaced with this product have all been very satisfied. We would like to tell you more about HeatShield and what it can do for your clay tile-lined chimney.

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What exactly is HeatShield?

A specially formulated “Cerfractory” sealant material, HeatShield can restore the integrity of your chimney’s flue to vent out toxic gases from your home. Eliminating the dangers in your flue caused by cracks, gaps, and spalling, HeatShield will make your chimney as safe and as efficient as it originally was when first built. Depending on the condition of your clay tile liner, the Joint Repair system or the Resurfacing System will be used.

What does the Joint Repair system do?

If our chimney inspectors at Hudson Chimney only find defective mortar joints in your clay tile liner, we will use the Joint Repair system. First we will make a custom-made foam applicator blade to fit your chimney. Once this tool has been inserted into your chimney and positioned below each gap or void, we will then add the HeatShield Cerfractory Flue Sealant mixture. Each void and gap will be filled, and when we pull out the foam applicator blade, it will smooth the filled gaps and voids as it comes out of your chimney. Then we scan the repair with a special video camera to be sure the repairs have been done correctly.

What does the Resurfacing System do?

If your chimney liner has a cracked or spalled flue but is still sound, we will use the Resurfacing System. Again, we will make a custom-fit foam applicator plug that will be placed at the bottom of the flue and attached to a winch atop the chimney. We then prime and clean your old liner with a “tie coat” material, which is applied to the flue walls by pulling the plug upwards with the winch. After this coat dries, we then apply the HeatShield mixture with the foam plug in the same way we applied the primer. This method is called “slip casting” or “slip cast extrusion.” After this is applied, we will look at the scanned video to be sure your entire chimney is sealed and smoke-tight.

Have more questions about HeatShield? Contact Hudson Chimney to talk to our staff to see if HeatShield is right for your clay tile chimney liner.

How Water Can Damage Your Chimney

If your home has a masonry fireplace, you might know that the Chimney Institute of America (CSIA) has named water as the biggest enemy of your chimney. Water penetration of your chimney is the biggest cause of expensive and extensive damage to the interior and the exterior of your home. Keeping water out of your chimney is the essential key to prevent the deterioration of the entire structure. At Hudson Chimney, our CSIA-certified technicians are well aware of the damage water can do to a masonry chimney, and we can find the leak, repair the damage, and then prevent further water penetration of your chimney. Often asked by our customers how water can be such a big problem, we would like to share three ways water leaks can do lots of damage to a masonry chimney.

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1. Water leaks can cause brick and mortar spalling, which can lead to structural damage.

The exterior bricks and mortar of your chimney suffer a great deal of water exposure, and this water will penetrate into the materials, which causes them to erode. When this trapped water freezes inside your bricks and mortar, the breaking apart, cracking, and loss of masonry materials occurs when the temperatures rise and the water thaws. The expansion of the thawed water can be too much for bricks to endure, which is why they become loose and/or break off of your chimney. This phenomenon is known as spalling, and unrepaired spalling can lead to possible severe structural damage of your chimney. Additionally, water will continue to invade your chimney through the holes provided by the spalled bricks and mortar. If you ever notice loose bricks or mortar on the exterior of your chimney, contact Hudson Chimney for a chimney inspection. We will repair the damage and waterproof your chimney to prevent spalling from occurring again.

2. Water leaks can cause cracks and other deteriorations to your chimney flue liner, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Water penetration not only affects the bricks and mortar of your chimney, but it causes damage to your interior flue liner as well. If you have a clay chimney liner, cracks will form due to water leaks, and if you have a metal chimney liner, rusting will occur from water exposure. Both of these problems can cause your liner to break apart and crack. A cracked liner can be a health hazard since your chimney liner serves to protect you and your family from the by-products of combustion, like toxic smoke and carbon monoxide, from entering your home. At Hudson Chimney, we can repair and restore clay chimney liners with HeatShield, and we can replace damaged liners with a durable stainless steel.

3. Water leaks can cause interior damage to your home, including stained walls and ceilings and mold growth.

Not only does water penetration of a masonry chimney cause many issues to the chimney itself, but a leaky chimney can also stain the ceilings and walls of the room where your fireplace is located. If you find water leak stains in your fireplace room, you should also consider the possibility of mold growth in the ceilings, walls, fireplace, and chimney. Contact Hudson Chimney as soon as possible if you ever see this sort of water penetration damage.

If you have more questions on what types of damage water penetration can do to a masonry chimney, contact Hudson Chimney today. We are happy to help you repair and prevent this kind of damage to your fireplace and chimney.

Fixing Leaky Chimneys in the Middleburg, Florida Area

Fixing a leaking chimney quickly can prevent thousands of dollars worth of damage. Leaky chimneys can lead to mold growth, water stains, drywall distortion, and insulation damage. Most importantly, small leaks that may seem insignificant will eventually become bigger leaks that create more damage to your home and that will cost more to repair.Fixing Leaky Chimneys - Middleburg FL - Hudson Chimney

Calling a professional to fix your leaky chimney is not only safer than making the attempt to fix it yourself, but it also ensures that the best – and the correct – repairs are made. The professionals at Hudson Chimney  can locate the source or sources of the leaks and fix them accordingly. They will work to not only repair any damages, but to also prevent further damage.

Calling chimney professionals such as those at Hudson Chimney rather than roofing professionals is also important if you think your chimney is what is leaking. Professionals at Hudson Chimney have the expertise and tools necessary to find and fix a chimney leak, while roofing professionals have the expertise and tools to fix roofs. Signs that your chimney and not your roof is leaking include water-stains around your chimney, cracking in your flu lining, a collapsing chimney, and the staining of your chimney or the mortar.

There are several possible problems if your chimney is leaking, all of which Hudson Chimney is CSI-certified to repair:

  •  If the leak is coming from your chimney crown, Hudson Chimney can repair it with a crown coating material. It is important to fix small cracks because water can seep into the cracks, freeze and expand, and thus make the cracks bigger. If the chimney crown has bigger cracks, Hudson Chimney can replace the crown.
  •  If there is damage to the chimney flashing, or the metal sheeting that protects the gaps between your chimney and the roof, only a professional should attempt to fix it. Hudson Chimney offers this service to not only prevent further leaking, but to ensure the lifespan of your chimney.
  •  There might be damage to shingles surrounding your chimney. Professionals at Hudson Chimney can replace the shingles for you to stop the leaking.
  •  The erosion of mortar joints can easily lead to holes and thus leaks. Professionals at Hudson Chimney have been working for over thirty years to fix such problems and worse.

Once any cracks in bricks or mortar have been fixed, the professionals at Hudson Chimney can apply ChimneySaver’s Water Repellent to prevent water from seeping into the chimney. Bricks and mortar absorb water, which can cause leaking. Water repellent allows for the brick or mortar to keep water out while still letting the materials breathe. Therefore, it is important to use a water repellent and not a sealer, which will trap moisture created inside the chimney in the bricks or mortar and cause further damage. ChimneySaver’s Water Repellent does the job by blocking 99.9 percent of water from penetrating the bricks or mortar of your chimney while still being 100 percent vapor permeable, or letting your chimney breathe. Professionals at Hudson Chimney can also install chimney caps or chimney pans to prevent water from entering your chimney.

Repair your leaky chimney, and you will save yourself time and money as well as ensure your chimney’s longevity.

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