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Water Damage And Your Masonry Chimney: What You Need To Do To Protect Your Chimney

If you own a home with a fireplace, you probably don't give much thought to the chimney. The mere fact that it's outside and out of sight causes many people to simply forget about the need for maintenance. However, maintenance for a masonry chimney is especially important, especially when it comes to water damage. Over the years, constant exposure to rain, snow and other moisture can lead to a number of issues. Make sure you understand the consequences of neglecting maintenance and what you can do to protect your chimney.

Water Damage

Chimneys are typically designed with one large flue or several small flues at the top. While this is necessary to keep harmful fumes out of your home, during periods of heavy rain or snow a considerable amount of moisture can collect inside these areas. This is generally where the problem occurs. During the colder months of the year, this collected moisture often goes through a continuous cycle of freezing and then thawing.

Each time this happens, this causes the bricks to expand and contract. Deterioration, loosening of the stones and stone cracking are just some of the issues that occur as a result of expansion and contraction. Water damage doesn't just cause your chimney to look bad, but it also causes a safety risk, as the chimney could easily collapse.

Preventing Damage

With all the harsh consequences of water damage, it should come as a relief that you can prevent much of this damage. Best of all, it's fairly simple to do so. One of the easiest things you can do to prevent damage is to install a rain cover, sometimes referred to as a chimney cap. Rain covers are installed directly over the flue to limit the amount of water that collects inside.

Additionally, rain covers serve a dual purpose by also working as a spark arrestor. A spark arrestor is designed to keep sparks from landing on top of your roof or another nearby surface, such as a tree, and starting a fire. Keep in mind that standard rain covers are designed to only cover a large portion of the flue. However, more expensive options offer full coverage. If you're looking for long-term coverage and you don't mind a higher initial investment, have the repair technician install a full rain cover.

As a homeowner, it's important to protect your investment. Staying on top of your chimney's maintenance needs is one way to accomplish this goal. For more help with chimney maintenance, contact a company like Steve's Masonry Service.