Residential home improvement projects often revolve around improving the aesthetics of a home. But many times functional projects are required to protect your home, like roof replacements and chimney repairs. Homeowners often overlook the importance of maintaining their chimneys. When a Phil Beaulieu Home Improvement (PBHI) representative evaluates a roof, they will always inspect the chimney for potential repairs.
Having your chimney repaired at the same time as getting your roof replaced is ideal. However, it’s still valuable to get your chimney evaluated periodically for leaks or damage. At PBHI, we will take close-up photos of your chimney so you can know the exact condition it is in. At the very least, we will suggest replacing the lead around the chimney as part of the roof replacement. Here are some other factors you should know about when it comes to chimney repairs for your home.
Common Chimney Problems To Be Aware Of
The benefit of working with a family-owned home improvement business is you can always trust them. PBHI will never recommend repairs that aren’t beneficial for the longevity of your home. With that being said, some common chimney problems might need to be addressed before they become worse.
The masonry crown is the most common area that needs work on a chimney. This is the crown on top of the chimney and it can decay more quickly than any other part. Luckily, if the rest of the chimney is in good shape, then just the crown can be replaced without damaging the rest of the structure.
A missing flue cap is also a common problem many homeowners are not aware of. A quality contractor will notice this and add a flue cap to the top of the chimney. This prevents bats, birds, and other animals from entering your home via the chimney. Flue caps also can prevent water from leaking down into your basement.
Chimney Bricks Often Need Attention
The exterior bricks on your home should be examined periodically, and so should the bricks on your chimney. Our residential home improvement experts can identify potential issues with chimney bricks when examining your roof. If the mortar is chipping, breaking, or decaying, they will suggest fixing them as soon as possible. We can replace the bad mortar by repointing the chimney, including replacing bad bricks and refinishing the rest of the mortar throughout the chimney.
Sealing the chimney with mansonry sealant is part of the chimney brick maintenance as well. Depending on the style of brick, some bricks can be very porous and can soak up water more than you think. This can result in water leaks even when there isn’t visible chimney damage. Our residential home improvement experts can apply an easy fix by coating the entire chimney with clear masonry sealant. This should be reapplied every 2-4 years for maximum protection at all times.
When Can A Cricket Be Beneficial For Chimneys?
Homes with a steep roof pitch might consider having a cricket installed on the top side of the base of their chimney. Steep roof pitches can make water flow at a high rate and damage the chimney over time. Of course, the exact location of the chimney on the roof needs to be considered, which our PBHI representatives will evaluate precisely.
When a large amount of water flows down at the base of the chimney, it can eventually overwhelm the flashing and cause leaks. What our experts often see are problems when a chimney is located along the wall of a two-tiered roof, where the lower roof section abuts a wall. We have seen where water runs down the wall and overwhelms the flashing at the base of the chimney that runs along the wall.
Installing a cricket can prevent these problems from happening. The process requires stripping the roofing from around the top of the chimney to expose the roof sheathing. Our professionals will then construct a pitched A-frame structure to abut the top side of the base of the chimney. This acts as a water diverter so the water moves around the chimney and not directly on the base.
If your chimney already has a cricket installed, we will examine it to ensure it is installed for maximum effectiveness. Our residential home improvement experts can easily modify your cricket to divert water properly no matter the pitch of the roof. Once we have the cricket properly installed, we will install an ice and water barrier material and install flashing around the chimney and walls as necessary. The final step is to replace the roof shingles around the chimney.
Can Chimneys Be Replaced?
In some situations, it makes more sense to replace a chimney rather than try to repair it. When repairs would be as costly as a replacement or unsafe to perform, we will recommend a replacement. The process of replacing a chimney includes demolishing it down to the roofline. We always use quality materials when rebuilding a chimney, including installing a new flue, flue cap, masonry crown, lead flashing, and replacing any surrounding roof shingles. Your chimney will be brand new and you only have to worry about maintaining the chimney going forward.
As a family-owned home improvement business, PBHI thinks about your current and future needs with every home improvement project. Minor repairs and maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your chimney significantly. Chimney repairs often get overlooked, but our experts will inspect it every time we are on your roof to ensure it’s in good condition. No matter what your home improvement needs are, contact us to see how we can help.