chimney flashing repair

The Chimney Flashing Repair Process: What We Do

Leaks within a chimney may not be immediately obvious. In fact, without regular inspections, homeowners may not notice chimney leaks until they cause bigger issues like wood rot and/or roof damage. Left long enough, chimney leaks can affect the structure of the entire fireplace system. What's more, broken or worn chimney flashing often allows chimney leakage to occur. Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about chimney flashing, chimney flashing repair, and what you can do to protect your home from water damage. 

What is Chimney Flashing?

Chimney flashing consists of two sheets of metal that are placed at the base where a chimney intersects with the roof. These sheets are layered –– one placed in an L-shape over the chimney and connecting roof area –– with the other placed over the L-shape sheet to cover mortar joints and shingles. The primary function of chimney flashing is to prevent moisture from entering at the vulnerable point where the chimney connects to the roof.  Also, professionals may use copper, lead, or steel chimney flashing. 

Signs of a Leaky Chimney

In many instances, a compromised chimney flashing will lead to leaking within the chimney. A few subtle signs of a leaking chimney include: 

  • Condensation in the firebox
  • Water dropping in the chimney
  • Moisture stains on the walls connected to the chimney
  • Musty chimney odors. 

If you perceive any of these issues, schedule a chimney inspection ASAP. 

Repairing Chimney Flashing

Repairing and/or replacing chimney flashing can be an intricate process. And it’s important that professionals install chimney flashing correctly–– otherwise your home could be vulnerable to further water damage. At Brickworks, we follow this process to repair and replace chimney flashing: 

  • Inspect the caulking around the chimney flashing. Occasionally, chimney leakage can be stopped completely just by re-caulking the area between the flashing and the chimney stack.
  • Remove old chimney flashing. Take away all of the old metal, wood, and mortar connected to the chimney stack. 
  • Measure the area for accuracy. 
  • Use purified and soldered metal (to protect against oxidation). 
  • Tuckpoint the area around the chimney stack where the flashing will be installed. 
  • Install the flashing one sheet at a time. 
  • Install a chimney cricket –– if needed. (Typically only for houses with chimneys located on the downslope of a roof.)

How to Prevent Chimney Leaks

In addition to faulty chimney flashing, other factors can cause chimney leaks. Worn mortar joints, spalling bricks, and broken chimney caps may all allow for moisture to enter your home through your chimney. That’s why we recommend all homeowners with chimneys schedule inspections twice a year. Keeping tabs on any small issues with your chimney now could eliminate the need for big home-repair payments later.  

Final Thoughts

At Brickworks, we have years of experience working with homeowners and businesses in the Detroit metro area. Our team is professional, thorough, and we only use the highest quality materials when we take on a project. If you’re concerned about a leaky chimney –– or if you’re overdue for an inspection –– give us a call today at (586) 330-4920, and we’ll schedule an appointment time that works for you.

Tips And Tricks To Removing Efflorescence On Brick

One of the many appeals of a brick home is the classic appearance brick exteriors have. A brick house isn’t just a structurally sound building –– it also has a lot of aesthetic charm too. Unfortunately, certain stains and issues can arise that can tarnish the timeless look of a brick home. A very common type of brick stain is known as efflorescence. Efflorescence is salt deposit left on brick surfaces as a result of exposure to water. Don’t be fooled though –– even homes far away from salt-water bodies can be subjected to efflorescence. Fortunately, today we’re going to provide useful tips for preventing, identifying, and removing efflorescence on brick surfaces.

What Causes Efflorescence? 

The short answer to this question is water. Because brick is porous, it is susceptible to water damage. When there is a surfeit of water in the soil around brick structures, water and water soluble salts can enter the microscopic gaps within bricks. Eventually, these salts will make their way to a brick surface and be left as a deposit after water evaporates. 

Is Efflorescence a Serious Problem? 

Efflorescence on its own won’t cause significant damage to a brick structure –– even if it is an eyesore. Yet, the mere presence of efflorescence could indicate an issue with drainage around a brick home. And, if ignored, water damage over time could lead to serious issues like foundation problems. 

What Does Efflorescence Look Like? 

Efflorescence appears as a white, chalky substance on the surface of bricks. (Unsurprisingly, it looks like salt.) It may feel loose at first, but it will harden over time. 

How Can You Prevent Efflorescence? 

Ideally, homeowners should seek to prevent efflorescence and other brick stains from forming in the first place. There are several ways to reduce the risk of efflorescence forming on your home. 

First, install or repair your drainage system. If water collects on or near the base of your home, efflorescence could be the least of your worries down the line. 

Second, ensure that your foundation doesn’t rest flush on top of soil. Failing to amend this issue will allow moisture and water soluble salts to infiltrate the structure directly. 

Third, apply a brick sealant to protect your exteriors. Note, make sure that you’re using a sealant that allows bricks to “breathe” and that doesn’t trap water particles underneath. Such sealants could actually make the problem worse. 

Removing Efflorescence

Time is a big factor for those looking to remove efflorescence on their own. If you’re able to spot efflorescence soon after it forms, you may be able to remove it by power washing your brick exterior. (Word to the wise: excessive power washing in and of itself isn’t great for brick walls, so use this approach sparingly.) 

If, however, the efflorescence has hardened, you probably won’t be able to remove it with just water. In this instance, homeowners can remove efflorescence stains using a muriatic acid solution and by scrubbing thoroughly. Remember, you should always use safety goggles and gloves when using cleaning materials like these. 

The Bottom Line

The best approach to removing efflorescence is to contact the Brickworks team for assistance. Not only will we be able to treat and remove the stains efficiently and effectively, but we’ll also examine your home to ensure you’re not facing any serious water damage issues. A check-up now could save you thousands down the line. Call us today at (586) 330-4920 if you’ve experienced efflorescence or similar stains –– we’re ready to help protect your home!