What Exactly is a Chimney Crown?
Your chimney crown serves as a shield against water damage caused by small cracks. Shockingly, experts estimate that less than one percent of all chimneys have a properly built crown. Many bricklayers choose convenience over knowledge, often opting to use brick mortar to finish the chimney. Unfortunately, this neglect leads to significant damage, particularly in regions of the United States where freezing occurs.
The Importance of Chimney Crowns
Without a well-built crown, or if your current one is cracked, rainwater infiltrates the bricks and mortar of your chimney structure. During winter, this water freezes and thaws repeatedly, causing small cracks to expand into larger ones and resulting in brick peeling and deterioration of the mortar. Even the tiniest amount of water can lead to brick flaking, mortar degradation, and unsightly salt deposits on your chimney. Without a properly sealed crown, your chimney lacks adequate protection, eventually compromising its structural integrity.
Identifying a Properly Built Chimney Crown
A well-constructed chimney crown features a slope that shields the chimney from water damage. This sloping crown extends from the flue liner, past the walls, and prevents water from dripping onto the chimney’s face. It is crucial to ensure that your chimney is constructed in this manner. While inspecting your crown, also check for water absorption by the bricks, ensure the flashing at the roof-line is sealed, and confirm the presence of a chimney cover.
Seal That Crown!
While protecting your entire chimney is essential, special attention should be given to the crown. To safeguard against freezing and thawing, the crown must be sealed with a durable sealer like Crown Coat by Saver Systems or Flexible Crown by WeatherTite Industries. It’s advisable to contact a professional chimney sweep to inspect your chimney for water damage. Minor damage may appear insignificant but could worsen with another season of wet weather. Modern crown materials allow for quick and cost-effective repairs when cracks are still manageable. Remember, investing in a new crown, chimney caps, and sealant now is far more affordable and less cumbersome than replacing the entire chimney.
When is it Time to Replace a Chimney Crown?
A chimney crown is a protective cap atop your chimney that prevents soot and debris from entering your home. Over time, the crown can sustain damage and require replacement. Here are four common reasons why you may need to replace your chimney crown:
- Chimney damage: A damaged crown allows soot and debris to infiltrate the chimney, potentially leading to heating system issues and even fires.
- Cracked or missing crown: A cracked or missing crown permits rainwater and snow to enter the chimney, resulting in water damage and possible structural failure.
- Poor airflow: Interference between the Chimney Crown and the flue liner restricts airflow inside the chimney.
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