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Fireplaces bring a luxurious feel to a house and often appear on a homebuyer’s wanted-features list, perhaps increasing a home’s value. The National Association of Realtors conducted a homeowner’ survey in which participants listed fireplaces as one of their most sought-after features; 40 percent stated that they would pay extra if the home had one.
Fireplaces, while wonderful, can also cause water damage in your home. The Chimney Institute of America (CSIA) calls water “the biggest enemy of your masonry fireplace and chimney.” Water leakage and penetration can cause extensive damage to both the interior and the exterior of your home. Keeping water out of your chimney is key to prevent the deterioration of the entire structure. Our water damage restoration technicians are well aware of the damage water can do to a masonry chimney. In many cases, they can locate the leak, repair the interior damage, and often prevent further water penetration of your chimney.
The first step in fixing water damage is determining the cause. Is a leaky chimney the problem? Look for obvious signs such as puddles in your fireplace after a heavy rain. But even less noticeable cracks in the bricks can still be damaging.
Although chimneys look like simple brick or stone columns, they are actually complex structures with a number of different pieces and parts. Because the chimney is constantly exposed to the elements, it always is at risk for erosion. (If one side or part of your chimney is often directly exposed to rainfall or other sources of water, it may deteriorate faster than the rest of the chimney.)
One result is “chimney spalling” from too much moisture; the surface of the brick flakes away, cracks, or breaks. This is common in White Plains NY since the moisture freezes and thaws often during the winter. You may see pieces of the brick or stone on the ground or on your roof.
Another sign of water damage to the masonry and brick is efflorescence. The white residue on your chimney’s bricks is salt deposits coming out of your bricks. Efflorescence can occur due to rain, but it can also come from condensation forming within your chimney.
Other structures can fail, as well. The chimney cap protects the top of your flue from water entry, as well as animals and debris. Without a properly fitted chimney cap, the flue and fireplace are left completely exposed to water entry from rain.
Flashing is the water tight strips that seal the seam between your roof and the chimney structure. If flashing is incorrectly installed, damaged, or merely loses its seal due to wear and tear or age, water can easily seep through any gaps. This can cause water damage to not only the roof and chimney, but also the ceilings.
The risk to the chimney is clear, but any water entering the home via a damaged chimney can cause additional problems: stained ceilings, ruined drywall, rotting baseboards mold growth.
If you find water leak stains in your fireplace room, contact our water damage restoration experts to investigate now. Don’t wait until spring.
Your chimney is more complicated than you might think. There are many elements that must work together seamlessly, and when there is a problem, call for water damage restoration help. Maxons is a single source provider offering a wide variety of emergency restoration and services to coordinate all aspects of any water damage restoration project. We keep you up-to-speed on all aspects of the restoration project, using our online project management system to help you make informed decisions at every phase of your recovery.
To ensure an efficient project with great communication, you will receive a preliminary loss report within 24 hours that delivers a complete description of damages, scope of work, and initial cost estimates. The water damage restoration experts at Maxons will follow-up with daily project updates so you have the essential information you need when you need it.