The most important parts of the chimney system are those that keep water out, because water destroys masonry from the inside out. When these parts of the chimney become damaged, it’s only a matter of time until water penetrates the system and damages it and the home. This causes a drop in efficiency, raising fire risk, and can cost a fortune to repair.
The Chimney Crown
The chimney crown is a slab of concrete that tops the chimney. It’s basically a ceiling for the area of the chimney that extends from the flue pipe to the edge of the chimney. The crown is made specifically for one purpose–to keep water out of the chimney. It reaches through the flue opening and overhangs the edge of the masonry by two inches (to keep water from running down the sides of the chimney). It is designed to slant away from the flue so that water runs off easily, and it should be a minimum of 4 inches thick at the edges, to withstand the abuse of time, weather, and heat.
Chimney Crown Damage
Even a well-maintained chimney crown can become damaged over time. The chimney crown may develop minor cracks and voids and those can grow into a big problem in a single burn season due to sun exposure, harsh weather, and animal tampering.
Most homeowners will not notice a chimney crown problem because its location is out of sight. What homeowners will notice, is the result of water damage, but by that time, the damage is already extensive:
-Rotting wood around or near the chimney
-Spalling or cracked bricks and mortar
-Collapsed or partially collapsed chimney
-Rusted fireplace and chimney components
-Stained walls and ceiling
-Musty, moldy chimney odor
-Damaged flue liner
Chimney Crown Repairs
Because the average homeowner will not notice a problem until damage occurs, it’s important to schedule annual chimney inspections. A chimney expert will recognize a chimney crown problem before it is serious. When a chimney sweep notices cracks and gaps, he can repair them swiftly with CrownCoat. CrownCoat is an industrial product that seals cracks and prevents them from worsening as well as waterproofing the crown and preventing further damage.
If the damage to the crown is more extensive, it may need to be replaced completely. At Brickliners, we use two methods of replacing a crown. Our technicians can construct a new crown from poured concrete and treat it with CrownCoat for added protection. This method comes with a 10-year warranty! The other method is less effective and will only last for about 5 years, called a crown wash. This method is thinner and offers less protection from water both on the top of the crown and on the sides of the chimney. A Brickliners chimney wash comes with a 5-year warranty.
If your chimney crown can be repaired using CrownCoat, or if it needs a complete rebuild, our goal is to keep your chimney safe and efficient. The crown wash is a great temporary option, and cheaper than a poured chimney crown. Call a chimney sweep today to talk about your chimney crown and your options for a safe burn season this year.