Repairing Chimney Crowns and Flashing Without a Full Chimney Replacement


When a chimney becomes badly damaged, it can put the house at serious risk. In some cases, Chimney Repair Charleston SC is required. However, targeted fixes can upgrade fundamental components like the crown and chimney flashing without a full chimney rebuild.

The most obvious sign of a chimney needing repair is cracking mortar joints. This is caused by the erosion of bricks due to weather and seismic events.


The chimney crown, found at the top of your chimney, is like a little concrete roof covering and protecting your entire structure. It is designed to keep moisture, debris and birds away from the masonry and protects the walls, damper and flue liner from water penetration. Chimney crown damage, left untreated, can lead to a host of problems resulting in expensive repairs and possible replacement of your chimney system.

The problem with a cracked chimney crown is that it allows water to penetrate the masonry and cause serious and costly damage. This is because brick and mortar act much like a sponge, naturally absorbing moisture, which then freezes and thaws with each passing rainstorm or chimney fire. This constant cycle causes masonry to weaken, which is why a properly built chimney crown is so important.

Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize that their chimney crown is damaged until it is exposed during an annual inspection or they notice extensive water damage to the interior masonry. If you notice cracks or other damage to the chimney crown, it is important to have it repaired by a certified chimney mason as soon as possible.

If the chimney crown has only a few hairline cracks, a waterproof sealant may be sufficient to stop additional damage from occurring. However, if the crown has significant cracks, crumbling mortar joints or spalling brick (bricks that are chipping or splintering) it is likely time to consider a chimney crown rebuild.

The best way to determine the type of chimney repair required for your chimney crown is to have a professional chimney sweep examine it. A good mason can repair minor cracks in the chimney crown using a brush-applied, permanent waterproof sealant, such as the chimneyRx. When this product is used correctly, it can be applied to a smooth, even surface and stay flexible to prevent further water damage to the chimney crown. However, if the chimney crown is in severe disrepair, it will likely require a complete rebuild. A rebuild involves removing the existing damaged chimney crown and starting over, creating a new chimney crown out of cement to ensure that it will last for years to come.

Often a sign of water leaks or chimney collapse, these small cracks are a problem that should not be ignored. When they become larger, they can cause damage to the chimney structure, which may require a costly and extensive rebuild. A qualified mason can repair these cracks with mortar or cement and a special brick repointing process, which is similar to that used on the face of the chimney.

Hairline cracks that appear in the joints of a chimney are also a concern. These are often caused by the expansion and contraction of the masonry during hot and cold weather cycles. The contraction of the masonry can also be caused by soil pressure against the foundation pad or the chimney itself. This type of cracking is not always a serious problem, but it is important to get them repaired as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration and damage.

Another common cause of these tiny cracks is the presence of vines or other plants growing on a chimney. These plants will penetrate the mortar and brick, causing them to weaken and eventually break apart. This is a problem that can be easily avoided by using a herbicide to kill the plants and then cutting them down, rather than trying to pull them off the chimney.

Chimneys that are not regularly maintained and serviced are likely to suffer from a variety of structural problems, including cracking. If the mortar begins to crumble, a process known as tuckpointing can restore these areas with a strong new compound. Loose bricks should never be ignored as these can fall off the chimney, posing safety hazards to anyone who is around it.

Chimneys that have been damaged due to earthquakes or shifting soil bases are also more prone to cracking and other structural damage. This can result in dangerous carbon monoxide leaks into a home. A professional mason can recommend the best solution to these problems, which is usually a partial chimney rebuild.

A leaky chimney is not only dangerous for your family, it can also be expensive to repair. Excess water can damage walls, ceilings, carpeting, and other items in the home. It also promotes mold and mildew, a serious health hazard for children and adults alike. In order to protect your family, it’s important to have a professional inspect your chimney and make any necessary repairs.

Chimney leaks are often caused by a defective chimney flashing. The flashing is a metal (usually aluminum) casing that seals the gap between your chimney and the rooftop. Over time, flashing can wear out due to weathering and age. During heavy rains, rainwater can enter the chimney through this gap and cause leaks. A professional chimney technician can inspect your roof and chimney flashing to identify any problems and make the needed repairs.

Another way water can enter your chimney is through cracked masonry. Heavy rains can cause brick to expand and crack, leaving open gaps for moisture to enter. Cracked masonry may appear as brick crumbling, mortar joints that have begun to fail, or as water staining on the sides of the chimney. Chimney tuckpointing and waterproofing can repair these issues to prevent water leaks.

Rainwater can also leak into your chimney from a damaged or missing chimney cap or deteriorated flue liner. Your chimney cap keeps debris like leaves and twigs out, but it can become dislodged or missing during high winds. A missing or damaged chimney cap should be replaced immediately to prevent water from entering your chimney. A broken or deteriorating flue liner is not as easy to fix. If you suspect your flue liner is in need of replacement, a professional chimney inspection should be performed as soon as possible.

If you have any signs of a chimney leak, it’s crucial to have a professional chimney company inspect the problem and determine what needs to be done. A good Long Island chimney company will not only inspect your chimney, but will also provide a free estimate and perform the work on your schedule.

Chimneys should be inspected and repaired regularly. Keeping up with this maintenance will help to keep smoke, carbon monoxide and stray embers from getting into the home. Chimneys that have a cracking crown or broken flue liner should be repaired right away. These issues are both dangerous and can be expensive to repair.

When a chimney is not properly lined, stray embers can burn through the chimney into the home, which is not only a fire hazard but could also cause severe structural damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, a professional may be able to use a chimney relining system to fix the problem and prevent future problems. Relining costs between $1,200 and $4,600, depending on the size of the chimney and whether the existing flue tiles need to be removed.

The mortar that holds bricks together can wear down over time, especially with constant exposure to snow, ice, rain and temperature changes. When it cracks, it can allow smoke, CO2, and stray embers to leak between the bricks and onto the roof of the house. Cracks in the mortar can also weaken a chimney stack and lead to its collapse.

A chimney that’s not capped or capped well is vulnerable to animals and debris entering the flue and causing blockages. If the masonry is in bad shape, it will need to be rebuilt or a chimney cap can be installed. Chimney caps are relatively inexpensive and will protect the chimney from rain, birds and other critters.

Building regulations are legally enforceable standards that set minimum requirements for how buildings must be designed and constructed. Building codes are written years before they’re adopted in individual localities and so the methods that were specified 100 or more years ago often need to be updated for today’s standards of safety.

Any work that alters an existing chimney or flue falls under the umbrella of building regulations and therefore needs to be done to the highest standard. When a chimney is part of the building and needs to be altered, the owner must first apply for a permit and give the builder notice that work will be carried out. The notice must also state how the work will be conducted to ensure that it’s not disruptive to occupants of the building.