Is Your Chimney Crown Cracked or Damaged?
The chimney crown is the highest point of a masonry chimney. It has a concrete surface that forms a water-tight seal to prevent water from leaking into the chimney, masonry walls, and liner surrounding the flue pipe. The crown also has a sloped drip edge to deflect water away from the chimney. A chimney cap protects the exposed flue vent and crown from moisture intrusion. Since the flue creates a safe passageway for removing smoke and exhaust when using the fireplace, inspecting the crown for cracking or damage periodically is vital.
What Causes the Chimney Crown to Crack?
One of the most common causes of chimney crown damage is improper construction. We have seen many chimney crowns that were improperly constructed using leftover brick mortar instead of concrete. The softer mortar material decays much faster, especially in climates with wet and below-freezing weather conditions, like here in the Greater Washington, DC, area.
However, there are other reasons for having a cracked or damaged crown:
- House settling
- Severe weather conditions
- Lightning strike
- Foundation issues
- Earthquakes or tremors
If you notice one or more of the following signs, your chimney crown may need repair. Give us a call to schedule a chimney inspection so we can save your chimney crown from a costlier rebuild and prevent further water damage to your chimney.
Signs Your Chimney Crown Needs Repair
- Surface cracks on the chimney crown
- Drip edge damaged or non-existent
- Sounds of dripping water in the chimney
- Missing or damaged chimney cap
- Masonry damage or staining around the chimney crown
- Cracked, crumbling, or spalling brickwork
- Flue tiles in the firebox
How Do You Know If Your Chimney Crown is Cracked?
With its location perched above the chimney, most homeowners don't typically realize they have a cracked or damaged crown until it is discovered during an annual inspection or they notice a water leak or more severe damage.
When the chimney crown is broken or damaged, water can leak inside the chimney, resulting in extensive damage to the masonry walls, flue liner, damper, and other parts of the duct.
Hiring a professional chimney sweep to perform a chimney inspection is the best way to determine whether the chimney crown or any other area of the chimney has damage.
It would be best if you also had a chimney sweep inspect the chimney for cracks after a tropical storm, hurricane, tornado, or other significant events. Even a hairline crack in the crown can cause considerable water damage, pests, mold, mildew, and structural issues that could lead to partial or complete chimney rebuilding.
Repairing a Cracked or Damaged Chimney Crown in Bethesda, MD
If the chimney crown has some cracking but not severe damage, our Certified Chimney Professional® can apply CrownSaver®. This polymer cement coating fills the cracks with a strong, durable, water-resistant bonding material for long-lasting moisture protection. However, when the chimney crown has severe damage, we may need to remove the damaged section and rebuild the chimney crown.
An annual chimney inspection is the best way to save your chimney crown from severe damage and costly repairs. Call 301-969-4444 or 703-935-4444 to schedule a chimney inspection today! You can also contact us online.