Chimney crowns are one of the most neglected aspects of a fireplace structure. Have you ever taken a look above your roof line at your chimney?
Unless you have been told you have a problem, this important part of your home does not receive a lot of attention.
Neglected and deteriorating chimneys can represent several threats to residences and potential safety hazards.
Regular inspections and maintenance can catch deterioration early and prevent costly repairs.
Understanding Chimney Anatomy
Fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters and other appliances are vented into a flue that exhaust the products of combustion to the exterior of the home.
The flue can be constructed of brick and mortar in older homes. Clay tiles are frequently used as well and enclosed with the brick masonry chimney chase that is visible from outside the home.
Chimney crowns are basically the roof of your chimney system. It is what keeps water draining properly away from your flue and off on to the roof.
While the terms cap and crown are used interchangeably by many people, they’re actually two very different things.
A chimney cap is added to the top of the chimney flue, typically to keep animals and debris out, large ashes in, and to help prevent moisture intrusion.
Chimney crowns are an essential part of your chimney, and its primary purpose is to keep water from entering the chimney chase and to support the chimney flue. The chimney crown is often constructed improperly or nonexistent.
When properly constructed a chimney crown will slope from the flue and should extend several inches beyond the crown.
The crown is angled away from the flue so that water runs off towards the roof rather than going in between the chimney flue and the protective material.
Chimney Crowns | Protection from Water
Chimneys are designed to take the heat of a fire, but water can prove to be their undoing. When water is allowed to enter the brick structure, it can start to freeze and thaw in place.
These freeze/thaw cycles will cause small cracks to become severe and eventually, if not repaired, will let to complete mortar failure.
This same level of expansion and contraction will also destroy the mortar and even damage the bricks.
The water can also travel down the chimney to damage the damper, clog up the clean out area, and stain the interior of your home.
Decay and mold are likely to become a problem, and it can eventually lead to collapsed hearth supports.
While chimney caps are excellent for protecting the flue, the chimney crown is essential for protecting the masonry chimney chase structure.
Regular Inspections Required
When you have your chimney cleaned, the contractors should take a moment to look at the overall condition of the chimney.
It’s easier to fix small problems than it is to wait for them to grow. You cannot see damage to the chimney crown from your yard, so it’s important to invest in this preventive maintenance.
Repairs and Replacements
Early detection and repairs are key to avoiding expense rebuilding repairs. The good news is damaged chase mortar can usually be fixed with tuck pointing and chimney crown cracks when small can be repaired by having them sealed.
However crowns that have severe cracks, are crumbling and have more extensive damage should be replaced. The chimney crown protects the structure of your chimney, and most of them perform this job quite well.
However, they can also take a beating from the sun and elements. Damage is bound to occur over time, and you’ll want to have it fixed as quickly as possible.
Call us today to schedule your inspection and see if your chimney crown needs to be patched or treated in any other way.
We’ll provide you with the service you need so that you can continue using your fireplace and avoid costly replacements in the future.