Chimney Leaks: Why They Occur, and How to Stop Them

Chimney Repair - Masonry ContractorHave you noticed water coming into your home through your roof or chimney? Homeowners generally notice leaks during periods of significant rainfall, like flash floods or hurricanes. Knowing the cause of your leak can make your chimney repair much easier, and save you the time and money associated with extensive water damage. Today, we’ll introduce you to some of the most common causes of chimney leaks.

Uncovered Chimneys

The simplest reason for chimney leaks is one of the most common: water entering the chimney directly from above. Luckily, the solution for this is simple: install a chimney cover. Chimney covers can prevent rainfall from coming down the top of your chimney, as well as form a barrier to keep out birds, squirrels, and other pests. The cover also acts as a filter to keep other types of debris from clogging your flue, which reduces the risk of buildup and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Flashing

Chimney flashing is the material that prevents water from entering at the point where the chimney and the roof meet. Generally, the flashing is made of aluminum, copper, steel, or vinyl/PVC. Leaks often occur at the chimney when flashing fails. Damaged flashing can be cemented or patched; however, it is likely that a major leak may need to have the flashing replaced completely. The use of tar instead of traditional flashing can also cause leaks. Luckily, this can be remedied by installing proper chimney flashing on your home.

Cracks in the Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is the cement part on top of the chimney. Its very purpose is to keep rain out. Naturally, when your crown has cracks, the water seeps through the crown, and into your home. Most crowns have some small cracks.  However, repairing the small cracks is just as important as fixing the large one. Weather damage, as well as freeze-thaw cycles will eventually cause small cracks to grow. Crown coating materials can cover the masonry and prevent these small cracks from becoming a real problem. However, if the cracks in your chimney are already significant, the only fix is to completely relay the masonry. Coating materials can prevent damage from small cracks, but large cracks are no match.

Leaking Bricks or Stones

Bricks and mortar both pass water, and often large amounts. The problem with masonry units is the same as with a chimney crown: erosion and freeze-thaw cycles can cause damage that leads to leaks in the house. A good preventative measure to help keep your chimney dry is a waterproofing solution. However, as is the case with chimney crowns, some cracks may be too far gone to simply coat the chimney. In this case, the best solution is to replace cracked bricks or stone, or to repoint cracked mortar in between that is causing the leak.

Obviously, prevention is the best course of action when it comes to preserving the lifetime of your chimney. Installing a chimney cover, and coating your chimney with waterproof materials can keep moisture out for a long time. However, if your chimney does spring a leak, knowing the source of the problem will make chimney repairs quicker, more effective, and hassle-free!

Coating Options for Concrete Parking Decks

Commercial Masonry Contractor PA - Parking Deck Coating

Like any other building, parking decks need to be sealed for protection from the elements. However, special precaution must be taken with these structures, as they endure some extreme conditions that do not. Exposure to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, heavy weight loads, snow plowing, and de-icing means that parking decks need extra protection.

When selecting a sealant, it is important to consider both the adhesion properties and strength of the coating, plus the level of water and chemical resistance. Luckily, when it comes to coatings, there are many different options:

Surface Sealers

Surface sealers are materials that form a coating or film on the surface of a parking deck. These sealers have the lowest cost of all types (about 50¢ per square foot), but are not suitable for all types of structures. Since surface sealers have a low resistance to abrasion, they should be limited to use on surfaces with pedestrian or low-volume vehicular traffic.

Penetrating Sealers

Penetrating sealers are silicone-based water repellents that penetrate into concrete surfaces and form a water-repellent layer to protect the materials of the parking deck. This type of sealer is relatively inexpensive at around $1.00 per square foot, but requires reapplication due to a decrease in effectiveness over time. Penetrating sealers usually last between three and five years before a new application is needed.

Thin Bonded Overlays

Thin bonded overlays consist of rubber-like polymers and a cement and aggregate blend. These overlays will form an extremely hard and waterproof surface, but will not repair or bridge any cracks in the deck.  Because  the materials used in thin bonded overlays cure fast even low temperatures, they are often used during cold weather. These coatings cost $4 to $6 per square foot, and can last from five to ten years.

Traffic-bearing membranes

Traffic-bearing membranes are liquid sealants made up of polymers. They are a relatively thick material, and very strong. They have high surface hardness, and are very resistant to tearing. Unlike other sealants, they have the ability to bridge moving cracks and can improve surface traction, abrasion resistance and durability. Installation typically costs around $5 to $7 per square foot, and is usually warranted for a five year period. However, with proper maintenance, traffic-bearing membranes can last much longer.

Waterproof sealants are an important part of any parking structure. Though every structure’s needs differ, there is a coating made to fit every type of project. If you are unsure in any way about what type of material would be best to use on your project, it is always best to contact a professional. Waterproofing contractors are experts in deciding which sealants will best serve your project. Whatever your needs in terms of water resistance, durability, and budget, you can rest assured there is a sealant to do the job!

Caring for Flagstone Patios

Flagstone Patio Cleaning - Waterproofing - Stone RepairDuring the hot summer months, a patio is the perfect place to grill up a meal, gather with friends and family, or just relax with a cold drink. But what many people don’t realize is the care that needs to be taken to keep your flagstone patio in good condition. In this post, we’ll go through some of the most important types of maintenance to ensure that your flagstone patio is in tip-top shape.

Waterproofing

Flagstone, like many other types of natural stone, is subject to water damage if not properly sealed. This is especially important in areas where the water is alkaline, or contains traces of minerals which may add to the erosion of the stone.

To prevent this type of damage, it is important that your flagstone patio be sealed/waterproofed with a sealant made specifically for natural stone. If your patio is already starting to show signs of deterioration, the damaged pieces should be removed or replaced before applying a sealant. Trained masonry contractors can repair this type of damage, and properly apply the coating so your patio stays damage-free.

Cleaning

Experts recommend thoroughly cleaning your flagstone patio twice per year, though many property owners opt for only a yearly spring masonry cleaning. To clean a flagstone patio, it is important to have a cleaner designed to work on natural flagstone, and that the cleaning solution covers every facet of the stone and mortar. The cleaner should then be rinsed with a pressure washer to ensure an attractive appearance.

Repair

Unfortunately, even with the utmost care taken, normal wear and tear can degrade the appearance and function of flagstone patios and walkways. Seasonal changes in the weather can cause the stone work to repeatedly freeze and thaw, causing damage to the flagstone and mortar. In cases like these, the patio may need to be re-grouted. A skilled mason will grind down the existing mortar connecting the flagstones, and replace it with fresh new joints, restoring beauty and stability to your patio.

A flagstone patio or walkway is one of the most beautiful additions you can make to the landscape of your home. Plus, with the proper care, it can last a lifetime. With the correct waterproofing, regular cleaning, and competent crack repairs, your flagstone patio will keep serving you for many summers to come.

 

Welcome to our new website!

We hope you like our newly redesigned site. Soon to come on our blog, you will find helpful posts for homeowners related to:

  • Chimney Repairs
  • Brick, stone and block re-pointing
  • Masonry Cleaning
  • Crack Repairs
  • Masonry Restoration
  • Stone and Brick Repair
  • Step Repair/Construction
  • Flagstone Patios and Walkways
  • Leak Investigation and Repair
  • Stucco

We hope you enjoy our tips, and will think of the experts Craft Pro for your next masonry project!