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Old 12-17-2013, 11:37 AM   #1
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chimney cap mortared in place?


Hi,

I have recently noticed that my chimney is wet--I have been turning my attic into a finished space, and that is where the wet chimney is now obvious.

About 1 1/2 years ago, the brick chimney was covered in concrete/masonry when a former-inspector-turned-contractor noticed the bricks were letting in water. I wasn't spending time in the attic then and never noticed a leaking chimney, but there were some signs of previous water damage.

Back to the present: I went up to the roof to check out the chimney and noticed some hairline cracks in the mortar, especially on the crown. I also noticed the chimney cap is set into the mortar. I think using an elastomeric crown sealer is in order here to prevent the hairline cracks from expanding in the freezing weather, but what do I do about the chimney cap? Remove it? Seal over it?

Regarding the leak, the counter flashing was done properly (set into the mortar). My guess is that the hairline cracks have been slowly letting in moisture and the chimney is now saturated. I'm not seeing an active drip-drip-drip so much as an enduring wetness on the bricks. I'm hoping to get someone out here (NYC) soon to give me some input, but these guys are hard to get on roofs when it's snowing... though I've got an appointment for 2 weeks out. Any sound advice appreciated.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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chimney cap mortared in place?


Pop rivets in mortar
That's one poopy looking cap.
Pretty common to see small cracks like that.
How about a picture where the chimney meets the roof.
That's where it's far more likely to be leaking.

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Old 12-17-2013, 04:07 PM   #3
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I have never seen one like this before.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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My guess is that the pop rivets have nothing to do with the mounting, it's the same roof cap as before the mortar job, it looks like they just removed it and set it in place in the wet mortar.

Are you saying that spider cracks like that are not a problem? With the freeze-thaw cycle thing in mind, even beyond the actual leak, the chimney crown seems like something I need to address.

Other possibilities for leaks (sigh)? Yes, potentially anything. Here is a pic of the saddle. I just filled some asphalt sealant into the two cracks--I was not sure if they were allowing water over the flashing or not, but if I see a change in the water entry, I'll know I'm on the right track (or one of them). The black sealant along the edge of the shingles where they sit on the saddle seems wrong--any red flags or is that normal?

But still, what I'm really looking for is some advice on whether I should remove the chimney cap or just seal over it.
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:59 AM   #5
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chimney cap mortared in place?


fwiw, we've been using ' herculiner ' for quick & inexpensive crack/conc repairs ( no financial interest ),,, it may not be acceptable but its an alternate,,, i'd think its also has the ' elastomeric ' qualities you list,,, clean the surface ( conc/brick/block/alum siding/hardiplank/ ) & brush/roll onto dry area,,, not inexpensive & only comes in grey or blk

only used it for the past 5yrs so no hard data yet eBay or google - its diy material
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Old 12-18-2013, 05:52 AM   #6
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chimney cap mortared in place?


What I'm seeing is shingles that have seen better days and should have been replaced a few years ago.
Was that copper joint soldered like it should have been or just caulked?
Was ice and water shield installed under the copper flashing?
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies, everybody. I'm not set on any particular product, I'll check out the herculiner.

Good eye, joecaption. The roof was done about 7 years ago and is in very good shape. The shingle right above the chimney, however, is just beat up. And the flashing is questionable. I don't know if there's ice and water shield beneath it, and I don't know if it's been caulked or soldered. I'll check the joint when the snow up there melts. I also don't have any idea how far under the shingles the flashing goes... if this was the summer I'd tear off the beat up shingles and make sure it was done right. But it's 20F right now... but I'll keep your observations in mind.
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:05 AM   #8
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What kind of equipment feeds that flue?

Very often, modern higher efficiency furnaces are fed into old ,over sized terracotta flues---the flue is to large,causing heavy condensation ---which seeps into the joints of the aging flue liner.

You may want to check this out before you attack the outside of that chimney---
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:17 AM   #9
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Any time the BLACK stuff shows up on the roof, that's never a good sign. Is it decent enough for a quick fix? Yeah, it may hold out some water for the short term, but, it always hardens up and cracks and then you're right back where it all started. Your plan for a springtime fix is the way to go.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:38 AM   #10
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There is indeed a high-efficiency furnace feeding an over-sized terracotta flue, so big points for you oh'mike. But it does have a new, rust-resistant flue liner, installed 2 years ago so at least that is taken care of.

My guess on 'the black stuff': last year when the chimney was re-mortared, the flashing was probably removed and those few shingles were removed/damaged in the process. I don't know if those cracks appeared afterwards, or if it really doesn't matter because they're just covering flashing and any water that gets behind them is properly channelled.

It just looks like many things need attention, and it's good to hear that the black stuff, and possibly more black stuff that I end up adding, will work in the short term--like until June? Thanks for the input, gymschu.

But the chimney cap is still a bit of a question mark.
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:40 AM   #11
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OK, no more question mark. From what I've been reading online, that chimney cap is just wrong. Too small, it shouldn't be channelling water INTO the bricks and it also needs to be removable. So I definitely won't be sealing over it.

Thanks to all for your suggestions.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:31 AM   #12
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If that were mine I would dismantle the chimney down to the attic floor and have the heating contractor extend the new chimney liner thru the roof with a stainless pipe and new flashing. If you really want to keep the chimney it may need to be rebuilt starting below the roof line.`
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:01 AM   #13
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What's the reason for the teardown/rebuild?
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timingchain View Post
What's the reason for the teardown/rebuild?
When you wrote this:


From what I've been reading online, that chimney cap is just wrong. Too small, it shouldn't be channelling water INTO the bricks and it also needs to be removable

It will probably be better to rebuild it to accommodate the liner you had installed. Although I can't see the whole chimney I can't believe the aesthetics of what you have are too appealing.

I am not saying you have to do it, just an option to consider.
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:59 PM   #15
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Cut that cat off and demo the top course.

Rebuild it and order the cap out of stainless and for the proper penetration size.

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