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CharlesMTF 10-15-2005 06:26 PM

Possible Fireplace/Chimeny Leak?
Any advise on the following problem is greatly appreciated.

Moved into this new house a year ago. I already knew there was some water coming in, but we thought it wasn't much, and only coming in from one spot. Through the months, found water coming in from the side of the house as well as the front of the house. As a solution, I had the front and side waterproofed by digging down to the foundation (exterior), re-concreting the exterior walls, coating with tar, and the finally covering with a quarter-inch to half-inch rubber membrane. All three components were placed on the wall and overlapped the flooring at the foot of the foundation. All seemed well until this particular heavy storm we were hit with here in New York.

Ok... so, no water from the front of the house, but water still coming in from around my fireplace. I can't pinpoint the EXACT spot the water is entering the house from because the flow is very slow (can't see it flow, actually). But, its steady, and if I let it go for about 8-10 hours my whole basement will have about a quarter-inch of water. I know its coming from the side wall, but that's it. The walls are cinder blocks, built in '63, and you can see basic cracks in the foundation. But, no water coming from those cracks, as the are higher in the wall. Seems the water is getting in from the bottom.

The exterior of the house has the chimney from the fireplace. Could the water be getting in either from the chimney hole on top, or maybe on the side where the caulking seals the chimney to the house (cause the caulking is pretty much gone)? Or, could the concrete on the chimney have become porous and allowing water in?

And, here's another question...

When I moved in, the basement had a carpet down. Under the carpet was that hard tile (vinyl, I think). Well, looking at the fireplace, which I believe was added to the house instead of built with it, it seems that they never removed the tiles and carpet. There's the tile, then a carpet on the tile, then a clear plastic cover and then the brick fireplace was built right over it. Is this normal? Could this be a cause for the water problem?

Sorry for the long thread, but would appreciate any and all help!

K2eoj 10-15-2005 09:53 PM

If it would be the chimney I would be looking for some kind of accumulation of water around the chimney and the chimneys' flashing. 1 inch of rain = approx .625 gallons per square ft. Your flue and the exposed horizontal surfaces probably equal less than 8 sq ft. Sounds like you have more water than that. I'm the type who would jump up on the roof and look for anything odd in the way the roof is shedding water. And then again it might not be the roof at all. These problems can usually be figured out if you stay after them .>Took me 8 years to find out where the mice were getting in in my current house. Kept guessing the wrong area.

CharlesMTF 10-16-2005 12:07 AM

Thanks for the reply, Hammer. Understand exactly what you mean.

But... is it possible for water to be entering on the vertical, not the horizontal? Where the chimney actually connects to the house and has caulking on it... as the caulking is gone and there's an open gap between the chimney and the house. Here's a sample picture of what I mean... not my house, but the picture just shows where I mean by the vertical. See below. Obviously, I circled it in red, where there is a gap on both sides going from the bottom all the way to the top.

K2eoj 10-16-2005 12:31 AM

That gap would probably be a good place to start. In the pic you show, the chimney is pretty close to the ridge and not much area for accumulation. The further down the ridge the chimney is more water will run into the flashing. I would want to know if the flashing is shedding to the roof or over the edge or both. Also I would want to know if any change in direction of the storm/rain changes the amount of water that comes in. A driving directional rain on that side of the building could cause problems with your gap. You probably need to fill that gap anyway. If it is any bigger than 1/4 " you need a grout bag and one of my special mixes.HS

CharlesMTF 10-16-2005 04:49 PM

That picture is actually a bad description of what my chimney looks like. But, the point was the gap. My chimney just goes straight up the side of the house. Only flashers are the ones on top. And, yes, in some spots the gap is probably more than a quarter inch. Since we've had so much rain, its hard to tell if its coming only from one side, the other side, or both sides. Heck, for all I know it may not even be the chimney. But, I am assuming so since from the inside its coming in from the left and right of the fireplace, and all the other walls where they were just waterproofed from the outside are very dry.

I will give all your recommendations a go. Hopefully we'll be dry a bit so I can start the fix.

Thanks, again.

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