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Salvatorparadise 03-07-2008 10:01 AM

Looks like leaking around the chimney - roofer says it is the chimney itself
I have water leaking down the sides of my brick chimney, and it shows up in the basement. Have inspected it from the attic several times, and it very clearly appears to come from around the chimney where it meets the roof and then down the sides of the chimney. Over the years this seems to have caused wood sheathing planks surrounding the chimney to get quite damp and to rot. SO - i definitely figured i needed new chimney flashing - and i'm due for a new roof too. anyway, the roofer upon coming out for an estimate says this to me:

I inspected your roof today. Were you aware of the condition of the actual chimney itself? You said you thought it was the flashing that was causing the leak.

Check out the brick. This chimney needs torn down and either covered over or rebuilt to prevent your leak.

Do you use it for venting a furnace or hot water heater?

then he attaches these two pics:

The chimney is for the furnace. I paid only about $50K for this house, and it is generally in good shape - i definitely do NOT want to pay a fortune for repairs up there. A new roof w/flashing was about all i had planned for in terms of a big investment around here. I had another reputable roofer up there awhile back and he inspected everything and made no mention of the need for a new chimney! he said they'd flash it and do a new roof and be good to go. Of course, the latest roofing company also does chimneys - and would be happy to do mine. He included nothing else in the email though, no estimate, no explanation of why this would cause the leak. it DOES NOT appear to be leaking from inside the chimney out, but down the sides...

The chimney looks like it may need some work - i'm no expert so can't tell - but i'm reluctant to spend big bucks, and am not sure just what he was trying to say in the email. He never explicitly said this is causing water to come in - or what it would cost - i feel a bit wary.

anyone have experience in this? How does it look to you? What sort of costs am i looking at if i do need to repair - or heaven forbid - replace the chimney...this is not something i want to do! :eek:

thanks all!

Ed the Roofer 03-07-2008 11:46 AM

If those are pictures of your actual chimney, it is very very susceptible to leakage through the sides and the top.

Your top chimney concrete crown splash block is not extended past the vertical sides of the brick work and the only pitch it has is due to the excessive crappy job of troweking roof cement mastic on the top. The are open voids in the joins and an extremely poor job of previous tuck-pointing, with some completely cracked brick work evident.

The existing flashings, even thout they look like chit, probably are not even leaking, but they eventualy will because all of that roof cement mastic is already dried out and brittle.

The guy who did NOT mention this aspect to you was unqualified and did not have your best intentions in mind, by not pointing this out to you.

Your chimney at "Minimum" needs a proper tuck-pointing job, with some random brick replacement.

If you do not do this now, you will be digging into your newly installed and payed for roofing shingles and chimney step and counter-flashings and existing brick chimney and be paying to have parts of that done all over again. A repair, after the fact, is rarely as good as doing it right the first time.


P.S. I wrote about a similar situation previously and will copy/paste most of that response here for more clarification.

Basically, everthing about your chimney is done incorrectly.

Mortar Joints are still not pointed correctly.

Concrete splash block, (not cap), does not overhang the sides which allows all water to flow directly into the brick and the joints.

Masonry is not water "Proof" anyways, so, once ths chimney gets re-done with tuck-pointing repairs and a properly affixed cement splash block, then the shingle and related flashing issues can be dealt with.

Chimney flashings consist of at least several seperate pieces of sheet metal.

Bottom side, which faces the eave edge, requires a base apron flashing, also sometimes called a Roof To Wall flashing.

Then both sides get the interply base step flashings installed as the courses of shingles get installed.

Then on all 4 sides, a sheet metal counter flashing needs to be installed. This can be mounted in a stepped pattern, or as a surface mounted or reglet fitting installation. These counter flashings then get attached to the 4 side walls of the brick chimney.

I would also add a chimney sealer product, such as one called chimney saver. This is an exterior applied brushable clear coating that encapsulates the exterior of the masonry structure. This needs to be re-applied every 3-5 years or so, to keep the bricks and mortar joints water-proof.


Salvatorparadise 03-07-2008 11:55 AM

thanks ed. it's my first house, is this what they mean when they say having a house is expensive??? Luckily the roofing firm started as a masonry shop, so they can do this? They recommend rebuild. Can they do that just above the roof line where it needs it? What sorta bucks does that cost? It's just for the natural gas furnace so i wonder if it has to go so high up.

skymaster 03-07-2008 12:37 PM

Ed; A question for ya. Since Salvator last post stated he had natural gas furnace, why not just knock the thing off the roof and run double wall Pipe like I see all over for gas? Has got to be way way cheaper than masonary rebuild?

Salvatorparadise 03-07-2008 12:39 PM

I definitely don't need anything fancy - just a way to vent the thing - and on the cheap

Ed the Roofer 03-07-2008 03:04 PM


Originally Posted by skymaster (Post 105198)
Ed; A question for ya. Since Salvator last post stated he had natural gas furnace, why not just knock the thing off the roof and run double wall Pipe like I see all over for gas? Has got to be way way cheaper than masonary rebuild?

Excellent point.

The roofer should charge a very small amount to "Carefully" knock down the bricks to just below the roof sheathing line. You will need new wood around the smaller opening required, just for the pipe to come through. You will need a bottom roof flashing for the pipe to the roof deck and a storm collar ring just above the roof flashing. Also, the pipe will need a proper cap.

This work, with the exception of the brick removal and clean up, should be done by an HVAC/Plumbing contractor.


Salvatorparadise 03-07-2008 03:12 PM

thanks ed, that sounds sensible

so just have them knock it down just below the roof line, then have the HVAC guys do the pipe up from there, and then the roofers do their thing around the pipe

sounds fairly affordable, thanks much!


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