How Long Should a Chimney Crown Last?
A fireplace and chimney are popular features in many homes. Chimneys are individual, diminutive constructions that can enhance the exterior design of your home. The value of your property depends on keeping your chimney sturdy and attractive for many years.
Understandably, a lot of homeowners need to familiarize themselves with their chimneys. Homeowners must understand the fundamental parts of their chimneys and how long each one lasts.
We’ll examine the chimney crown in this post and discuss how long it should last. But, first, you should know the following information regarding your chimney crown.
What Is a Chimney Crown?
Like a monarch or queen’s crown, the chimney crown is perched atop the chimney. On the other hand, the chimney crown is a sizable slab employed to cover and safeguard your chimney rather than for aesthetic purposes. The chimney cap, which shields your chimney from moisture and aids in preserving the masonry, is frequently made of concrete.
The finest chimney crowns are partially flat; they have a small dome. Chimney crowns with domes allow water to drain off rather accumulate directly on the crown. Additionally, the crown features a lip or overhang that prevents moisture from dripping directly onto the chimney stonework.
Life of a Chimney Crown
The lifespan of high-quality chimney crowns can range from 50 to 75 years. However, a poorly built crown may fall apart in less than 20 years and be much more expensive to repair. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand your chimney crown’s general age and condition.
Chimney Crown Inspection
The licensed individual may discover some repair issues during routine chimney inspections that are difficult to resolve with a simple chimney sweep or inspection. However, given the age of your home and the valuable information your home inspector provided when you purchased the property, your chimney sweep findings are unlikely to surprise you.
For example, some home inspections exclude a comprehensive chimney review, or the inspector is unfamiliar with chimney inspection procedures. Or you may be unaware of the age and degeneration of your chimney since you are not as rigorous about inspecting and cleaning it as you probably should be.
If you’ve observed air or water entering your fireplace at various times of the year, there might be a problem. Likewise, if you experience any foul odors emanating from your chimney during the cooling season, there may be a problem.
The chimney’s crowns are essential, but because they are located above the roofline, they are also the most exposed to the elements throughout the winter. The second most prevalent flaw observed by owners is improperly installed flue tiles, followed by chimney crowns. The lifespan of a chimney crown depends on a variety of things. For instance, the location’s temperature and environment, the chimney’s maintenance history, and how the chimney was constructed are all crucial factors to consider.
Indications of Damaged Chimney Crown
Soot, odors, and smoke aren’t the only signs that your chimney needs to be repaired. Find out some extra things to look for that could lead to a chimney collapsing or possibly starting a fire.
Does your chimney have any white streaks on it? This is referred to as efflorescence. These salt crystallizations are typically seen on brick, concrete, and natural stone surfaces. When it does, it usually denotes a moisture problem. Small amounts are typical, but when they increase excessively, it raises questions.
A defective flue liner or a loose flashing, which can exacerbate the deterioration of the mortar and brick, is frequently the cause of efflorescence. Therefore, you need to hire a professional chimney specialist to prevent water from entering the chimney, install a new flue or liner, or fix the flashing around the crown.
Chimney Crown Damage
The main purpose of the chimney crown is to prevent water damage. It rests on the chimney and is designed to protect the structure from snow and water. But if the crown is broken or damaged, moisture will get inside and cause several issues, such as corroded damper or fractured flue tiles.
You’ll need to climb onto the roof to inspect your chimney crown for cracks because most damage won’t be visible from the ground. If the crown is cracked, it needs to be changed immediately to stop the moisture problem from worsening and causing more damage to the structure.
Mortar Joint Damage
Due to ice, water, and seasonal expansion, the mortar joints may get weaker over time. When the mortar starts to fail, the masonry is exposed to moisture, which worsens the damage. In addition, if left ignored, the chimney may deteriorate and collapse. The mortar joints may need to be corrected by an expert.
Rust and Spalling Bricks
Your chimney’s bricks are they crumbling or popping off? Cracked or missing bricks could also be a sign of moisture problems. As the moisture in the brickwork expands and compresses, causing the bricks to crack, flake, and crumble, the building gradually deteriorates. Before attempting to resolve the problem, it will be helpful if you identify its source.
Scheduling a chimney inspection is the first step in resolving the problem because it will show how the water is getting into the masonry and how serious the problem is. If there has already been severe damage, the brickwork will either need to be restored or even replaced.
Getting your chimney inspected annually is critical because if the rust isn’t removed, it will eventually cause destruction. Before inspecting the firebox, damper, and flue within your chimney, examine the flashing and chimney cap outside for corrosion. If you can’t see something, it doesn’t necessarily imply it’s not there. Most individuals don’t realize they have a rust problem until something, like a damper that isn’t sealing, stops working as it should. If there are enough signs of an oxidation problem, it is preferable to call a chimney professional. Rust can harm anything, such as a damaged flue tile, yet replacement is still necessary.
Water Pooling and Fallen Chimney
If you see a stack of chimney tiles within your fireplace, it’s not good. The tile that has fallen repeatedly indicates a broken flue lining. Water damage is typically the culprit, although poor design and construction techniques can also be a part of the issue. If left untreated, it will only become worse. Cracks let moisture in and could even start a fire in a chimney. So if you discover tiles where they shouldn’t be, it’s imperative to fix any harm so they wouldn’t occur again.
A water puddle suggests a chimney leak. Defective flashing, deteriorating mortar, and crown cracks are common causes. Whatever its source, water can cause major structural damage to your house. If you detect any water drops or pools in the fireplace or close by, it’s time to call the professionals.
Sealing a Chimney Crown
Sealing your chimney crown is the most affordable chimney crown repair solution. Unfortunately, this is not an acceptable remedy if the damage extends beyond surface-level cracks. However, if you discovered your issue at a season of the year when temperatures are frequently below freezing and crown replacements are not an option, this can be a good interim fix.
A specific chimney sealant applied to the crown can halt further structural chimney degradation. Although an adventurous DIYer could do this project, let a Certified Chimney Sweep handle the roof-climbing, chimney damage assessment, and crown sealing using the right tools and a product they have experience utilizing.
The level of damage and the age of the crown will determine the kind of repairs your chimney crown needs. Early detection and prompt repair of any problems can maintain the chimney crown and significantly increase its lifespan. However, because your crown is not readily accessible, it is not always simple to determine its age and condition.
A long, cold winter with a lot of precipitation can lead to damaged chimney crowns; even a little breach can allow water into the system and result in significant water damage. Call an expert if there might be water in the chimney system. However, the average homeowner will find a water leak once it has caused expensive hidden damage.
This is why routine scheduling maintenance is so important. For instance, you should have your chimney inspected immediately if it has yet to be done. The chimney crown’s condition and age will be evaluated at this appointment.
Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners with creosote cleaning and chimney maintenance. That’s why we are the most trusted chimney maintenance company in the Midwest. Contact us to speak to a specialist!