Spring is such a wonderful time of the year! Flowering trees filling the air with their delicate fragrance, fresh tilled gardens with pale green plants poking up through the black soil. And the smell of fresh spring showers filling the air, cleaning away all the dirt and grime that snow leaves behind. But even with all the good that rain brings, it can do some major damage to your masonry chimney.
There are three main types of erosion: wind, water, and glacial. If you live in North Carolina, you probably don’t have to worry too much about glacial erosion! Wind erosion occurs more often, but the erosion that can really hurt your chimney is water erosion. When rain falls against your chimney and hits on the mortar that holds the bricks or blocks together, the constant tap tap tapping can cause the mortar to break down and wear away. If the rain has a high acid content, this action can happen even more quickly. The SFGate website has this to say about the erosion process: “Over time, the natural expansion and contraction of the brick and mortar caused by water infiltration causes erosion, or crumbling of the mortar.”
Another way that water will break down your chimney is the freeze/thaw cycle. When water permeates the pores of the bricks and mortar of your chimney and then freezes, it expands and causes those pores to turn into cracks. And as this cycle continues, those cracks get bigger and bigger until some major structural damage has occurred.
How Do You Know
There are some signs that you should look for if you are worried about the damage those spring rains can bring. One of those signs is spalling. This just means that your bricks are flaking, cracking, or peeling. If your mortar is soft or crumbly, it’s probably a good bet that rain damage is occurring.
There are also signs on the interior of your chimney that water damage has occurred. However, this damage isn’t visible to the untrained eye. You need access to the proper tools in order to survey interior chimney damage. For that kind of equipment, you need to look to experienced professionals like those at Chimney Sweep Plus. They insert video equipment into your chimney to get a clear, up-close look at the interior of your chimney.
Protecting Your Chimney
If you’re worried about rain damage, waterproofing is the way to go. Chimney Sweep Plus uses the best chimney waterproofing products in the industry: ChimneySaver and FlashSeal. According to the CSIA, it’s important that the waterproofing agent you use on your chimney can keep precipitation from getting into your chimney while also allowing water that’s in your chimney to escape, and ChimneySaver and FlashSeal does just that.
Instead of worrying about the negative effects that the spring rains can cause your chimney system, call Chimney Sweep Plus and let them take care of waterproofing your chimney. Then you’ll be able to get back to enjoying that soft, sweet rain!