Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Chimney leak - need ideas
10 posts / 0 new
Last post
miketv11
Chimney leak - need ideas

Our house is about 70 years old.

We have a chimney that only houses the venting for our hot water tank. It runs from the basement up through the roof. Our house is a Cape Cod and the second floor has a cathedral ceiling and the chimney is exposed.

There has been a leak around the chimney for a while now. We had a masonry repair guy come out who installed a new liner and pointed the chimney on his recommendation - the leak got worse. Another guy came out and replaced our entire roof (it was previously shingles nailed to plywood) including the ridge vent and flashed the chimney with metal flashing. We still have a leak. Water comes out the bricks and also runs down the outside of the drywall (so, inside the room).

I need some ideas - we've already spent a ton on guesswork.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

Did they install a cap on the chimney when they installed the line?

Jack

Mastercarpentry
Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

The chimney pipe itself should be capped and I'd like to see a cap on the top of the masonry too. Then there's only two places left where water can possibly get in: through the masonry itself and between the chimney and the house. This isn't costly work and will extend the life of the chimney and the vent piping too so you should do it anyway.

Unless the work already done was very sloppy, your mason probably did OK, but roofers sometimes shortcut here and don't properly step-flash into the mortar joints of the brick. It's slow and tedious work to do right but is essential to avoid leaks. Any other method of flashing against brick will eventually fail.

Phil

miketv11
Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

Thanks for the input.

There was a new cap put on the top of the masonry, but not sure if a cap was put on the liner itself. As for the flashing it looks like it was done right and the roofer knew of the leak problem, so...

Where do I go from here?

ed21
Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

Was the chimney properly flashed & counterflashed. Cutting a reglet into a mortar joint is the best way. If no reglet, it is very easy for the water to get behind the flashing even if it appears tight.(as mastercarpentry said)
Hopefully the roofer used ice & water shield around the chimney.
Another place for water to get through is between a flue liner and the cap. The cap needs positive slope out.

miketv11
Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

Thanks again.

I know ice and water shield was installed.

It looks like I'll have to have the roofer come back to double check the flashing around the chimney. Our masonry guy never called us back when we noticed the leak after he installed the new liner, so we have to find a new guy for that.

Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

Are you able to post any images of the work/chimney? (depending on the access of course!) Dig out that zoom lens!

Just a thought, it might give something away that the description misses......

miketv11
Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

Well, the roofer stopped over and took a look. Apparently the caulk had separated. He re-caulked everything, so hopefully that will do the trick.

Re: Chimney leak - need ideas

Fingers crossed Mike :)

Mastercarpentry
Re: Chimney leak - need ideas
miketv11 wrote:

Well, the roofer stopped over and took a look. Apparently the caulk had separated. He re-caulked everything, so hopefully that will do the trick.

If it failed once it will fail again- and again and again and again. Seems the roofer did not properly step flash into the mortar joints even if he did everything else right. And I'm not surprised. Today most roofers are in so big a hurry that they cut corners like this. They usually get by long enough to form an excuse for a leak that should have never occurred. And I'm not coming off against roofers, this attitude now exists in all trades, even my own. You can't get quality work without paying for it That goes for everyone and everything everywhere.

You might get your roofer to do it right for free (if he knows how and actually can) since he did it wrong in the first place or you might need to find a real roofer who can and will do it right and eat the cost you saved using this one initially. Roofs are not supposed to leak - period, and caulking is not supposed to be the primary weather seal. It is only designed to help with sealing. It is secondary simply because it can and does fail over time, and that is usually long before the lifespan of the shingles is over.

Good Luck!
Phil

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.