Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>something is allowing water to get through my brick
4 posts / 0 new
Last post
something is allowing water to get through my brick

Hi, Guys! My Old House was built in 1904 in rural central Illinois. It's a true brick home, and as with most in the area, was originally heated with a coal fired furnace from the basement with a brick chimney going up and through the roof.

In the upstairs bedroom, around the brick of the chimeny, the wall continues to look almost moldy and appears that water/condensation is somehow seeping through, but only up by the ceiling on the second floor. It's puching the paint away fromt he wall, and gets crumbly and almost moldy looking. I've inspected the roof, and re-flashed around the chimney, but it didn't help. I repair the interior wall every year, but each spring it's time to do it again, and I can't seem to figure out what's causing this.

The only thing feeding into the chimney now is the exhaust from my natural gas water heater. I could reroute this, if that's the problem. Should I cap my chimney? What's causing this? I've already hired 3 different contractors, all who said they could fix it, but a year later, the problem is right back to where it was. Is this mold? Do I have a health/safety concern? Thanks so much!!!

Virden, IL

Re: something is allowing water to get through my brick


I think you need a professional to check out if your chimney has a good flue liner. Burning of fuel causes moisture to go up the chimney. Where it meets cold masonry, it condenses. Without a good flue liner, the moisture enters the brick. This would be consistant with your moisture appearing close to where the flue moisture would encounter the cold of the brick as it rises through the cold attic and above the roof.

There are retrofit stainless steel flexible liners which can be fished down the old flue. However, if the only thing using this flue is the gas water heater, alternate venting arrangements might be less expensive than a new flue liner.

MLB Construction
Re: something is allowing water to get through my brick

is there a vent cap on the chimney right now? it's essentially a little metal roof over the chimney opening with screened sides allowing exhaust to escape but preventing water from getting inside the flue.

it's certainly possible that water can be penetrating the brick and mortar joints, especially on a chimney that old. if there is a chimney cap up there right now, i would recommend having a chimney company do an inspection with a camera that can be lowered down into the chimney to inspect the condition of the interior of it.

Re: something is allowing water to get through my brick

I am a chimney contractor and yes I would say you should definatly have a liner or use alternate venting. the problem could also be from the chimney needing repointed. we see lots of chimney with perfectly good flashing still leaking because bad mortar is letting water into the structure. you should also have a cap as well that could also be a contributing factor. but you should have a local chimney sweep look at it most good ones will be able to tell you what the problem is. also most of the chimneys we see are not flashed properly is the flashing cut into the brick of just applied to the surface and caulked?

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

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