When homeowners find water leaking onto their ceilings and walls, their first reaction is often to call a roofer. However, the source of the leaking may be coming from your chimney, not the roof!

Oftentimes homeowners with suspected leaky roofs will spend thousands of dollars on new roofs or shingles – only to discover that the leaks are still occurring. When this is the case, the roof isn’t the culprit – the chimney is!

Leaky chimneys can sometimes mimic the same symptoms as a leaky roof, which makes it difficult to determine whether it is the chimney or the roof that is leaking. This is especially true when the water entry occurs in areas surrounding the chimney. Calling a chimney sweep may help you save thousands of dollars by identifying the leak as a chimney issue, not a roof issue.


Causes of a leaky chimney

Figuring out what is causing a chimney to leak can sometimes be a difficult process. When water is present in the flue or firebox, the solution is easy – it is typically from an uncapped chimney. If water appears on the ceilings and walls, however, the source of the leak can be much more difficult to find. Below are some of the most common causes of chimney leaks that could be disguising themselves as a leaky roof.

Flashing: Flashing is the material used to seal the gap between the roof and the chimney. Improperly installed, damaged, or deteriorating flashing is often the cause of chimney leaks. Because the flashing connects the roof to the chimney, leaks caused by defective flashing may mimic those of a leaky roof: water in the attic or on ceilings or walls. Likewise, leaky flashing can also cause damage to your roof by allowing water to pool underneath the shingles.

Chimney crown: The chimney crown is the masonry slab that covers and seals the top of the chimney. More so than any part of the chimney, the chimney crown is constantly exposed to the elements. Because of this, the crown may deteriorate more quickly than other parts of the chimney, especially when improperly constructed. Likewise, because the chimney crown cannot be seen from street level, damage may not be noticed until water has begun leaking in your home.

Masonry: While masonry is built to withstand the elements, water can be an extremely damaging force. Over time, water can cause extensive masonry damage, especially when left unrepaired or unchecked. Mortar joints are particularly susceptible to water damage; if deteriorated, the masonry joints may also let water in to damage the surrounding bricks as well as the underlying building materials.

Repairing a leaky chimney

If a leaky chimney has caused water damage in your home, you may be eager to repair the damage as soon as possible. Repairing the water damage without finding the source of the leaking, however, is often a futile exercise. If the source of the leak is not found and repaired first, the water damage will continue to come back. By identifying the source of the leak – whether it is the fault of the chimney or the roof – and having it repaired, you can rest assured that your home will be safe against further future water damage.

If you’re experiencing leaking on the walls and ceilings around your chimney, don’t immediately call a roofer – your chimney may be to blame! Contact the expert at Pristine Sweeps today to have your chimney professionally evaluated for signs of leaking or water damage.