Roof maintenance tends to focus on shake, shingle or membrane application and repair, which take considerable time and by necessity cover the entire top surface of the building. In light of that, homeowners often forget that their residence also has a massive hole in it, but fortunately, one that was created on purpose. It still needs to have regular inspections and upkeep to ensure it doesn’t become a liability, especially in the rainy seasons.
Chimney maintenance is highly dependent on a couple of factors. The first, as with many aspects of roofing in general, is waiting for the right time of the year to start. Read on to learn more about how chimney problems come about and what processes a qualified roofing contractor can undertake. Knowing when to call the experts to fix these common problems can mean all the difference in the long run.
When and Why of Roofing Services and Chimneys
The normal exposure to the elements that all residential roofs undergo in the 25 or so years before major renovations tend to cause various kinds of damage to the structure. Bricks and stone can become worn or begin to crack. The metal flashing that cover the joints of the chimney and the roof can start to rust or come loose, allowing water and moisture into the roof structure and causing damage. Many of these problems arise in the fall and winter months.
A Chimney is the Sum of Its Parts
Here are just a few of the terms you may hear bandied about with respect to chimneys:
- Crown – The piece resting at the top of the chimney; helps to protect exposed masonry from water and weather damage.
- Flue – The empty space inside a chimney that lets combustion gases vent.
- Damper – A lever or pulley activated door within a chimney. Can be closed to prevent energy loss when fireplace not in use, and help prevent rain water or animals from entering your home.
Needed Chimney Repair May Indicate Underlying Problems
A full, ground level to roof chimney on the side of a house places a large amount of weight in a relatively small area. Your home may have foundation issues from house settlement that lead to a tilting or leaning chimney. If the foundation isn’t stable, a chimney can begin to lean and bricks start to crack. Some contractors recommend chimney strapping, which involves tying the chimney to the house. This doesn’t address the underlying foundation issue, however, and can result in your chimney pulling on the part of your home that it is strapped to, forcing the structure to lean even more. Some signs include:
- Chimney tilting or leaning
- Cracks where chimney and home foundations meet
- Roof damage where flashing meets chimney
- Gaps between chimney and home walls that have been filled in with mortar, foam or caulk.
Another type of roof service that may need to be done is tuckpointing, which is the process of filling in the cracks of a stone chimney with mortar. Always select a reliable and experienced roofer to handle this; if not done properly, the problem can be exacerbated and further damage can occur. Hiring a qualified roofing contractor ensures that any sort of necessary chimney repair will be done with the utmost care in order to maintain the structure’s integrity.
As a renovator Doug did many rot repairs which gave him a good understanding of where and why buildings leak, and how to prevent it. He realized the need for a different approach to roofing; one that educated the customer enough to make good decisions. With better trained installers and a quality inspection process Absolute Roof Solutions was born…” Read more.
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