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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Chimney repair -still leaking

    We have a leak that is supposedly coming from the chimney in our 1885 house. The leak is coming through a wall on the 3rd floor where the wall butts up to the chimney. The chimney has a cement cap with screened vents built into two sides of brick work. Only hot water line is vented through this chimney. Background: we hired a leak professional to determine whether it was the roof, chimney or both that was the source of the problem. He said chimney and we proceeded from there. The repairs consists of removing and resetting some loose bricks at rear or backside of chimney and adding some flashing to what now exist. Had repairs made this past week. It then rained and I used moisture meter to test wall. It registered moisture at the same level (when it rains) as before repairs were made. No change at all with repairs.
    What do we do now? After informing mason, he sent message that the bricks behind the face brick were crushed and soaking wet and that moisture was absorbed into face brick, rendering the moisture reading "not accurate". What do you think? What is tenable under these circumstances? Your help and insight is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    Chimney leaks in these old brick/stone masonry chimneys, especially one 150 years old, can be very hard to find & remedy; given the height of the chimney in a 3-story house from the ground, I don't recommend you attempt any diy repairs; since the present mason has not been able to solve the problem, perhaps your best option is to consult the Yellow Pages under "Chimney Builders & Repair" or "Masons", or "Stone Masons" to see if you can get someone else in there with better skills or better ideas as to how to proceed next.

    A qualified chimney mason will be more likely to take the time it requires to closely examine the pointing (masonry joints) on all parts of the chimney & to make needed pointing repairs to rule out any leaks from that source; the fact of the matter is that any tiny razor-thin leak on the pointing, hairline cracks on the crown (see video below for terms used here) or on the base flashing & counter-flashing can let tons of water in anytime it rains.

    The task now is to find a contractor who has the experience to be able to examine a roof, and perhaps use a garden hose to spray at different points if the hairline cracks are difficult to find.

    In an extreme case, the chimney is removed below the shingle line, new decking & re-roofing is installed, and the exhaust for the hot water heater is run thru a small 4" stainless steel roof vent.

    Check out the post by Dodsworth at the site below for videos from expert chimney masons for tips & ideas on roof leaks.


    https://advice.thisoldhouse.com/show...=chimney&leaks
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDKaMuGOIb8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G9z5aI0gMg
    Last edited by Dobbs; 06-09-2013 at 10:30 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    central pa
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    i have a few questions first. did you check the moisture level before it rained and after because if the masonry is saturated it will take quite a while for it to dry out. second was the old flashing removed and replaced of just some new stuff slapped over the old? is the chimney lined? was the whole chimney repointed or just patched in a few spots? and did the mason say the brick was very old and porous? any of these things could be causing the issue or it could actually be fixed and you just have to wait for things to dry depending upon whether of not you saw a rise in moisture with the rain or just no drop yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,557

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    Often times this is caused by feeding a a small flue into a large chimney. The down pressure in the chimney prevents the exhaust flue gas from leaving the chimney and condensation occurs. The cooler the day the worst it is.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    Thank you all for your responses.

    Junkout-I did not check moisture meter before it rained. Wished I had;good idea. Old flashing was not removed but new flashing was to be installed above existing flashing. The loose bricks which are located in small areas against each other, were to be removed and reset. Some other areas were to be patched in spots. Mason did not give report on condition of bricks removed. If bricks could be reset as is, they were to be reused or new ones used if condition bad.

    The chimney is to be sprayed with a masonary water repellant. Should the chimney dry out completely before repellant is applied? Concern is how do I know chimney is not leaking if it isn't completely dried out before repellant applied and wall replastered. Shouldn't chimney be tested with a garden hose before having the repellant applied? With the rain, is it the practice to wait and let it dry before spraying it? Your insight is appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    central pa
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    we generally only use repellents as an absolute last resort. if the mortar is repaired properly and the brick is in decent shape there should be no need for the repellent. I feel that repellants are a temporary band aid to a issue that should be fixed properly. I would monitor the moisture level. and as said before there could be allot of water coming from the flue gasses of your water heater. you should have the chimney liner if there is one at all evaluated I can almost guarantee it is not sized properly and I am sure it is not insulated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    junkout- There is a liner. We thought when it was installed it ran from top to bottom. It doesn't. We did not find this out (as much as I hate to admit) for several years. Shame on us. It is hard for me to imagine that just the water heater gases are causing this leak. The leak existed prior to removal of the heater which is now directly vented outdoors, not through the chimney. Don't know what to think of the water repellant. Are you suggesting that in spite of repairs, the liner needs to run top to bottom, and, excuse my ignorance, what do you mean by it being insulated?
    Let me add this information. There is a similar chimney located on opposite side of house. There are no issues with it now or at any time we have lived here. It is in a more protected area than the chimney with the leak but we have not spent any $$ on it.
    The concern is how do we know that the leak is fixed? Do we get someone else? If not, how do we insure to the best we can that the issue has been taken care of?
    Thank you,
    Pure Fool

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    central pa
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    well if the water heater is now direct vented then that is not the problem. and liners should be insulated by either wrapping them with an insulation blanket before putting them in the chimney of by pouring a vermiculite and cement mix around them after they are dropped into the chimney. but that isn't your problem if the water heater is no longer vented through the chimney. so I would have the chimney checked and see if it needs repointed. if the mortar was in bad enough shape that some bricks were loose I would bet the top needs to be repointed or rebuilt. the problem with repellents is that they do absolutely nothing to seal cracks so if the mortar is bad they will not help. all they will fix is if the bricks them selves are porous enough that they are absorbing lots of water. so my recommendation is have the chimney inspected by a chimney sweep to see if it needs repointed. also use your moisture meter to monitor the moisture level to see if it is slowly getting better and if it gets worse with rain. I would also ask if they put new step and counter flashing and if they cut the new counter flashing into the brick or just attached it and caulked the top edge.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Chimney repair -still leaking

    Thanks again, Junkout. With the responses, I have a much better understanding which will hopefully permit me to hire the right person. It won't be the guy who said get rid of the chimney or the one who wanted to stucco it. (We have no stucco anywhere). Appreciate all the help.

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