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  1. #1
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    Oct 2009
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    Default Heat Loss Thru Huge Stone Fireplace Chimney!! How to....

    FIX IT RIGHT?? Where's Mike Holmes when you need him...in Vegas actually so thanks in advance to the experts here @ TOH which I have enjoyed reading very much sooo with water enetring my home yet again (worst winter yet I know) and after repeated efforts by the last roofing company (20+K Job) to keep it out (they have failed over and over....I'm baisically looking at trying to eliminate the source of the water that is building on many sides of my roof edges, valleys etc. House is 36 years old....lacking proper roof insualtion I KNOW...maybe R25 AND NO attic due to design so when last roofed we created a soffit/ridge channel with furing strips, special drip edge with vent for the top deck which seems to help a great deal in summer with heat but in winter not so much AND around that huge fireplace chimney (roughly 8'X3' with 5 chases in it) where it exits my roof I melt snow ALL winter (see pics) certainly the MAJOR source of 90% of the water I have since tried a couple roof vents, one on each end splitting the furring strip channel which seems to have helped a small amount with the heat that has been making it's way ALL the way down the the roof on each end the width of the chimney. OK so here's my question: the stone is obvisouly radiating heat from the interior and the actual chases..the bolier vent is the hottest and is on the end with the grey vent (melts snow all the way down to roof edge eventually even with the vent in there. Back to the question...I can ramble cant I...HOW DO I FIX THIS??? FOAM I"M THINKING/PRAYING...I've tried to bring the ridge vent as close to the rock as I can and still be water tight in summer...could spray foam be applied inside neerest roof cavity to stone thru hole possibly or would the roof need to be opened up on top to spary actuall rocks where thry pass thru? a real pickle that I cant seem to get handled...your thoughts and plase see pics and ask for any others that may help...I surely have them.





  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
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    2,969

    Default Re: Heat Loss Thru Huge Stone Fireplace Chimney!! How to....

    I'm not sure there is anything you can do. That huge amount of masonry holds (and emits) a lot of heat. Even if it were perfectly insulated all around the chimney, you'd still have a fair amount of snow melt around the chimney.

    But then I live where it doesn't snow. (for a good reason)

  3. #3
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    Oct 2009
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    19

    Post Re: Heat Loss Thru Huge Stone Fireplace Chimney!! How to....

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    I'm not sure there is anything you can do. That huge amount of masonry holds (and emits) a lot of heat. But then I live where it doesn't snow. (for a good reason)
    Even if it were perfectly insulated all around the chimney, you'd still have a fair amount of snow melt around the chimney.
    What? Insulation blocks heat transfer last time a I checked AND spray FOAM is the best hands down...those are the people I figure I need to consult with...hello...any foamers out there with experiance with this type problem?


    That's not what I wanted to hear: "Houston we have a problem!" and not with the orbitor...LOL

    But thanks.and appreciate ALL opinions and just want to head off all this wet underlayment which my local carpenter ants just love..I consulted with roofer about bubbled shingles (summer heat) and was suggested to add another layer of sheating on furring strips so 3/4" thick air chase on 16" centers from custom drip edge with preforated underside egde to feed air to 3/4 vertical channels ending at ridge vent at top...unfortunately they weren't smart enough to even angle channel runs over to catch open chases where the runs dead headed into chimney ends THUS the reason I popped a couple vents in stradling the furring strips to catch each dead headed channel that wasnt open to the ridge vent at top...at least hopefully releasing any heat out there at the pot vents which on the hot boiler vent side seemed to radiate all the way down the roof to the edge the width of the chimney. I did think of a liner BUT I'm losing heat equally all the way around that chimney and the other 4 tile flues barely get used so?? I was hoping FOAM might be the answer with this ALL the way around it? All I know is the rest of the roof has minimal melting and around the chimney IS the big issue with all this water coming down...a REAL PIMA believe me.. I love being up on that roof shovling it all off and sledge hammering the 12" of ice several times a winter like this. Those outside pictures I used were a previous winter...weve had 7 feet of snow here so far this year and a month to go...I did this work yesterday am before it was even light out after finding running water yet again coming thru that valley and down my interior walls this morning...not good! but I fixed it again for now. Gotta fix the heat loss up top and all else will good...I'm done with these roofers...at least this group...they were told to do the whole valley and that area thats shovled in pic with Grace ICE and Water solid on new dry plywood sheating under those shingles...they failed and theres just to much water coming down to that unheated side porch roof.
    Stupid photo bucket/windows rotated images problems...I'm gonna figure that out too! one of these days..click on the picture and it'll show the right way...I know...why does it do that in the link///DOH!
    Last edited by Bigdog; 02-07-2014 at 06:11 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    2,203

    Default Re: Heat Loss Thru Huge Stone Fireplace Chimney!! How to....

    Don't be down on Houston- some of us prefer snow that lasts three days being a "big snow" And yep, that chimney is going to melt snow as long as it's there because the sun's heat gets stored in it even when the house is unoccupied.

    There's several things going on here. First, was the stone properly flashed underneath where it exits the roof? Does the main waterproofing layer go under or over that flashing? Is that flashed above and below? In one pic the only visible flashing seems to be at the bottom of the chimney with none at the sides or top. And with shakes (again looks like that in one pic) then you're likely to get leakage past them with snow or ice so that waterproofing layer becomes even more critical.

    The roofer should have noticed any irregularities with the chimney flashing, but he can't be held responsible for taking down stonework to do his job right though he could have stated that you need to fix that first, then call him in. With a brick chimney good-looking tuck-flashing is pretty easy, but with stone like yours it's dang near impossible, yet all masonry chimneys should be tuck flashed because masonry is not waterproof.

    Architects draw things on paper that look great but don't always work well in reality. Thing is, unless you design and build for the expected environment you are going to have problems. If I had drawn this building I would have detailed the flashing scheme on the prints and it would have been very specific, even though it would add a lot of work for the tradesmen. And ditto fir the roofing scheme. Tradesmen generally know how to deal with 'normal' construction but very few see the issues involved here and why other approaches and methods might be necessary, so they go with what they know.

    The bottom line is that if an undamaged roof leaks in anything short of a tornado or hurricane then something is wrong with the roof and it isn't always the direct fault of the roofer.

    I may be able to better advise you with my questions answered, but based on what I see happening with how most builders do things today, you may not like the advice.

    Phil

  5. #5
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    Oct 2009
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    19

    Default Re: Heat Loss Thru Huge Stone Fireplace Chimney!! How to....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    Don't be down on Houston- some of us prefer snow that lasts three days being a "big snow" And yep, that chimney is going to melt snow as long as it's there because the sun's heat gets stored in it even when the house is unoccupied.

    There's several things going on here. First, was the stone properly flashed underneath where it exits the roof? Does the main waterproofing layer go under or over that flashing? Is that flashed above and below? In one pic the only visible flashing seems to be at the bottom of the chimney with none at the sides or top. And with shakes (again looks like that in one pic) then you're likely to get leakage past them with snow or ice so that waterproofing layer becomes even more critical.

    The roofer should have noticed any irregularities with the chimney flashing, but he can't be held responsible for taking down stonework to do his job right though he could have stated that you need to fix that first, then call him in. With a brick chimney good-looking tuck-flashing is pretty easy, but with stone like yours it's dang near impossible, yet all masonry chimneys should be tuck flashed because masonry is not waterproof.

    Architects draw things on paper that look great but don't always work well in reality. Thing is, unless you design and build for the expected environment you are going to have problems. If I had drawn this building I would have detailed the flashing scheme on the prints and it would have been very specific, even though it would add a lot of work for the tradesmen. And ditto fir the roofing scheme. Tradesmen generally know how to deal with 'normal' construction but very few see the issues involved here and why other approaches and methods might be necessary, so they go with what they know.

    The bottom line is that if an undamaged roof leaks in anything short of a tornado or hurricane then something is wrong with the roof and it isn't always the direct fault of the roofer.

    I may be able to better advise you with my questions answered, but based on what I see happening with how most builders do things today, you may not like the advice.

    Phil
    Phil...thank you very much but the problem I'm trying to help/solve is not of the flashing of the chimney and leaks at and around IT which has never happened yet...it is how to contain the heat loss from reaching the roof deck around it and thus creating ALL this water that runs down to lower edges of both roofs in pictures creating huge ice dams of water that back up there as they freeze at edges 16" thick and then enter my valley and interior walls. The window you see in these pics is that small window in right corner under the porch...all that water melting around the chimney makes it's way down to that porch roof edge and ultimately in my house....now granted there are many ways to help water NOT enter your house (i.e. proper roofing techniques, electric cables on roof and in downspouts to keep open channels for exit etc) BUT clearly stopping the formation of the water where ever it starts IS the right fix IF possible?? maybe it isn't BUT I'm looking for some new ideas to FIX THIS RIGHT!




  6. #6
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    Jan 2008
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    Default Re: Heat Loss Thru Huge Stone Fireplace Chimney!! How to....

    There's no way I know of which will totally prevent heat from being transferred from that chimney to the decking surrounding it. The only practical thing I can see which may reduce it somewhat would be to use a flashing that transfers heat less readily than metal, perhaps some kind of rubber. There will still be some radiated heat transference involved even of you leave an open hole several inches wide around the chimney (which is of course impractical). A big part of the problem is the stone chimney itself, so unless it goes away neither will this problem.

    This leaves you with the option of leaving the problem intact but dealing with the effects it causes- in other words dealing with the water flow better than is happening now. A heated gutter that stays open might help, applying heat to the roof just above the gutter might prevent ice and snow from building up and extending past the gutter. Making the house parts under the gutter impervious to water from the outside may help too. But in looking at the pics what strikes me most is that this is a bad design for a house in your conditions. Too much roof is emptying into one vulnerable location, and the lower-pitched flare on the bottom of the right portion of the roof above the octagon window is bound to collect snow.

    So now we're seeing two design problems that are coming together to create a disaster. When the design doesn't match the conditions there are bound to be problems and this important aspect of house design appears to not have been adequately thought through in your case. The best solution to a bad design is to redesign it correctly, an answer that nobody wants to hear but one which needs to be said so that everyone understands what is going on so that it can be better addressed. Where I live we get some localized very heavy rainfall rates in summer thunderstorms, and I've had to redesign roof, gutter, and drainage systems to correct those leaks which should have never been built-in to the design but were anyway. Sometimes you get to choose between "pretty" and "workable" and you can't always have both.

    Part of this problem might be solved by shortening the left gutter above the octagon window to where the short downspout on the right drains into it, or just slightly past that, still under the overhang but not near the wall on the right. The pics show a filled gutter to that end, so in moving that end there would be no more water draining down that wall to the right of the octagon window. That would not help with the wall the octagon window is in. Is there a problem there, or only on the one wall on the right where the gutter ends? Help me understand this and I might be able to help more. Just understand that the solution may not be pretty but we'll try to get both that and workable going for you.

    Phil
    Last edited by Mastercarpentry; 02-09-2014 at 09:57 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Heat Loss Thru Huge Stone Fireplace Chimney!! How to....

    If your sick of the snow rake; it's time to put up electric heat cables. I think of heat cables as a method of last resort but they're called for to deal with certain trouble spots and design flaws. Zig zag the cables at the eaves over the side porch and run them straight up the sidewall/valley.

    It's unfortunate the roofers didn't add a layers of rigid insulation or fir out an 1 1/2" air space instead of only 3/4". A metal flue liner for the boiler may cool off the chimney a little but I doubt it would make enough of a difference. You could also add insulation to the inside of the ceiling, but that would cover up the paneling and conceal much of the beams. Injecting foam into ceiling cavities currently filled with fiberglass probably won't help much unless they are currently very poorly filled. There's supposed to be a airspace left between the roof framing and the chimney for fire safety reasons; it should not be filled with foam.

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