Should You Use A Chimney Sealant?
Chimneys experience a wide variety of weather. The constant changes in temperature, pounding rains, and freeze and thaw cycles can age a chimney quicker than you’d like and make it more prone to deterioration. The question remains, could a chimney sealant make a difference?
Most chimneys are made of brick and brick is a very porous material, meaning it has openings that allow for the collection of water. The problem begins as water freezes within the brick and if you remember your 8th-grade science. Frozen water molecules expand (that’s why a glass of water cracks in the freezer). The expansion causes the brick to crack to allow more space for the water and the cycle continues because the cracks and holes accommodate more water leading to even bigger cracks.
How Sealants Work
As mentioned before brick is naturally porous and this is necessary because it allows the brick to “breathe.” Water collected in the brick can escape (evaporate) easily. Sealants like silicone or polyurethane coat the brick and create a “seal” that keeps water from entering or exiting the brick. Therefore, some maintenance should be done to a chimney before it is sealed. If a chimney has excess moisture in the brick and then a sealant is applied that moisture will not be able to escape. The freeze and thaw cycles will continue and the damage to the brick will not be avoided. A sealant is sprayed onto the chimney so that it soaks through the brick and dries. When correctly applied, waterproofing by using a sealant can last more than 15 years. It is always best to have a chimney inspection and get the advice of a professional to tell you what stage your chimney is in and aid in choosing the right sealant.
How to Spot Water Damage
There are 3 obvious signs of water damage on a chimney.
1.) Cracks and missing mortar are a sign that water damage has eroded your brick.
2.) Efflorescence – this is a chalky white residue left behind from evaporated water. It will leave white staining on your chimney and is clear evidence of water damage.
3.) Broken pieces of brick lying around your chimney. This is called spalling
The best maintenance is prevention. If you are the owner of a new home and chimney, having an inspection and getting your chimney waterproofed is an excellent way to extend the life of your chimney. It will also reduce the likelihood of future headaches. Call a professional today for the maintenance you need and to answer any questions you may have. Some homeowners try to go the” do-it-yourself” route but if a homeowner is not knowledgeable, they could miss important clues to the health of their chimney and end up neglecting issues or causing them without knowing. Here at Felgemacher Masonry and Chimney, it’s our job to make sure your chimney is functioning as it’s supposed to. We will inspect your chimney and provide you with the service you need. Give us a call today 716-907-4914 (Buffalo) or 585-316-0465 (Rochester) you can also reach us online.