What To Do When Your Chimney Damages Your Roof

A chimney adds visual interest to the exterior of your home and brings a traditional touch to the most modern of houses. Unfortunately, many old-fashioned chimneys go decades without proper maintenance and inspection. Call in the professionals to fix your chimney promptly or you'll soon contact a roofing repair specialist for at least one of these four problems.

Chimney Collapse

You don't use your old chimney anymore because you know it's leaky and cracking. Letting a damaged masonry unit stand puts your roof at risk for serious damage if the bricks and blocks come apart and tumble down. A falling concrete chimney cap easily smashes through the layers of asphalt shingles and punctures through the plywood below.

A hole created by a collapsing chimney needs the same attention as a puncture caused by a huge tree limb. Failing to call for emergency repairs leaves your attic and walls exposed to the exterior, letting moisture in to create rot where it's not so easy to find. Chimneys that went years without maintenance likely need an immediate inspection.

If the masonry repair teams finds the mortar between the blocks can no longer hold the structure together, invest in a repair visit to stabilize those joints. Removing the old chimney altogether is the next best option to prevent damage to the roof.

Sparks and Fire

Stoking up a roaring fire in your living room or den is a cozy way to spend a winter evening. Building a big fire while your chimney lacks a proper cap could leave your roof splattered with burn marks due to falling sparks. Protect your shingles from sparks by:

  • Installing a spark catching screen at the top of the chimney and keeping it clean with annual maintenance.
  • Cleaning the chimney at least once a year to prevent fires from igniting inside it, which spews sparks that are still hot when they land.
  • Burning only seasoned, dry, hardwood logs so flammable creosote doesn't build up as quickly on the walls.
  • Keeping the fire hot instead of letting it die down and smolder, which sends up more smoke and sparks.

Aside from flying sparks, your chimney could set the entire roof on fire and threaten the safety of your family. Letting the creosote build up on the walls of your chimney means a fire can burn all the way to the top. Chimney fires heat up the walls and roof enough to cause combustion even without direct contact between the roaring flames and other materials.

Ice and Water

Fire is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the relationship between your roof and your chimney. However, this structure also lets water and other forms of moisture into the home because it rises through an opening in the roof. Strips of metal wrap around the point where the chimney comes through the roof, which is known as flashing.

When old pieces of lead or aluminum flashing break down, water starts leaking straight down into the home's structure. Ice accumulation around the edge further accelerates the damage to the flashing. An experienced roofer can quickly replace or repair the current flashing - there's no need to call a chimney specialist for this kind of maintenance.

It is best to check out a chimney before buying a home, but sometimes you fall in love with a beautiful house despite a few hidden flaws. Spending a few thousand dollars on repairs or removal can save you tens of thousands of dollars later. Compare the impact of a major roof repair when you decide to let your chimney go a few more months without attention.Try contacting a chimney repair specialist or roofer or go to websites like this one to ensure that your chimney is properly and safely maintained.