How Can I Tell If I Have a Leaky Roof or a Chimney Leak? 

A good rule of thumb is; if the leak appears on every rain or during melting snow then it’s a roof leak, if the leak appears intermittently, it’s a chimney or chimney     flashing leak.An intermittent leak, which is a leak that does not appear on every rain, is caused when wind blows rain from a certain direction against a failure in the chimney or chimney flashing.                                                                                                                            

What Does a Chimney Leak Look Like?

Damage from a leaky chimney often shows where the chimney abuts a wall.  The ceiling or wall will be stained, the paint peeling or on plaster a white chalky substance called “efflorescence” will appear.

What Causes a Chimney Leak?

Moisture penetrating your chimney, outside moisture is rain, snow or melting ice, inside moisture is from the hot water heater or furnace.

Outside moisture will penetrate through a damaged or missing chimney crown, failed pointing, spalling bricks, improper chimney flashing and a missing chimney cap.

What is a Chimney Crown?

The top of a chimney has an opening to exhaust the smoke and fumes.  A terra cotta flu pipe should be installed and a thick layer of concrete, which is known as a chimney crown should be poured covering the opening and abutting to the flu pipe.  The chimney crown should extend a few inches over the outside walls of the chimney so that water will drain away from and not run down the chimney walls. A properly constructed chimney crown is your best protection against chimney damage.

A chimney without a proper crown is like a toothache, ignore it and it will turn into a root canal.  I’ve seen chimneys fall down simply because the lack of a chimney crown.

What Causes Damaged Bricks and Pointing? 

The lack of a chimney crown is the main cause allowing water to penetrate the bricks.  On a warm winter day bricks will absorb moisture then during the colder night time temperatures moisture freezes and expands causing cracks and splits in the brick.

This damage is called “Spalling”.  Typical spalling is cracks, splits in the brick or flaking.

Another type of spalling is caused when the wrong mortar for pointing is used with soft brick.  Bricks absorbs moisture but hard mortar does not.  Bricks will expand as they absorb moisture, the hard mortar does not, causing the brick to split.  Using the correct mortar is especially important when working with older brick in historical chimney restorations. 

What is Chimney Flashing?

Where-ever the roof meets a wall, a flashing system should be installed to prevent water from penetrating between the wall and the roof.  A flashing system is a two part system; step flashings and counter flashings.  Step flashings are L-shaped and are installed between each course of roofing.  The bottom of the L is installed on the roofing and the upright part of the L abuts the wall.  The counter flashing is installed over the step flashing.  We install Reglet Counter Flashing, which is cut into the wall and won’t fail.  Mechanical Counter Flashing, also known as Philly Flashing, is caulked to the wall and will fail with-in a few years.

Why Is There Moisture in My Fire Box?

The most common cause of moisture in a fire box is the lack of a chimney hood.  A chimney hood is attached to the top of your flu pipe preventing water and animals from entering your chimney stack.

Excel Roofing and Siding has thirty years of experience helping home owners solve their chimney problems.  Contact us today at 610.608.1023 for a free no obligation inspection and estimate.

 Anatomy of a Chimney





Why Choose Excel Roofing and Siding

Our goal is to provide homeowners with a quality roof at an affordable roof cost.

Our promise is to assure that our customer’s rest easy knowing they have a top-quality roof system installed by the best roofing contractor.

We start every roofing project with a free inspection and evaluation to determine if the roof needs to be replaced or simply repaired.

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  • A Company That You Can Trust
    Excel Roofing and Siding replaced my roof and I was completely satisfied with their work. Kevin Creighton was very professional and made certain that everything was done on time and with-in the budget.
    Lou-Haddonfeild NJ
    January 13, 2012
  • Thanks Chuck, Great Job
    We had a roof leak and Chuck Keller was referred to us by a friend. I was incredibly impressed with his roofing knowledge and attention to detail.
    Molly-East Falls Pa
    April 18, 2012
  • Roof Leak Fixed
    We had a hard to find leak. Kevin Creighton did a water test, replaced some loose caulk and fixed the problem. He didn't even charge us.
    Jackie-Springfield Pa
    May 7, 2012
  • Excel Roofing and Siding restored our entire slate roof
    They replaced the valleys, copper dormers and copper gutters. The quality and price were unbelievable. Excel Roofing and Siding is the finest roofing company in the Philadelphia area
    Jacob-Elkins Park Pa
    October 22,2012