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Repairing Your Chimney’s Crown to Protect it from Freeze & Thaw Damage This Winter

It’s no surprise that the exteriors of our chimney’s oftentimes get ignored. While we may frequently use our fireplaces inside our house, we rarely think about the lesser seen components of it existing outside; however, they are just as, if not, more important. Chimneys ensure the proper ventilation and function of our fireplaces, so that we not only can continue to enjoy them, but also doing so safely. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), it’s also especially important for those people who have masonry chimneys to pay special attention to its porous surfaces, as they are much more easily damaged by water elements and freeze/thaw occurrences. A particular component that sees a majority of this wear and tear is the chimney crown.

What is the Crown?Chimney Crown Repair Winter and Snow Middle Peninsula VA

The crown is a vital part of any masonry chimney, although it can oftentimes be overlooked. It’s the small concrete roof at the very top of the chimney, and its usually made from a cement mixture and specially formed to create an overhang called a “drip edge” which allows moisture to run off the sides of the chimney and therefore reduce the amount of water being absorbed into the structure. This also reduces the amount of erosion happening on the chimney’s vertical surfaces. The CSIA recommends that the overhang or “drip edge” projects a minimum of two inches from the chimney, and that it is also constructed from a special Portland cement based mixture, build to withstand longer periods of weather abuse.

Water: An Enemy to the Crown

One of the most destructive elements to masonry chimneys happens to be water. Deterioration from water happens especially during the winter months when the temperatures are consistently lower. During this time there is usually a constant freeze/thaw process occurring. What happens is moisture that has penetrated the chimney and crown’s porous surfaces freezes and expands, therefore causing exorbitant amounts of stress. According to the CSIA, this resulting stress from water/freeze damage can also cause other types of problems including, but not limited to:

– Deteriorating metal or masonry firebox assemblies
-Rotting adjacent wood and ruined wall coverings
water stained walls and ceilings
-Decayed exterior mortar
-Tilted or collapsed chimney structure

Prevention Is Key

Making sure the chimney crown isn’t damaged is a great way to not only prevent further damage to your chimney, but also to other parts of your home. If your crown is damaged, the amount of water seeping into other parts will increase, and so will the capacity for more damage, which may require costly repairs. The simplest ways to ensure your chimney doesn’t succumb to the damaging effects of water and freezing is to have it inspected in order to find any damage or potential hazards and, if any are found, to have them repaired in a timely manner. Olde Town Chimney Sweeps has been leading the industry in the Gloucester and Middle Peninsula’s surrounding areas for over three decades. Using our roster of CSIA certified technicians, we will not only inspect your chimney for potential hazards, but can also repair it. If your crown is damaged, we can replace it using either a cast-in-place unit customized to your chimney’s exact specifications or a precast unite that requires little or no customization. Olde Town even offers special water proofing products designed to repel up to 99.9% of the moisture coming into contact with your chimney to ensure it can withstand even the harshest of water/freeze elements. One of the worst things you can do is ignore your chimney, so make sure a small problem doesn’t turn into a larger one! Contact us today!

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