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Don’t Neglect a Damaged Chimney Crown!

The chimney crown is one of the most important components of a chimney system. Made (usually) of concrete, it forms the layer at the top of the chimney that protects the bricks and interior spaces from water damage. FlameMaster Chimney Sweep of Colorado would like to share some details on what can damage a chimney crown and why this damage must be addressed sooner rather than later.

Chimney Crown Services Cripple Creek, Colorado

A properly built chimney crown

When built by an experienced chimney mason, a chimney crown will be made of high-quality concrete. When built by individuals without the necessary experience, a crown may be made of standard masonry mortar, which won’t provide stability and long life.

Crowns should be angled downward from where they surround the flue opening. This allows rain water and melting snow to run off and away from the chimney structure.

 How chimney crowns become damaged

Damage to a chimney crown can be as minor as hairline cracks and as major as widespread deterioration. Old age will eventually cause even the best-built crowns to fail. Other common causes of chimney crown damage include:

  • Earthquakes
  • Lightning strikes
  • Freeze/thaw cycles
  • Inferior materials (as noted above)
  • Pounding hail

The danger of neglecting a damaged chimney crown

Once the crown begins to crack, separate and decay, water can easily intrude. The bricks beneath the crown will absorb water and begin to deteriorate, eventually causing major masonry damage.

When water moves down into the chimney structure, it can begin to affect the interior bricks and mortar, leading to further damage. Incoming water can also cause rust on the fireplace damper and inside the firebox.

Water damage is the reason for most chimney repairs in the U.S. each year. When early signs of chimney crown problems aren’t addressed quickly, the trouble can spread and end up costing the homeowner thousands of dollars in repair and rebuilding costs. A severely damaged chimney isn’t only expensive to fix, it’s also dangerous to live around.

Signs of a leaky chimney

Your chimney crown probably isn’t something you take a good look at every day, so you may not be aware of its condition at all times. You can, however, easily keep an eye out for signs of a chimney leak, which could point to a problem with the crown or other component.

  • Water in the firebox
  • Musty smells coming from the fireplace or in the attic and crawl spaces
  • Damp section of the ceiling or walls near the fireplace
  • White stains (efflorescence) on the exterior chimney masonry
  • Loose (spalling) bricks and decayed mortar in the masonry

If you notice any of these signs, arrange for a chimney inspection.

Chimney Inspection Lake George, ColoradoThe value of annual chimney inspections

The chimney crown is just one component of your chimney/fireplace system. All the components, including the structure itself, need to be checked out regularly by an experienced chimney inspector in order to catch early signs of damage.

Basic chimney inspections cover all visible areas of the chimney and fireplace:

  • Chimney crown
  • Chimney cap or flue cover
  • Chimney chase top on manufactured chimneys
  • Chimney bricks and mortar joints
  • Chimney flashing
  • Fireplace damper
  • Firebox

More-involved inspections can be performed if they’re warranted.

We’ll help you keep your chimney safe

FlameMaster is here to help with all your chimney needs, from chimney sweeping and inspections to chimney repair and rebuilding work. We serve Woodland Park, CO, Colorado Springs, CO, Divide, CO, Manitou Springs, CO, Cripple Creek, CO, Victor, CO, and other local cities and towns.

Speak with a chimney expert today at (719) 661-3277 or get in touch with our easy contact form.