Maintaining Your Chimney in Victoria, B.C.
Chimneys are the main ventilation source for most homes, as they are built to safely and efficiently vent everything from wood-burning fireplaces to boilers and furnaces. Yet, they are one of the most problematic ventilation sources as well. When it comes to your roof, chimneys can be the weakest link in regard to rain water entering your home and causing interior damage. That's why it's important to monitor them throughout the year, especially during the rainy seasons.
Here at Lennox Masonry, we work on dozens of chimneys throughout Victoria, BC each and every year. We typically encounter much of the same issues and have compiled a list of things to look out for when it comes to maintaining your chimney:
1. Open Flue Liners:
Flue liners are the ventilation shafts of the chimney. If a chimney is venting more than one heat source, such as a gas fireplace and a furnace, it would require two flue liners to safely vent each of these sources. The issue with leaving clay flue liners open, such as those depicted above, is that the liners are inviting in elements such as rain and snow, to a variety of critters. We have found everything from bats to a family of racoons in flue liners over the years.
When rain and moisture enter into the flue liners (especially when the liners aren't in use), the water can work its way between the liners and begin to wreak havoc with the interior of the chimney until it begins to affect the interior of a house.
In order to prevent water damage, we recommend utilizing chimney pots to shelter the flue liners from the elements.And in the case of critters, we typically adhere a fine steel mesh to the interior of the chimney point, so as to prevent any rodents from entering into the flue.
2. Missing or Failing Mortar Joints:
Foliage growing from the chimney, as well as missing or recessed mortar joints can be indicative of water damage occurring. As moisture penetrates between the brick/stone and mortar, it expands and contracts throughout the seasons, further separating the chimney components. It's important to have your chimney repointed or rebuilt once you begin to notice a separation occurring. The consequence of not being proactive about your chimney is that it may lead to further interior damage which can end up being quite costly. We find that most chimneys, if caught early enough, really only require a repointing. Repointing consists of removing any and all decrepit mortar from the surface to a depth of approximately 1" into the chimney and replacing it with new mortar. A rebuild is required if the mortar is decrepit from front to back and if the chimney's bricks are spalling (falling apart).
3. Failing Concrete Crowns:
Concrete crowns, otherwise known as concrete caps, are large slabs of concrete which are either placed or poured in place at the top of a chimney. A concrete crown, if built to code, should sufficiently surround the flue liners and overhang from the chimney structure in all directions by 4". The concrete crown should also have a built-in drip edge, so as to wick water away from the chimney itself. A broken, failing, or non-existent concrete crown will cause water damage and erosion to the interior of the chimney, which will inevitably weaken the chimney over time.
We recommend pouring a concrete crown in place which meets all code requirements established by the City of Victoria, BC.
4. Failing Flashing:
You will find flashing at the base of your chimney along the roof. The purpose of the flashing is to prevent water from entering into the home and to help the water flow around and away from the chimney. Flashing is typically adhered to the roof beneath the shingles and is then tied into the brick or stone of the chimney. Be sure to check that a bead of caulking is still present between the chimney and the flashing. While the flashing itself can remain in good shape for decades, the seals between the flashing and the chimney may only last for 5-10 years before separating and failing. Depending on the age of the chimney and the flashing, your flashing may need to be updated to meet the latest code requirements.
If you reside in Victoria, BC or the Greater Victoria area and your chimney is exhibiting any of the aforementioned issues, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for a chimney inspection, repair, or rebuild. Lennox Masonry has worked on hundreds of chimneys over the years, including heritage-designated chimneys, and will meet your needs in a professional capacity. Visit our 'How It Works' page today to review our process and contact us with your project details.
Lennox Masonry of Victoria, BC has been proudly serving both Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands for over a decade. We are small group of skilled masons with a great deal of passion towards our trade and for improving the communities we live and work in. We extend our gratitude to the lək̓ʷəŋən people for allowing us to share and work on this corner of the garden with them. We are thankful for the residents and businesses of Victoria, BC for supporting us in our endeavors!
If you’re in need of a professional and reliable masonry company for your next project, please contact us today!