Anytime you have a leak it’s going to be stressful and frustrating. Some of the most frustrating leaks have to do with chimneys.
Adding to that frustration is wondering if you should call a roofing company or chimney company. The truth is, there could be multiple reasons your chimney is leaking, and who you call depends on the type of leak.
Here at Bill Ragan Roofing, we want to answer these questions to help ease your frustrations and get your roof leak taken care of properly. That’s why we’re going to break down the common chimney leaks and who you call to fix them.
Before getting to who to call, let’s go through the 3 reasons why your chimney could be leaking.
1. Chimney leaking from a rusted chase top
Over the top of your chimney, you’ll have a chase top that stops water from coming straight down into the chimney when it rains. It'll have a hole cut in the middle for the spark arrester and chimney pipe to come through that'll be sealed with caulk.
If the chase is lower in the middle than the rest of the steel panel, it’s going to hold water. This leads to water coming into the chimney because the chase top is rusted through.
The chase top could also leak from the caulk failing around the hole that the chimney pipe and spark arrestor comes through. Whatever the problem is with the chase top, you can catch these potential chimney leaks with yearly roof maintenance.
2. Brick saturation leading to a chimney leak
If you have a brick chimney, bricks and mortar are porous enough to absorb water when it rains. In a perfect world, the chase top (top of your chimney) would direct the water evenly off of it in all directions.
Unfortunately, this never happens. What usually happens is the water goes off one corner of the chase top, and after it's been raining for a long time, it saturates the bricks so much that it drips inside the chimney.
That isn’t as common today as it used to be because of how chimneys are built today. However, it’s still a problem homeowners call about every time there’s a prolonged period of rain.
Luckily, all a roofing contractor has to do to stop this chimney leak is seal the bricks with a masonry water repellent that prevents water from saturating the bricks and mortar.
3. Chimney leaking from problems with the roof flashing
Roof flashing is a thin metal material that roofers install to direct water away from certain areas of your roof, including your chimney. There are two reasons your chimney would be leaking because of flashing.
The first reason is that the flashing was improperly installed. When this happens, your chimney has nothing stopping the water from getting inside it and getting into your home.
For this chimney leak, you’ll have to rely on your contractor’s workmanship warranty or call a new roofer to come out and reflash your chimney properly.
The second reason is the flashing around your chimney is worn down. All roofing materials reach the end of their lifespan eventually; roof flashing is no different.
Just like if it was improperly installed, water will get into your chimney if the roof flashing reaches the end of its lifespan or it’s damaged. When this happens, you’ll have to pay to have it replaced to fix the chimney leak.
Who do you call to fix your chimney leak?
Now that you know a few reasons why your chimney could be leaking, you’re probably wondering, “Do I call a roofing contractor or a chimney company?”
I recommend starting with a local roofing contractor first. Let them inspect the potential problems we discussed earlier in this article, like the flashing and the bricks.
If it’s one of those two problems, your roofing contractor should be able to take care of it. But if it's a problem with the chase top and it needs to be replaced, then you've got to call a chimney company.
To remove the spark arrestor, replace the chase top, and then put the spark arrestor back on, a company needs a rider on their insurance policy in case it doesn’t get put back together right. Most roofing companies aren’t going to have this on their insurance.
If a fire starts, the fire inspectors will look towards the last person who touched it. If a roofer doesn't have that rider on their insurance policy, there will be a big problem between the roofing company and the homeowner's insurance.
So, always call a roofer first, let them do the inspection, and then figure out the next steps to take care of your chimney leak.
Make sure you hire a great roofing contractor to take care of your chimney leak
Now you know you should call a first roofing contractor when you notice your chimney leaking. But before reaching out to one, you need to be sure that you’re making the right hiring decision to ensure your chimney problem is taken care of.
I guarantee your area will be packed with roofers. So, how do you find a great one in a sea of roofing companies?
That comes down to knowing what to look for during your research. To help you with this, we’re going to give you 7 tips every homeowner needs to find a great roofing contractor.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners in Nashville and surrounding areas with their chimney leaks and other roofing services since 1990. Whether it’s a chimney leak or another roof leak, you can count on our high-quality workmanship and lifetime warranty to take care of your problems.
If you’re local to Nashville, don’t hesitate to contact us for your chimney or other roofing needs.