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What Is a Chimney Cricket or Saddle?

What is a Chimney Cricket - Atlanta GA - Old Hat Chimney ServiceMany people have no idea what a chimney cricket is, but, for some chimneys, this water leak preventive tool is a necessity. Is your chimney situated on a slope of your roof? If so, you may have a problem with water pooling where your exterior chimney meets the roof. Is your chimney wider than 30 inches? This is another factor that allows water from rain and melted snow to accumulate around the base of your chimney on the roof. When water pools in this area, the bricks and mortar of your chimney are in danger of that water penetrating into those masonry materials to cause deterioration and damage. The inside of your home can also be at risk for water damage. If you answered yes to the questions above, you can trust Old Hat Chimney Service to solve this problem. As part of our customized flashing services, we can build and install a chimney cricket to protect the base of your chimney from being surrounded by accumulated water. Since many of our customers are unaware of this type of chimney flashing, we would like to share with you some information from the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) that explains more about chimney crickets.

What exactly is a chimney cricket?

A miniature roof constructed from aluminum, galvanized steel, or stainless steel, a chimney cricket can be installed on the rear of your chimney. With a peak that keeps water and debris away from your chimney, this piece of flashing protects your chimney from water leaking into its bricks and mortar.

How can a chimney cricket keep water out of my chimney?

With a ridge on the top, a chimney cricket is constructed with angled sides that direct water from rain and melted snow away from your chimney so that no pooling occurs on the roof around the base of the chimney. Not only does pooled water put your chimney at a greater risk for water leaks, this water can also freeze in the winter to form an ice dam. This can create even more water accumulation on your roof around your chimney because an ice dam can keep water from flowing down the roof, which can cause water to leak into other areas of your home. To prevent an ice dam from forming on your roof, Old Hat Chimney Service recommends installing a chimney cricket to direct water away from your chimney and down your roof. As mentioned earlier, you should seriously think about adding a chimney cricket to your flashing system if your chimney is located on a downward slope of your roof or is wider than 30 inches.

Why is it so important to prevent water penetration of my chimney?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water penetration is the biggest enemy of your masonry chimney because how much deterioration and damage it can do to the bricks, mortar, chimney liner, and the walls and ceilings of your house. A professionally customized and installed flashing system including a chimney cricket can protect your chimney from water penetration as well as save you money on expensive repairs due to water leaks.

Want to know more about chimney crickets? Contact Old Hat Chimney Service to learn about our custom chimney cricket and other flashing installation services to keep your chimney safe from water penetration.

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Spalling: How Cold Winter Temperatures Affect Your Chimney

Chimney Spaling Damage - Atlanta GA - Old Hat Chimney ServiceOver time, the exterior bricks and mortar of your masonry chimney are going to naturally suffer weather-related damage no matter how well-built your chimney may be. Not only do older chimneys experience deterioration, newer masonry chimneys can also show signs of damage if they are not properly maintained. The biggest signs of masonry decay include cracks, holes, and broken bricks and mortar, All of these signs are symptoms of spalling, a term we at Old Hat Chimney Service often have to explain to customers. We would like to take an opportunity to tell you more about the causes, impact, and repair of chimney spalling damage and how cold winters lead to spalling.

What exactly is spalling?

Spalling is the chipping off or loss of surface of any masonry material, including a brick chimney, a masonry block chimney, or even concrete sidewalks. You are most likely with how potholes appear on roads after a snow or ice storm; that is a perfect example of spalling damage.

What causes spalling?

The biggest enemies of a masonry chimney are water exposure and penetration, and these things have a lot to do with spalling. With the most severe damage occurring in colder climates, the freeze-thaw process causes major spalling deterioration. When water leaks into the bricks and mortar of your chimney, that trapped water will freeze in cold temperatures and expand. As the temperatures rise and the ice thaws, parts of those bricks and mortar will break off completely because of the stress of the expansion. Each time this cycle repeats in a season, the more spalling occurs, and eventually, structural damage to your chimney can result.

Other than structural damage, are there other impacts of chimney spalling?

Yes, besides structural damage to your chimney, spalling can cause bricks to fall into your chimney and cause a hazardous flue blockage. Your flue should always be inspected when your chimney suffers from spalling damage. Additionally, holes left in your chimney structure from lost bricks and mortar increase the opportunity for more water leaks, which leads to more costly damages.

How can spalling be repaired?

If the damage is not too serious, the expert masons at Old Hat Chimney Service can fill in the holes, brick by brick. In the worst case scenario such as your chimney suffering severe spalling damage, we will need to tear it down to a sound level and rebuild. When a flue has also suffered damage, rebuilding the chimney allows for new flue tiles to be installed.

How can I prevent spalling? 

Keeping water out is the main key to prevent spalling damage. To stop water leaks, you should be sure you do not have a damaged or missing chimney crown or chimney cap. Damaged flashing also leads to water penetration of your masonry chimney. Our certified technicians at Old Hat Chimney Service can inspect, repair, and install all three of these essential components of your chimney. We can also apply a 100% vapor-permeable waterproofing formula to further protect your masonry from water-caused spalling damage.

If you have noticed signs of spalling on your chimney, contact Old Hat Chimney Service today. Our masons will take care of your chimney and give their full attention to any damage done.

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Repairing a Leaky Chimney

Water in your chimney is a recipe for disaster. Have CSIA-certified experts waterproof your chimney as well as repair water damage, if there are any.

Water in your chimney is a recipe for disaster. Have CSIA-certified experts waterproof your chimney as well as repair water damage, if there are any.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water is the biggest enemy of your masonry chimney. When your chimney brickwork is penetrated by water, all sorts of expensive damage is possible, and when leaks develop, it is definitely time to have the leaks repaired by a CSIA-certified company like Old Hat Chimney Service. With experienced technicians thoroughly inspecting your chimney for the leak source, our staff can zero in on the problem, fix your leak, and even safeguard your chimney from future leaks, saving you money in more repairs. We would like to tell you more about our common chimney leak repairs and prevention methods.

● flashing

The seal between the roof and your chimney, flashing plays an important role in keeping water out of your chimney. The CSIA describes flashing as preventing rainwater from running down your chimney, entering your home’s interior, damaging your ceilings and walls, and even rotting your rafters. At Old Hat Chimney Service, we realize the importance of customized flashing, and we do all of our flashing in layers to be more effective. We can even design a custom cricket, a raised ridge built against the problem chimney wall, to encourage water to flow into your gutters, away from your chimney.

● chimney crown

Located at the top of your flue, your chimney crown also protects your chimney from water penetration. However, your chimney crown can suffer cracks and other damage, and water can get in through these cracks. Chimney leaks are a sign of chimney crown damage, as are white stains or green growth around the top of your masonry chimney. The CSIA recommends a chimney crown be constructed of a Portland cement-based mixture and formed to provide an overhang projecting beyond all sides of the chimney by a minimum of two inches, and our Old Hat Chimney Service CSIA-certified technicians will do that as well as repair cracks.

● chimney cap

Even more important in the battle against water penetration, a chimney cap sits on the top of your chimney and keeps out water, debris, and animals. A properly fitted and installed chimney cap should last for years. According to the CSIA, a chimney cap is the most inexpensive preventive measure against water penetration and chimney damage. At Old Hat Chimney Service, we sell a wide variety of styles and sizes in different types of metals, and our professional installers will customize your chimney cap to perfectly fit the top of your chimney.

● masonry joints

If your exterior masonry joints have deteriorated, water can leak through those cracks. Old Hat Chimney Service provides the best way to repair these damaged joints: tuckpointing. Extensively trained in this process, our specialists have vast experience in tuckpointing and can restore historical chimneys as well as repair damage by removing the old mortar and and replacing the joint with new mortar.

If you are noticing chimney leak symptoms, contact Old Hat Chimney Service today to schedule an appointment to talk to our CSIA-certified staff about repairing your leaky chimney.