Water in Your Fireplace? That Roof Leak Might be a Chimney Leak

Many houses have problems with their chimneys that turn out to be caused by water leakage. Evidence for this problem includes water running down the flue, water running down the brickwork in the attic, water stains on the walls inside the house, or the exposed chimney getting damp (which can cause deposits of white lime to form on the outside of the brick). Fortunately, for chimney leak repair near Charlotte, we’re the team to call on.

If you think your roof is having leaking problems, and you can’t find the course of it, scrutinize your chimney as well – you may have a chimney leak. If the signs are ignored, water can profusely leak inside your house and can cause a great deal of damage to your property.

Stay ahead of the game by booking a fireplace or chimney inspection with us. Call or start an appointment online now.

Can You Fix a Leaking Chimney?

Leaky chimneys can be fixed, but trusting an experienced professional chimney technician for the job is essential. For leaky chimney repair in Charlotte, NC, homeowners consistently turn to us. Why? Because our results speak for themselves.

How we fix your leaking chimney…

  • We check each part of the chimney, both inside and outside of the home. Evidence of water is easily detected inside the house through stains or swollen walls. We’ll look carefully to try and see any and all signs of leaking water. We’ll also check the exterior chimney and all of its parts, as well as the chimney wash/splay (the top portion of the chimney) for cracks or deterioration.
  • We inspect the mortar and flashing. Spalled brick and missing mortar can cause water leakage, as well. We’ll check the flashing to see if it is properly installed (chimney flashing is the part that connects the chimney to the roof), as well as look to see if it is inadequate, corroded, or worn.
  • We make repairs and replace parts, if needed. A masonry chimney wash/splay that is cracked should be repaired or replaced with new materials. In replacing the wash/splay, we make sure to also put a waterproof covering on the surface.
  • We provide chimney waterproofing. If your chimney is the masonry type, covering all surfaces with an appropriate, professional-grade waterproof coating is a must. We can apply commercial-quality waterproof material to avoid you wasting any time and money.
  • We fix chimney flashing. If the problem is the flashing, we strongly recommend hiring a professional chimney expert to do the job. Faulty flashing leads to a very vulnerable chimney – our experts will get the job done right.
Chimney technician climbing ladder to roof to repair chimney leak
Chimney technician repairing cracked mortar around chimney cap
Close up view of chimney technician on roof repairing mortar on chimney

How Can I Avoid Chimney Water Damage?

Water is notorious for causing damage that you cannot see. It’s the hidden damage from moisture that can cause chimneys to crack, seep, and even fall down altogether. This is especially true after a major event such as a lightning strike or tornado, where unknown weaknesses have gone unnoticed. 

However, there are ways to avoid moisture-related damage.

1. Find all the places near your fireplace and chimney where water likes to “hang out.”

  • Clear leaves from gutters on a regular basis, and repair any gutters that are broken.
  • Examine your downspout locations in relation to the chimney. Downspout terminations that are uphill of the chimney or that drain at the chimney base pose risks and should therefore be diverted.
  • Prune trees that hang over or near your chimney. Rain and dew that collect on trees is a frequent cause of masonry deterioration.
  • Check for poor drainage ­and address this problem as soon as possible.
  • Repair any leaks in the flashing (or seal) between your roofing material and the chimney.
  • Make sure sprinklers are watering plants – not your chimney. Change the sprinkler head or your watering pattern as needed.

2. Consider asking Owens Chimney Systems to waterproof your chimney. Or, if your chimney is not capped, have a chimney cap installed. You may also need a new crown constructed to prevent water from collecting in your firebox.

3. Check for cracks in your chimney, deteriorated mortar joints, and weakened masonry. If you find any of the above, contact Owens Chimney Systems for an inspection so we can recommend the appropriate chimney repair services.

What Causes a Leaky Chimney? What Can Be Done About It?

When it comes to any sort of chimney repair, it is important to understand and identify the cause of the issue to ensure that the repairs are done right the first time. With a leaky chimney, finding the source of the leak is imperative for preventing any future issues once repairs are made. Chimney leaks can typically be related to one of the following:

Missing or Damaged Chimney Cap

Your chimney’s flue, quite literally, is a direct opening to the sky. This means that if your chimney flue exhaust does not have a cover or cap, it is basically providing easy access for water, birds, animals, or other debris to enter your chimney, fireplace, or wood stove – and, ultimately, your home.

If your chimney has a chimney cap and you are dealing with a leaky chimney, then damage to the liner could result. Replacing a low-quality cap with one of our custom-fitted, reliably built ones is the best defense when it comes to preventing water damage.

Chimney Crown Damage

The crown of your chimney is the cement covering at the top of it. The crown helps to keep rain and snow away from the flue, and it funnels the moisture away from the outside of your chimney as well. Basically, the sole purpose of your chimney’s crown is to keep water out, so any cracks in the bricks or cement can’t lead to water making its way into your chimney. 

Chimney crowns are susceptible to cracks that can occur from the shifting or settling of your foundation, as well as from shrinking concrete as it dries after initial installation, poor construction/installation, and damage that occurs when the concrete expands and contracts from absorbing water. 

Chimney crown damage can typically be spot-repaired, but if the damage is extensive, a new crown may have to be poured and built on site. 

Condensation From Outside

When you have a fire, gases and fumes are emitted that carry moisture in them. If your chimney doesn’t have a liner, or if your liner is damaged or defective, this moisture can be absorbed by the masonry of your chimney, leading to an array of potential issues for your masonry and home. 

Waterproofing and applying a water repellent to your chimney masonry helps to prevent moisture absorption.

Issues With Chimney Flashing

If the part where your roof meets your chimney is exposed, water entry is inevitable. Solid chimney flashing plays a key role in keeping your entire system, as well as your home, better protected. We can install flashing with quality materials, ensuring it stands the test of time. In addition, we’ll do it right, guaranteeing a tight seal with no weak spots. 

Rest assured, if water can find even a small entry point, it’ll take advantage of it. Trust our experts from the start, so that you don’t have to worry.

Crumbling Masonry

Both bricks and mortar absorb water – just like your chimney crown – so when that moisture causes your chimney bricks to expand and contract, they are susceptible to cracks and crumbling. Cracked and crumbling bricks allow more moisture into your chimney and home, leading to further damage. The moisture that bricks absorb and hang on to can also seep into your walls causing damage before the cracks even happen. 

Tuckpointing can be used to repair cracked and crumbling bricks and mortar, after which the chimney can be waterproofed for added protection.

How Do I Know if My Chimney Is Leaking?

One of the best ways to stay ahead of the game on a leaky chimney is to have one of our certified chimney sweeps inspect your chimney and fireplace on an annual basis. This allows us to be proactive when it comes to spotting potential leaks, addressing them sooner rather than later. 

In between annual inspections, though, you can be on the lookout for these signs of a potential chimney leak:

  • Visible damage, like cracks or crumbling to bricks and mortar
  • Cracks or gaps in the chimney flashing
  • Damage to your chimney liner
  • Water pooling in your firebox
  • Moisture or dampness on the walls and ceiling near your chimney
  • Musty odors or a campfire-like smell
  • Water staining on walls and ceilings
  • A damper that doesn’t open or close properly
  • Discoloration throughout the outside of your chimney

Having concerns? Don’t wait to reach out.

Is DIY Chimney Leak Repair Possible?

We know that, as a homeowner, you may want to tackle your leaky chimney on your own… However, when it comes to repairing a leaky chimney, it is best to leave that to the professionals to ensure that all safety measures are taken and that the repairs are done correctly the first time. Otherwise, you’ll only shell out more dollars for bigger repairs down the line.

Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps have extensive knowledge and experience in chimney repairs, restoration, and waterproofing. 

If you suspect that you have a leaky chimney, fear not, because as the saying goes, “For every problem, there is a solution.” We are confident that Owens Chimney has the right solutions to get your chimney back in prime condition.

How Can I Prevent Future Chimney Leaks?

The best way to prevent chimney leaks is to have your chimney inspected and serviced on an annual basis. This will allow the sweep to identify and address any potential problems before they become major issues. 

We also recommend having a chimney cap installed if your chimney doesn’t already have one, investing in waterproofing services, having your crown rebuilt if necessary, and investing in flashing installation services.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Chimney Leak?

The cost of repairing a chimney leak can vary depending on the cause and severity of the leak. Minor leaks may be able to be repaired for a few hundred dollars, while more significant damage could cost several thousand dollars. It’s best to consult with us about your unique needs, so we can give the most accurate estimate possible.

How Long Does a Chimney Cap Last?

A chimney cap can last anywhere from 5 to 25 years, depending on the material and quality of the cap. It’s important to regularly inspect your chimney cap for signs of wear or damage and replace it as necessary to prevent future leaks.

Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover Chimney Leak Repairs?

Whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover chimney leak repairs depends on the specifics of your policy and the cause of the leak. In some cases, insurance may cover repairs if the leak was caused by a sudden and accidental event, such as severe weather. 

That said, if the leak was something that could have been avoided with regular maintenance (i.e. annual inspections and regular repairs), it’s less likely to be covered.

It’s important to consult with your insurance provider to understand your coverage options.

We’re Here to Help

Chimney leaks are a common problem for homeowners, but they can be diagnosed and repaired with the proper knowledge and tools. While minor leaks can potentially be repaired by homeowners, we always recommended that you have our CSIA-certified chimney technicians perform an inspection to see how extensive the damages are and develop an appropriate action plan. 

To prevent future leaks, be sure to schedule your chimney inspections and chimney repair work with Owens Chimney Systems from here on out. Call or schedule online with us today.


Our chimney relining and restoration expertise includes being qualified to use HeatShield® for your chimney relining.