Should You Use a Chimney Sealant?

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08/11/21

Your home is in constant battle with moisture, which can penetrate building materials from both inside and out. Some parts of your home are more vulnerable than others. Because masonry chimneys are made from porous materials like brick and stone, they absorb moisture like a sponge. The best way to protect your chimney is to apply a waterproof sealant.

Why is Moisture Problematic for Masonry Chimneys?

Keeping your chimney in tip-top shape involves maintenance, and that means keeping moisture out. If rain, humidity, and condensation penetrate your masonry chimney, the bricks will deteriorate faster. This is due primarily to the freeze/thaw cycle, the same weathering process that causes asphalt roads to crack and develop potholes.

When water freezes inside a brick, the pores expand. Then, the water thaws and evaporates, leaving a larger space for water to fill next time. This process repeats over the winter months until the bricks lose their structural integrity, developing cracks and eventually loosening and falling out entirely.

What if Moisture Damage Has Already Occurred?

You may be considering using a chimney sealant because water damage has occurred in the past. However, it’s critical to address any existing moisture damage before applying a sealant. Otherwise, you could make the problem worse.

Here are the signs of water-damaged brickwork:

  • Efflorescence: This white, powdery deposit appears when water saturates and then evaporates from unsealed masonry surfaces. Moisture transforms the salt inside the masonry into a soluble solution. Then, capillary action carries the salt to the brick’s surface, where the water evaporates and leaves crystallized salt deposits behind. 
  • Cracks: Cracked chimney bricks are never a good sign. The damage may be evidence that the bricks are deteriorating due to water intrusion.
  • Spalling: Peeling, flaking bricks indicate that water has infiltrated the masonry material.
  • Damaged mortar joints: Water doesn’t just damage chimney bricks—it can also deteriorate the mortar between them. Flaky mortar exposes more of the brick to water intrusion, accelerating the wear and tear.
  • Loose or missing bricks: If broken bricks litter your yard, act quickly to repair the water damage, or the entire chimney could collapse.

How Does Sealant Protect Masonry Chimneys?

Sealing your chimney is one of the simplest, most affordable ways to prevent water from penetrating the bricks. Here’s why this form of chimney maintenance is so worthwhile:

  • Prevent cracked bricks
  • Reduce the risk of leaks
  • Maintain the structural integrity of masonry materials
  • Extend the life of your chimney

Selecting & Applying a Chimney Sealant

The proper chimney sealant can protect against moisture intrusion for up to 15 to 20 years. The trick is to waterproof your chimney with vapor-permeable chimney sealant. This product protects the brick exterior from moisture while still allowing the pores to “breathe.”

Along with choosing the correct type of sealant, proper application is also crucial for achieving the best results. Leave the job to an experienced chimney repair technician who can professionally inspect, prepare, and seal your chimney.

Contact Chimney.com for Chimney Sealant Application in MD, DC & VA

Investing in regular chimney maintenance is the best way to prolong the life of your bricks and mortar and avoid more extensive chimney restoration. Chimney.com can perform all the repairs and maintenance tasks you need, including sealing your chimney. We use the appropriate sealant and check for water damage before proceeding. Then, we apply the sealant according to industry best practices to ensure superior results.

Contact us today to work with a licensed, bonded, and insured chimney repair company serving Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC.

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