Chimney Issues

An Extra-Snowy Winter is on the Horizon

By AttiCat Insulation, Certainteed Shingle Roof, Chimney Issues, Cost vs. Value, Cut Energy Costs, Gutter Guards, Hiring a Contractor, Insulation, Insulation Contractors, Roof Repair, Roofing Contractor, Roofing Services, Winterize, Winterize your home Annapolis No Comments

Are You and Your House Ready to Cope?

While sweater weather is in full swing, one reality remains: winter is right around the corner. And, as meteorologists far and wide have already announced, it’s going to be a cold one. Some chilly winter weather is in store for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, with January threatening to bring the coldest blast of air of the season—and the dip in temperature is predicted to result in about six inches of snowfall, or more, above normal.

Farmer’s Almanac also released a similar prediction for most of the country earlier this year in their annual 2018 winter outlook. The popular guide went as far to earmark certain dates for us to expect heavy rain and snowfall along the Atlantic Seaboard this winter season. According to the Almanac, make sure you have plenty of hot cocoa and a warm blanket on the following dates: January 20-23, February 4-7, February 16-19, March 1-3, and March 20-23.

What’s the takeaway? Enjoy the pretty leaves and relatively mild temperature for now, because before you know it—if the experts know what they’re talking about—you’ll be trading them in for a pair of gloves and a snow shovel.

Anything else you should worry about before the snow and freezing wind makes it your way? Unfortunately, extreme winter weather can do a real number on your home’s exterior. The last thing you want to have to worry about is a leaky roof or drafty window that sends your monthly electric bill through the roof and leaves you freezing, damp and miserable in the meantime.

Make sure you enjoy your snow days this year! If you haven’t had your roof and siding inspected by an expert, the trusted professionals at Fichtner Services can leave you assured that your home is ready to take on the winter onslaught. They’ll provide you with an affordable, reliable, and thorough inspection of your home’s exterior—plus they have the resources to take care of any issues or areas of concern they uncover.

Don’t get stuck behind the eight-ball—resolving these issues now will save you money and prevent the hassle and stress of trying to make unexpected, last-minute repairs in hazardous conditions. The experts at Fichtner Services can survey your roof to prevent devastating ice dams, inspect the foundation for small cracks or openings that can expand in freezing temps and allow mice and other pests to get in, and a laundry list of other essential winter-proofing steps that might have never crossed your mind but will be glad that the Fichtner team has double and triple checked for you.

Are Chimney Issues Making Your Roof Leak?

By Chimney Issues, Roofing Contractor, Roofing Services

At Fichtner Services we get hundreds of phone calls per week about roof leaks. Of these phone calls, the culprit that we hear most often is chimney issues. Water is coming down either the inside or outside of the chimney, the inside of the flue, or showing up somewhere lower down the roof line from the chimney. We always check the roof and flashing first for installation and maintenance issues, but more often the leak is due to the concrete chimney cap or the brick and mortar itself.

Top Causes for Chimney Leaks
Chimney leak cause number one: Roofing and flashing installation errors or maintenance problems.
Being that we are roofing contractors, our initial inspection of the chimney and search for the leak will be for the correct installation of the roofing materials and flashing. Whether it be shingles, cedar, slate, rubber, metal panels; the roofing material always has to tie into the sides of the chimney vertically. This is commonly done with the use of metal flashing, which can be aluminum, copper, steel or lead. Due to workability and cost, aluminum is most common in this area.

The flashing ties the side of the chimney together with the roof material by being bent at an angle and then woven and overlapped with the roof material. This flashing, which is step flashing and apron flashing, is then overlapped by a counter-flashing. The counter-flashing is either turned into and caulked to a groove called a reglet or has a lip bent to support a caulk joint which is referred to as a Philadelphia bend.

If any of the flashing overlaps, roofing materials and flashing isn’t installed correctly or is old and failing, then the system usually needs to be torn out and reinstalled. However, at the point where the flashing ties into the brick or stone chimney, there is a caulk join that periodically needs to be re-caulked so the leak might simply be a maintenance issue.

Chimney leak cause number two:  The flue pipe is open.
If the flue pipe has no cover over it, then rain falls straight down the flue. That rain is most commonly collected in the smoke shelf but that can get a buildup of debris such as leaves and overwhelmed by long heavy rains. Most commonly this type of leak will result with water showing up inside the fire box and possibly out onto the floor. The best and easiest solution for this problem is to put a cover over the flue. The cover should keep 90% of the rain out of the flue except in rains associated with strong winds.

Chimney leak cause number three: The concrete cap is porous and allows water into the chimney.
Not everyone believes this, but brick and mortar are porous! When water runs over and down the concrete cap, brick or stone and mortar joints, it gets absorbed little by little like a very dense sponge. If you were to drip water onto the top edge of a vertical sponge, it will eventually drip out of the bottom of it. This is the same with the masonry chimney. Some are worse than others due to cracks, porousness of the material, etc.

We have found that the best way to prevent this absorption is to cover the top of the chimney with a sheet metal cap and to also spray-seal the masonry with a 5% silicone solution made by Drylok.  In most cases, the combination of the cap and silicone spray, has completely stopped water intrusion into the home.

If you have a roof leak and suspect that the chimney may be to blame, contact us to schedule a roof checkup.