In the past, we have had customers come to us to fix what other companies have previously repaired. Not only does this cost them far more money in the long run, but it also typically means their chimney has been further damaged. When it comes to chimney repairs, the lowest bid does not always equal the best service.
What are chimney crowns?
A chimney crown, sometimes known as a chimney wash, is the slab that covers the top of the chimney structure. Chimney crowns are important because they protect both the interior and exterior chimney structure from the elements. An improperly installed or damaged chimney crown can expose the interior of the chimney and fireplace to rain, snow, and other moisture while simultaneously exposing the brick and mortar of the chimney itself.
What to look for in a chimney crown
Although they can be difficult to inspect from the ground, there are several hallmarks of good chimney crowns that homeowners should be aware of. The first is the overhang, or drip ledge. To prevent water from flowing directly onto the masonry of the chimney structure, chimney crowns should have a drip ledge of at least 2 to 2.5 inches on all sides. These overhangs serve as miniature gutters, protecting the brickwork and mortar from direct exposure to rain and snow.
Another detail to look for is the material the chimney crown is made of. While regular masons may be qualified to lay bricks and mortar for a chimney, the same materials should never be used for the chimney crown itself. Because brickwork and mortar are porous materials, they should never be used to construct a chimney crown. If your chimney crown is made of mortar, it will quickly crack and deteriorate due to exposure to the elements. Instead, crowns should always be constructed from solid metal, stone, or concrete slabs.
Chimney crown supporting structures
While not technically part of a chimney crown, chimney flashing is an important structural element that also helps prevent moisture from entering a chimney structure. Even with a properly sized overhang, flashing is an additional layer of protection against the elements. Often made of metals such as aluminum, galvanized steel, or copper, flashing is designed to create a waterproof seal between the chimney and the roof itself.
However, flashing is often improperly installed which may cause the waterproof seal to be broken. Roofers often use too many nail holes, creating tiny crevices from rain and snow to gain access to the brick and mortar underneath. Likewise, over time the flashing may become loose or damaged, especially in areas prone to severe weather.
At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we can do more than just clean and inspect your fireplace. Our masons are specially trained to craft chimney crowns that are constructed with extreme attention to detail. While our services may not always be the least expensive, our chimney crowns are guaranteed to protect your chimney and last for years to come.